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Ground Blinds and Bears? Is There a Problem?

5158 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  S&S Archery
So another member of AT and I were thinking of hunting out of some ground blinds in the U.P. of Michigan this year. Some of the areas we hunt are SWMPS. I mean thick nasty cedar swamps. The proble is the trees are so thick they are small, twisted, and overall just hard to hang a stnd in. We were thinking of brushing in some ground blinds and leaving them for a few weeks. Would this be a bad idea? Would the bears eat them for lunch?
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Being an avid bear hunter I have asked this question. I will share what i have heard. If you using a bow there are potential challenges. A perfect distance around a bait sight for a bowhunter is 15-22 yards. With a ground blind being that close to a bait. The bear could easily become distracted. i have heard success with a blind more with blackpowder/ rifle hunters because of the distance from the baits, (50-100 yds.).
 

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a hunter in kentucky was attacked in his blind this year killed the bear. note that it is highly illegal to kill a bear in ky. if they hadn't of found bear blood in the blind where it fell into it he'd of been in a heap of trouble.
 

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I feel it depends on the area you are hunting and the species of bear that are there. Over the past few seasons, I am passing up every bear that comes close just for a chance at a "blond phase" black bear. I already have all the other phases rugs mounted and displayed in our home. I am therefore really restricted in what I wish to harvest.

First some info: Baiting is illegal in California. In most cases folks get them incidentally to hunting deer during deer season. You can only hunt bears with archery equipment in California during the corresponding archery deer season for that aera your tag is valid in. When archery deer season closes, you are then allowed to hunt bears only with a rifle until either the season limit is reached or December 31 comes around. Hence, archery bears are mostly a spot and stalk deal here.

I prefer tree stands for hunting bears with archery gear. Twice in the past two years I have wished I were up a tree at least 30 feet.... in both cases the bears were transitioning from one area to another... once through a saddle in a mountain ridge, and in the other case my hunting partner and I saw the bear coming down the river and decided to ambush him as he came up the trail. The only problem with this idea was that the bear picked a rarely used trail that led him straight into us... at 7 yards we all finally saw each other. It was pretty easy to get the exact distance from us to this 350lb plus bear... we measured from where the bear tracks end and turned to run back to thre river to where the two wet spots were between boot tracks. IN the case of the saddle bear, he was walking straight to me with the wind perfectly at his back... so I got to see and smell him long before he decided to leave me alone in this little bush I had made into a blind. I was actually thinking "deer moving from the mountain bowl into the black timber behind me." Wrong specie of critter came over the saddle!

If you are baiting or trying to lure a bear in using a natural food source, I'd be very cautious in using a ground blind... in fact I would probably not do it. Most of the time the bears are "smelling their way" to the bait or food source. That means they may be so keyed into the bait smell that they do not smell you, and you find yourself between the bear and the food. Their eyesight is not as good as their sense of smell.

If you are in a tree stand your scent is less likely to be detected by a bear.

Outside of food source related situations, there are other issues to consider. I hunted bears a lot during my high school years in Alaska. Alaskan bears seem to be far more territorial than northern California bears. In my personal and un-scientific survey, I feel that the Alaskan bears are more inclined to go after you than down here. Nor Cal bears appear to run away if they can, and they do not feel cornered.

I concur with "broadfieldpoint's" statements: if the area you wish to hunt is that dense, you'd be far better off up a tree looking out over it. Like he says, you'd have a far better shot opportunity because there would be fewer branches and limbs in the way.

Good luck!
 

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I hunt them from a stand, but if I was to hunt one on the ground because the trees wouldn't handle a stand. I would erect a blind like the ones for african lions. Simple strong and gives you enough time to crap your pants on a bad shot.

Remember Black Bears don't stop an attack until it's dead, and they attack the gut area first ripping and felaying it open.

And if your baiting them, make sure you do not handle the bait with your hands or get it on you. Because they might come to you before it gets to the bait.
 

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Jshep40,

I shot a black bear last September from 7 yds out of a T5 Double Bull blind. Baiting is legal in my state and the bear never knew I was there since I set up in heavy vegetation. The blind contained my scent and allowed me to draw my bow without being seen and you can set your blind up with many amenities (confort) that are not possible in a tree stand. I left my blind out over night on private property and had no problems with bears or thieves.

Good Luck!
 

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the May '08 issue of Bowhunt America has a good article about ground blinds for bears with some good basic information in it. I think that if you go to bowhuntamerica.com you can bring up old issues to look at.
 

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Last two years in a row I have killed my spring bears out of a ground blind. Its a great way to go because you can move around and stretch out in the blind. My first year I did have a bear tear up my blind. I found that when the bait pile ran low they started looking elsewhere for food and must have thought some was in my blind. Since then I leave my blind folded up about 200 yards away and set it up when I hunt. If you were to take it home with you be very careful not to contaminate it with scent.
 
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