Bear / Buck Interaction

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Singing Bridge
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Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:34 am

Mike's post of the little bear / buck got me thinking about adult whitetail and their tolerance (or lack of tolerance) of black bear. Not too long ago, if you had told me a 300+ pound black bear was consistently hitting a bait put out for whitetail, I'd have been convinced that there would be little chance of deer hitting the bait. A few years ago a friend of mine put bait out in a cedar swamp (before it was outlawed in the lower peninsula of Mich). It consisted of sugar beets and corn. He put a trail camera right over the bait, and the bait was established in late October. He got pics of the big black bear on a regular basis. What shocked me was the pics he got of four (4) different bucks hitting the bait the first week of November. These bucks consisted of two different eight-pointers and a seven point (all 2 1/2 year olds) and one three year old eight-point (all my estimates). This area consists of heavily pressured public land. The bear hit the bait almost daily, and obviously left droppings and a lot of scent. No trailcam pics of does or fawns, or yearling bucks, were ever captured. The four different bucks were not ever together, and the pics either showed them standing in or very near the bait. Two of the bucks showed up quite a number of times. Anyone else able to share something similar? What's your opinion, did the bucks have little fear of all the bear scent as long as it wasn't super fresh- or perhaps the seasonal flush of testosterone reduced their fear level? I thought his pics were very interesting.


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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby dan » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:22 pm

My opinion is that the bucks did not like the bear scent, as well as they don't like the human scent that puts out the bait and cameras... They tolerated it in order to get something to eat. Every where deer eat in bear country, so do the bears. Wether its a crop field, apple tree, or acorns, bears will be feeding there too. Bucks have to learn to accept that to some degree.
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Mike Foss » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:06 pm

Bear & Deer interact with one another every day. I dont think it bothers deer as much as one would think. I had a cool picture at one time. I set up a moch scrape one Fall with a scent rag hanging from a branch over the scrape, put a trail camera up, looked at the pictures a few days later. In one of the pictures a bear was standing on its hind legs over the scrape smelling the scent rag with a deer standing only about 10ft away. I have seen in the past allot of Bear & Deer interact with one another when I used Molasses at bear baits, those deer love molasses. What I found interesting was if the deer was at the bear bait first and a bear came in they would snort and get nervous and throw a fit, but if the deer walked in when the bear was at the bait they would stand back and watch or slowly move off, they werent alarmed. I dont use molasses anymore, to many deer busting the bear hunters, then alarming the bear.
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Singing Bridge
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:01 am

Great input, Dan and Mike- that's what I was looking for. In Canada this year, I put bait out less than fifty yards from a trail used by a 3 year old wilderness buck.... didn't seem to slow him down any as I continued to cut his tracks on the run daily- and there was a fleet of bears hitting the bait. The draw I used to access my bear stand was used by a cow and a calf moose as well, and I nearly always cut their fresh tracks just downwind from my stand- it didn't push them to take a different route either.
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Arrowbender » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:16 pm

I too have seen moose near my bait as well as wolves.
My question is:
How about a property that never had bears on it and now it has at least one? Don't you think that the deer will take a little while to get used to it. I believe it is a two or three y/o boar. I found it unusual that some of my adult does didn't have fawns the last two years or singles instead of twins. Do you think a new predator to the area would have a hay day until a little evolution gets the deer on the same page?
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby dan » Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:59 pm

Do you think a new predator to the area would have a hay day until a little evolution gets the deer on the same page?

I think you got a good point Arrow... I also think cause of the fawn factor does naturally hate bears more than bucks.
But the less interaction with a predator be it bear, human, or canine, the more fear the deer should have.
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Schultzy » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:33 pm

I've never gotten a picture of deer at any of my bear baits but then again I use allot of meat which In turn gets rotten smelling. Not exactly a deer attractant. ;) On the way In to some of these baits we cross some heavy deer trails. I don't think It's a problem at all (bear and deer In the same vicinity). Come spring time though when the doe's have their fawns It's another story I believe.
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Swamp Donkey » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:56 pm

Here in PA, bear and deer share the same habitat...the deer just respect the bear's space most of the time. As for bears taking fawns, our game commission did a study on fawn predation and found that bobcats are the most effective fawn hunters followed by coyotes. Bears take a fawn from time to time, but I think they stumble into them, not really out looking for a "veal meal". At least not in PA...
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby dan » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:17 pm

I have noticed that deer come around my bear baits quite a bit when I spray vanilla extract as an attractant for the bears. I did have a doe and fawn hanging out at a bait when I was hunting with Mike Foss last September too...
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Re: Bear / Buck Interaction

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:00 am

Deer definitely seem to enjoy the smell of vanilla extract, I've watched them build scrapes when combining it with ammonia and water and spraying it on a limb over a trail. I've posed a few bucks for pics on trailcams with the same combination by spraying the bark of a tree with it on the deer trail the camera is covering.


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