Published July/August 2015
By Clay Newcomb
There are three main categories of things used at a bear bait sight: bait, scents and bait additives (or toppers). The number one factor to a bear bait is the actual bait. Quality bait is critical and there isn’t a substitute for it, however, lesser quality bait can be improved with bait additives. Secondly, scent is a powerful piece of the puzzle. The bait itself produces some scent and certain bait produces more than others. Commercial scents and sprays expand the scent range of the bait, increasing the effective range of how far it can be smelled. Thirdly, bait additives have become a significant part of the bear-baiting world. Bait additives can be liquid or powder and are used to improve the overall quality of lesser quality bait and expand the scent range. Bear bait additives would be different than scents in that they add to it by actually improving the taste, nutrient and caloric content of the bait - it is actual food, as opposed to just a scent product.
Bait additives also add scent to the bait site that goes beyond what natural bait can produce. Sprays do not add any significant caloric content, but are designed to attract bears to your bait site where you’ve got calorie-rich foods waiting for them. Using commercial scents would be like the “marketing strategy” of your bait station, designed to get your customers, which are the bears, through the door. Bait additives actually increase the quality of the bait.
By using a bait additive on breads, pastries, dogfood, grains and popcorn, you can increase the drawing power of these common baits. Floyd Gasser of Bigwoods Big Bear Scents said, “We have had many Ontario and other fall outfitters have great success by matching the flavor of additive with the natural berry that’s ripe. They use blueberry or raspberry Crack (a bait additive) on lessor bait such as popcorn and bread. Just a tablespoon or two per barrel of bait, it brings it alive. Also same goes for our Red Delicious Apple flavor in areas with abundant abandoned apple trees. Bacon and Caramel seem to be the winners to put some life in the standard oats rations of the spring hunters and outfitters, too.”
There are multiple types of bait additives. Bigwoods Bear Crack is a powder that is easy to use and hassle free to apply. A half-pound of it can be used to flavor 1,000 pounds of bait. It comes in multiple flavors and can even be added to fryer grease. Northwoods Bear Products makes a powerful, powder bait additive called, Cherry Burst Super Sweet. It comes in an 8 oz shaker bottle and also treats up to 1,000 pounds of bait. Insights Nutrition makes a liquid product called Bear Trap. It’s sold in gallon jugs and is made of 48% sugar. Bear Scents makes a product called Bait Gravy, designed to be poured over any type of bait.
Using oil-based commercial scents is a powerful marketing tool for your bait site, but don’t overlook increasing the quality and attractiveness of your bait through bait additives this fall.
*** Our personal pick that we never bait without is the Gold Rush fryer grease additive from Northwoods Bear Products. ***