Each year I learn a little something or decide something isnt worth the effort it seems like. My first year my bait site was a gooey sticky mess, old fruit and bread, cookies, cakes etc.. I packed in a lot of stuff that made little or no difference. I have experimented with several barrel designs and camera angles. I have found that with the plastic barrels I use if the feed isnt easy to get to the bears will make it easy to get to which means destroying my barrel., I could go to metal but that is a lot of extra weight so I prefer the plastic. I like my barrel to stand on end with a chain around the top and one around the bottom and a couple holes 2/3 the way up the barrel that way it still holds a lot and they can still reach the bottom. I also like a hinged door at the top to make it easy to pour the feed in. I now use pre packaged feed almost exclusively because its not messy and its easy to pack however I do usually top it with a couple gallons of burnt honey because they like the sweet stuff but it soake to the bottom so if something happens and I dont get up soon enough to restock the bait the sticky stuff on the bottom gives them something to play with and possibly hold them off a little longer till I can get up there... .. after a run in with an unwanted human visitor my barrel is now painted camo also. I have pretty well refined my scent set up that I like to use and have not made any changes to that. Another change I will be making this year is adding a second camera. I am not sure exactly how I will set it up but I am thinking video mode for the second camera would be a fun thing to play with.
I am curious to know what things people have done to change their baiting techniques.
" Real elk guns start with the number 3 or bigger and blow two holes, one in and one out." - My Dad
I used to use dog food with cooking grease but it tends to get moldy when it gets wet and it dfissoves easily. Now, we use molasses mixed horse feed to because it doesn't dissolve and it keeps the bears around longer. All our barrels are metal for now. We transport to our stations by boat for the most part so weight isn't much of a concern. For everything else, pretty much use any sweet stuff that's on sale and bacon flavoring if we can get it. Cheap maple syrup, jelly, jam, etc. We also use a fair bit of used cooking oil.
In an established bait I always like to improve my approach to the stand. Groom the trail to come in and out in the dark with no sound. Find a place to see the bait site before final approach to my stand if its not dark.
We have a bit different habitat, more limbs and brush, and our stands were in trees mostly, but a rake for reducing clutter underfoot, and a limb saw for cutting "windows" and shooting lanes is something I like to do on my end.
If the bears have a specific route established into the bait, or if a particular bear likes to run in and grab something, then run out to eat it, sometimes a few small limbs here and there can offer an opportunity.
It has to be subtle or it will move the bears as well.
This year has been a bit interesting for us as well. We had 3 bears on the bait (turkey and popcorn) and then all of a sudden they never came back. It's been 8 days now. I know we were one of the first to get a bait up and I'm thinking someone has a better bait in a close proximity. The one bear we shot earlier was into the turkey more than the popcorn so I'm wondering if meat isn't better than sweets. BTW the popcorn has fryer grease on it. I have syrup and can get some oats or horse feed as well to try.
If anyone has tried both at the same time what is better......meat or sweats? I have always run more sweat stuff in the past and haven't really used much meat.
I like sweets in the spring. Fat in the fall. One big fall bear came to a bait that hadn't been hit in awhile, so it had everything on it Twinkies, Ding Dongs, a hunk of roast bread, some apples, probably 300 lbs of bait there. What's he pick up? An end of the season sour green tomato from the last of the garden. Who knows?
Tomato might have been somewhat spoiled and fermented. Bears like fermented stuff/alcohol. I Have heard, but never tried it, pour a fifth of cheap sour mash whiskey over the bait, or into those oats. They will come from miles away...