Turkey season ended May 31 so I decided to try something new for the first 2 weeks of June. A self guided solo spring bear hunt by canoe. I have hunted bear before but not in this manner. We have some new rules this year regarding bait. The bait has to be a minimum 660 feet from anywhere you can get with a vehicle (including ATVS and tractors but not boats) and a minimum 1640 feet from any structure.
So this was June 01 loaded up and ready to leave:
At the put in (no truck access):
In the canoe is myself (+/- 190lbs), 270 lbs of corn, 50 feet of 3/8 chain (more than needed but it was I had and I didn't want to buy new or cut this one) - 75lbs, 55 gallon drum +/- 10 lbs, 75 lbs of molasses, 20 lbs mini marshmellows, 6 lbs of peanut oil, scent attractant, blind +/- 15 lbs, assorted tools +/- 15 lbs. All told about 675 lbs including me. It was a good test to see how it would handle the weight of a bear if necessary.
All moved to the bait site:
Looking up shooting lane towards the blind:
All done and garbage all packed and loaded:
So got the bait set up the afternoon of Thursday June 2. I than returned on the evening of Tuesday June 7 and set up camp for the night. Wednesday June 8 I started paddling at 2:45 am and was in the blind for 5am. The barrel was still upright so obviously no takers. Curled up on the ground in the blind at 10am and slept for 5 hours and than watched the bait until dark. Paddled out than broke camp and drove home to work the next day.
The next visit up was Saturday night June 11. Set up camp again and than hunted Sunday am, Sunday pm, and Monday am. Barrel still wasn't touched so I was not optimistic. I headed back up Tuesday night June 14 and set up camp again. Hunted Wednesday am (yesterday) and pm. Barrel had finally been hit and was on its side about 6 feet from where I placed it. The wind on Wedesday was totally wrong (since it was the last day of the season I figured WTH I might as well try) and I spooked a mother and 2 cubs on my way to the blind in the morning. In the afternoon something came in but caught my scent as I just got a glimpse of something black taking off.
So packed up this morning with no bear taken but some action and a few lessons learned. I need to add blinds/stands for multiple wind directions and I need to cut into the end of turkey season to make sure the bait is established soon enough. Going to try again for the fall season. Either way even though it involved lots of work and lots of bugs it was still an enjoyable experience.
The hit barrel:
About 40% of the bait was eaten in 3 days. I had 371 lbs of bait in that barrel (270 corn, 75 molassess, 20 marshmellows, and 6 lbs of peanut oil) so that corresponds to almost 60lbs a day!!!
I also decided against taking the side by side and brought my RTBH instead (trail to the put-in was passable for it as well) . Figured if I got something big it would make dressing, skinning and transport and loading into the truck easier. To get the bear out of the bush to the lake I had recovery straps, a 2000 lb hand winch with 100 feet of cable, and 6 pool noodles. I figured I would ratchet strap the noodles to the bear and tow him behind the canoe (intact and dress him at the take out). Water was about 60 degrees so I figured it would also help get some initial cooling going