Blaine Anthony: Tips for Finding Bears without Bait

Black Bear Eating

I am going to go over places where you can find bears where baiting or hunting with dogs is not allowed.  First and foremost, you gotta get smart about finding natural food sources that will draw the bears in.  I will talk about some of the best tips I can to find black bears in the wild without using unnatural bait.

Spring is sometime best

In the springtime when bears wake up from hibernation, so many times you can find them wandering into places where the fields and forest start to get green earlier than other spots. Examples of this I have found:

  • Old logging roads
  • Field edges by tree lines
  • An area that had been logged the year before
  • Any place that was burnt for any reason.  These are extremely good.

Really, any place that has that brand new fresh spring green coming in.  You typically won’t find berries and things like that this time of year, but bears want to eat because they just came out of the den.  Find the green, find the bears.

Finding Bears in the Fall

When preparing for the long winter ahead, bears turn into eating machines putting on the extra pounds in the fall. Keep an eye out for field edges near forests, especially grain fields. Bears will tear up some oats and corn, so keep you eye out there if you locate some. If you can find an oat field that boarders up to a tree line or forest….. know that bears are probably roaming that area.

If you live in Maine (Northeast) like me, where oats are not everywhere, you best bet may be to find berries.  Berries seem to be everywhere and you can easily find sign that a bear is there and munching down trying to put the carbs to them before they go into hibernation.

Understanding Bear Behavior

On a basic sense, bears do 2 things 24-7.  They eat and sleep.  They are literally obsessed with getting carbs and protein into their belly before it is time to hibernate.  So finding protein and carb rich natural food is the key to finding bears naturally in the wild.

What might be the most important part of laying eyes on a bear is the other scent, your scent.  You can find the best food source available for bears, see piles of sign a bear was there and if you sit with the wind at your back, you will swear there are no bears.  Remember, bears have 8X the power in their nose of a bloodhound, so if he smells you, you will never see him.