Blog Post 1. (8/1/18) – Final Countdown
By: Troy Petznick
Welcome to the Droptine Booners Blog! We are excited to get our blog kicked off which will document our experiences as we approach the 2018 Wisconsin hunting season. We will be doing both a written blog and a video blog. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with us, hit up our Facebook or Instagram accounts (Droptine Booners) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As the calendar flips over to August, the DTB team is in full force getting ready for the 2018 hunting season to kick off. We continue to put the work in to help increase the odds in our favor by running trail cameras, working on food plots, setting tree stands, etc. The season will kick off on September 5th as I will be stalking Wisconsin black bear which will lead right into the whitetail season.
For myself, I started bear hunting about 6 years ago after I drew my first Wisconsin tag for zone C. It took me 3 years to draw my first tag which lead to an experience I would never forget. That summer and fall I learned a lot about bear in general and what it took to hunt them. The opening day morning of the 2012 season, I was sitting in a college class but paying more attention to the clock instead of the instructor. As soon as the clock hit 11am, I was gone and on the way back my hometown of Medford, WI. I wanted to get into the stand as soon as possible because the trail camera picture was showing that a couple bears were hitting in the early afternoon. As soon as I arrived home, I got ready and ran out to the tree stand. I just got settled into the stand, and taking in the moment. It was a warm day but the breeze made it feel perfect.
I was not even in the stand for 45 minutes when I heard a huge splash from a pond that was about 75 yards away. On the far side bank of the pond, there was a good bear shaking off the water it just jumped out of. As I was watching the bear dry off, I had to keep telling myself not to take the shot yet that it will come into the bait. The bear started to walk around the pond towards my direction. My heart-felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. It felt that the bear was taking forever to come in, I kept trying to listen for the bear to break a stick or make some noise to prove that it was still coming in but nothing. All sudden, I seen the bear cross the trail and is now only 20 yards away but a lot of brush in-between us. The bear kept taking its time coming in, caution with ever step. In mind, I kept asking how an animal that big, can be that quiet? I was amazed by the caution and movement of the bear coming in. I had the gun up and safety off as he was about to hit an opening about 15 yards away. The bear seemed to just stand out of the opening forever as I had the gun ready. Finally, it took the final steps into the opening and placed the cross hairs on my mark then I squeezed the trigger. The gun fired, bear made a loud grunt sound and took off straight for the pond. I was shaking so bad after the shot, I had to hand up my gun so I didn’t drop it out of the stand. My mind had a million thoughts and questions going through it, did I hit it? Was it a good hit? How far did it go? I sat there for about half hour to calm down and collect my thoughts. I then slowly, climbed down the stand and sneaked back out to the truck to get a hold of my dad and my friends dad. Once they arrived, we headed back to the spot to find blood to start tracking. We found the blood trail right away and it was headed to the pond which was no surprise but wanted to confirm it was a good hit. As soon as we got to the pond, I saw it laying in the water by the bank, my bear. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest again but this time because I was jacked up for excitement of finding the bear. All the work of scouting, baiting and learning paid off.
Ever since the 2012 season, my dad and I have been hooked on chasing black bears. In 2017, I was lucky enough to take one of my dream animals. A color phase black bear in Colorado with the muzzle-loader on a spot and stalk hunt.
This year will be my third tag I have had for bear hunting in Wisconsin. My goal this year is to take a black bear with a bow. Each time I hunt black bears, I keep learning new things. Below are a couple of tips that have helped us in the past to successful hunting bears:
- Bait Location:
- Since we hunt zone C in Wisconsin, we are normally hunting farm land. When trying to pick a bait location, we look for water and corn. We found that the baits that stay active most of the season is near water. Bears like to stay cool and do not want to travel far. Also, we try to be around corn because bears love corn in the milk stag and they also will use the corn fields to bed in.
- Minimize the chocolate in the bait.
- As we pickup bait for the upcoming bear baiting season, we are critical on what we are using. Bears will fill up and then stop hitting the bait. We normally use a combination of cookie dough, granola, popcorn, and ice cream cones. Before purchasing the cookie dough and granola, we review the product in the bins. We make sure that it not all chocolate. The chocolate will fill bears up quickly. The goal is to make them want more, which means consistent bait hitting.
- Be consistent.
- Baiting bears will require a lot of time. Get in a pattern of when checking baits, if you don’t the bears might lose interest. We normally check every 2 days but know many that will do every 3 days. If you are not close to the location where you are bear baiting, you may want to find family or friends that can help. I have been lucky to have both family and friends help because I am over an hour away from our bear hunting spots.
- Getting a good scent going around the bear bait will help pull the bears in. Why not have the bears aid with that? We use molasses around and on the bear stumps. When the bear comes in and tips the stump over to eat, it will get the molasses on its paws. That means when it walks away, it is leaving a scent trail behind and spreading it throughout the woods.
If you are hunting bears this year or looking to start bear hunting, I hope these tips will help you in your next bear hunt. I recommend giving bear hunting a try, if you really enjoy hunting and like to try new things. I promise it will be like no other hunting you have tried. Continue to pay attention to our blogs and social media accounts to know how our bear season unfolds.