When do you start baiting bear?
Can you start a bait today and be successful tomorrow? Yes, but the odds are lower.
I believe longevity, and consistency are more important. However, this does no good if in the wrong areas. What the heck does that mean? Well it's quite simple, and clearly already been stated. I think zone C is a prime example of this, and what I was referring to. In a interview with local TV station last year even stated it. Often times folks overlook setting up for fall food sources. This can be difficult in Zone C. You set up a bait early on a nice chunk. Got bear all summer long. Then come fall they are gone. Not your bait, other hunters messing with things, or hounds. The bear just moved to a more abundant food source. You bait may be in a stand of oaks next to a swamp surrounded by private lands. A large cornfield is 2 miles away. Well that's where those bears are going to go. Maybe one will venture to your, but most likely not.
One scenario I recall a few years back. 7 baits around the edges of this block. Not one bait being hit. One of the guys for some reason takes a walk into the center of the block. Runs into a large patch of blueberries still ripe in late fall. Kicks 5 bear that he seen out of that patch!! A real eye opener.
So when is the best time? Again, no real right answer. I like to start my as early as possible. A fine line between to early and rotten bait, or getting hit. Can start April 15th, but does not mean bear are out, or ready to start eating bait. They first have to clear the plug and get the guts moving again. They will eat green grasses during this process. A good indicator of them being ready is when activity level begins to pick up at bird feeders, etc.
I do believe baits that are active longer, and baited more. Provide more exposure to more bears. Even if that big boar that was wondering looking for love in June. Hits a few times, and does not return. He will remeber that bait when food gets low, and come for a look. His travels will also carry the scent of that bait around the woods. Potentially exposing its locations to more bears. I dont like coons in my baits of course. But I do like they help spread the scent of that bait around. Making it easier for bears to find them.
Like everyone else. My baits will shut down. Bait more, and bait more often is my theory. I see this firsthand every single year. Where my baits being baited daily. Are far more active come fall then those of friends that are only baited on weekends. With the same exact bait year after year all season long. Been that way for over 20yrs!!
Biggest thing hands down. HAVE FUN!!!
For me I started 4 baits this past week and will start 2-3 more in late July or Aug. Im in zone C and knowing there is a lot of other bear hunters out there have put 2 of my baits in 1mi hike in and the closes spot to get to my bait site is 1mi. Hopefully this will put me far enough away from someone else finding my sites. Did get one bait hit already.