Photo: David A Mitchell/Flickr

Baiting spring bears? Follow these proven best practices


Identify areas bears frequent that are off the beaten path or difficult to access (photo: David A Mitchell/Flickr)

Baiting is undoubtedly the most effective way to hunt spring black bears, but it’s not as simple as throwing out a bucket of donuts and waiting for a big boar to waltz in. It takes a lot of work to be consistently successful at the baiting game, and you need to follow established best practices.

For starters, do your homework before deciding where to bait. That means identifying areas bears are known to frequent that are off the beaten path or difficult to access—the less competition and disturbance, the better. Also, begin baiting well before you intend to hunt so the bears become comfortable with the bait and establish their own pecking order. Trail cameras can help you assess the number and sizes of the bears visiting your bait, along with their preferred feeding times and access routes.


Ideally, your blind or treestand should be downwind of the expected access routes to the bait. And if natural features allow, place your stand where it’s less likely a bear can circle behind you. If you’re bowhunting, your stand or blind needs to be within 25 to 30 metres of the bait. If you’re rifle hunting, on the other hand, you can extend that distance considerably within reason—the farther away you are, the less likely you are to disturb feeding bears.

Black bears will happily dine on a wide variety of food items, so there’s no best choice when it comes to bait; everything from popcorn to stale bread to beaver carcasses will attract and hold bears. Use whatever is available and affordable, and remember to keep the bait replenished so bears don’t move on elsewhere.

Finally, confine your hunting time to afternoons and evenings. And if you have more than one active bait, consider the wind direction on the day you plan to hunt before choosing which one to visit.