Wind in the face vs cross wind...

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Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby dan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:35 am

I spend a lot of my time bear hunting waiting on the right wind... A lot of guys want the wind right in there face. You hear the comment "if you can't smell the bait, the wind is wrong"... However, I feel I get busted more with wind to face than with a cross wind. Sure, small bears and the occasional bigger bear will come straight in occasionally, especially on spots that have not yet been hunted previously... But mature boars don't get to live to be a decade old or older by walking straight into baits in daylight.
I find that the majority of the mature boars that come into my baits circle downwind to smell 2 things, one is human danger, the other is to smell if other bears are there.
I think most of the time we don't hear them circle but the fact that they approach from down wind gives it away, as does my scouting of the bear trails after shooting my bear to see what was going on... Trail cams on baits have really aided my scouting.

Talking with one of the best bear hunters I ever met, Brad Kunart, he told me that most of his hunters insisted on hunting directly over the bear bait, and that is where he had his most success on bears, but most were small, however his biggest bears ever shot came from the 1st sit, setting his hunters up downwind of the bait in thick cover over the circling bear trail.

I have tweaked this... I feel you get one shot doing this cause bears do not put up with walking around near the baits where you don't belong... Your scent on the down wind trail seems to send big bears packing or makes them nocturnal. I have found my best success in having the baiting trail go right past the hunter tree so there are no scent surprises for the bear when you hunt...

So, what I have noticed with circling bears that don't figure out your kill tree ( because its on your bait trail ) is that they circle downwind of the bait, not the hunter... So if the wind is in your face from the bait, your busted if he circles, but if its a cross wind he is going to get down wind of the bait, but not you, and smell the bait and no humans and come straight in... This is exactly what I did for my big bear this year... He did about a 180 circle ( every few minutes I would hear a branch break and could hear him circling... When he got directly down wind of the bait (but not me ) he came in... And this certainly is not the 1st time I have experienced this behavior.

Comments? questions?


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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby kenn1320 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:55 am

Makes sense to me Dan. Guess the trick is a stand that ensures they circle the right direction to get down wind of the bait. I also like the baiting trail going past the stand, but I have to think the bears might check that trail for recent human scent? Ive never bear hunted, but will someday(so I like to read/learn when I can). 8-)
"Its about taking the right shot at the right time with good equipment." Dan Infalt
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby dan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:15 am

kenn1320 wrote:Makes sense to me Dan. Guess the trick is a stand that ensures they circle the right direction to get down wind of the bait. I also like the baiting trail going past the stand, but I have to think the bears might check that trail for recent human scent? Ive never bear hunted, but will someday(so I like to read/learn when I can). 8-)

They do check the baiting trail for human scent, but they are used to it cause you walk in that way to bait each time.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Stanley » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:34 am

I agree on the bigger bears circling the bait before they commit to go in (seen this myself). Baiting is kind of a tricky business. You need the wrong wind in a lot of circumstances to get the bait smell to the bears. I think we would be a little naive if we thought the bears don't know humans were around the bait. I think that it is imperative to bait in the morning and hunt in the afternoon. This routine give the bait area a time table so to speak. I haven't hunted bear since the trail cameras were invented. I think they are a great tool for the bear hunter.

In my opinion the bait station most guys use are too much in the open. A bait station in the bush with a small open area makes the bear feel more secure. The bears circle down wind to smell the bait station and check for danger. The perfect wind would from the bait to the bear. We do know this doesn't work for the hunter. So we the hunter must adjust for an off wind that we know won't give our position away. A big bear will stick in the thick cover until he is sure the area is safe. Thick cover around a small open bait station provides this.

If you have a limited time to hunt, you have to hunt when the wind is in your favor. If you have one week to hunt there isn't time to set up 10 bait stations on a DIY hunt. On a DIY hunt you have to hunt baits that have been hit you just can't set up a bait station and hunt. I also think, and I may be wrong but most bears know the hunter is there that is why guys kill small bears. I also think if you are hunting and setting your own baits you have a better chance than hunting over a bait that someone else set.

Bears get used to that meal ticket guys smell and will often come into the bait knowing the hunter is there. I have had bears come in and walk up to the tree and look straight up at me. I watched bears at a dump, they knew those trucks meant a possible easy meal (that is what a bait station is). The trucks would leave the bears would start coming in after the trucks left. The bears know the guy doing the baiting is associated with the easy meal.

I do agree with you Dan, bear hunting is a complicated matter of beating the bears nose, keeping the bear coming into the bait, and not shooting the first small bear you see. Great topic for discussion.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby dan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:20 am

I also think if you are hunting and setting your own baits you have a better chance than hunting over a bait that someone else set.

I agree... Bears know and get used to your individual scent. New guy scent makes them nervous and can make them nocturnal.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Mike Foss » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:10 pm

First off, it is very hard to hunt any day with a straight wind direction (wind in the face). In September your prevailing wind is usually SW. I normally place my tree stands and bait stations facing West. I totally disagree with having your entrance and exit trail go right past where the tree stand will be placed. I bet most experienced bear hunters have never placed a trail camera on there entrance and exit trail, try it some time, you will be shocked at how often those bears use that trail to come into the bait stations and its the last thing I want is a big old pig of a bear sitting under my hunters tree stand looking up at him. I would rather condition those bears to use that trail and direct them away from my stand. Our biggest bear shot 639lbs came walking right down our trail just like I do when I bait, if he would have ventured 25ft to the right he would have smelled the hunter, hunter would have never known that bear was there. I think more importantly is your stand placement and concealment, if you use a ladder stand, screw-in-tree steps, box stand, strap on ladder sticks eventually every bear will know where you will be waiting in ambush and especially those big mature bears will use that to there advantage. Allot of these big bears are shot not because they let there guard down and didn't smell us but were distracted from other bears either at the bait station or close by and ended up in a position they should have not been in. Eventually bears don't care about the smell of the bait station, they have been there many times before hand and they already know it exists and the buffet is open, there more concerned now about the possible dangers that lurk around each corner before they arrive, its just what bears do before they commit themselves.

I often wonder :think: instead of being as scent free as possible if a hunter would vapor his cloths in a food scent such as a bacon scent he would be much better off and get away with a bad wind or the great nose of the bear.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Stanley » Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:28 pm

Mike Foss wrote:First off, it is very hard to hunt any day with a straight wind direction (wind in the face). In September your prevailing wind is usually SW. I normally place my tree stands and bait stations facing West. I totally disagree with having your entrance and exit trail go right past where the tree stand will be placed. I bet most experienced bear hunters have never placed a trail camera on there entrance and exit trail, try it some time, you will be shocked at how often those bears use that trail to come into the bait stations and its the last thing I want is a big old pig of a bear sitting under my hunters tree stand looking up at him. I would rather condition those bears to use that trail and direct them away from my stand. Our biggest bear shot 639lbs came walking right down our trail just like I do when I bait, if he would have ventured 25ft to the right he would have smelled the hunter, hunter would have never known that bear was there. I think more importantly is your stand placement and concealment, if you use a ladder stand, screw-in-tree steps, box stand, strap on ladder sticks eventually every bear will know where you will be waiting in ambush and especially those big mature bears will use that to there advantage. Allot of these big bears are shot not because they let there guard down and didn't smell us but were distracted from other bears either at the bait station or close by and ended up in a position they should have not been in. Eventually bears don't care about the smell of the bait station, they have been there many times before hand and they already know it exists and the buffet is open, there more concerned now about the possible dangers that lurk around each corner before they arrive, its just what bears do before they commit themselves.

I often wonder :think: instead of being as scent free as possible if a hunter would vapor his cloths in a food scent such as a bacon scent he would be much better off and get away with a bad wind or the great nose of the bear.


What stand set up would you recommend? I think helping everyone out by what would work, might go along great with what won't work. Good stuff by the way.

Good point
You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:45 am

dan wrote:
I also think if you are hunting and setting your own baits you have a better chance than hunting over a bait that someone else set.

I agree... [glow=red]Bears know and get used to your individual scent. New guy scent makes them nervous and can make them nocturnal[/glow].


I definitely made this mistake before. :oops: :doh:
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Mike Foss » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:28 am

Stanly - Every stand that is set up and left before the season starts will eventually have a well worn bear trail going right under it, why, because it is not natural and they know it. The use of a climber tree stand is an option or preset using strap on ladder sticks, some call them stagger sticks, leave the tree stand up but remove the sticks until the day of the hunt, that way the bears have no idea there is something up. Dan uses this technique with his Lone Wolf set up allot. If you want to go even further you can set up a dummy tree stand, use 2 ladder sticks and a tree stand, you don't have to go high, let them find it which they will, set it up opposite side of where you will be hunting, eventually they will emerge by or near that dummy stand before they commit to the bait station. I also usually set up my trail camera opposite side of where my ambush stand is located, why, same thing, they know its not natural and they will check it out most of the time before they come in. I had a giant of a bear not to many years ago, he would come in, sit next to the trail camera for a few minutes, look up in the tree that the camera was on and then when he was satisfied there was no immediate danger he would come in to the bait.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Stanley » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:52 am

Mike Foss wrote:Stanly - Every stand that is set up and left before the season starts will eventually have a well worn bear trail going right under it, why, because it is not natural and they know it. The use of a climber tree stand is an option or preset using strap on ladder sticks, some call them stagger sticks, leave the tree stand up but remove the sticks until the day of the hunt, that way the bears have no idea there is something up. Dan uses this technique with his Lone Wolf set up allot. If you want to go even further you can set up a dummy tree stand, use 2 ladder sticks and a tree stand, you don't have to go high, let them find it which they will, set it up opposite side of where you will be hunting, eventually they will emerge by or near that dummy stand before they commit to the bait station. I also usually set up my trail camera opposite side of where my ambush stand is located, why, same thing, they know its not natural and they will check it out most of the time before they come in. I had a giant of a bear not to many years ago, he would come in, sit next to the trail camera for a few minutes, look up in the tree that the camera was on and then when he was satisfied there was no immediate danger he would come in to the bait.


Thanks for sharing some interesting points.
You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby dan » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:29 am

Mike,
Big difference between your hunting and mine... Your baiting the bears all summer, and actually over several years... I am baiting them for a few weeks. You have time to "condition" them... I have also had big bears come down my bait trails, not really a big deal to me. 1st off, it don't happen a lot to me in daylight... Most of the daylight (shooting hours ) bears come from the area expected... But, not always. When they do come in down the bait trail I have not had bad experiences. I could of shot and killed every bear that ever came down the bait trail on me... They expect my scent there.
Your success rate for baiting bears, and for getting big bears is probably the best in Wisconsin. You have a great track record, and I would recommend anyone looking for a guided bear hunt to talk with you... But, I will say this, I think the reason Snagletooth disappeared when I hunted him is directly because my scent is different from yours and I set my stand up off the trail where he knew human scent was not there before... I really believe big bears key in on routine.
I do think when you bait them on a regular basis for a long period of time you can get away with more...

Watching the cameras I have set up on my baits its real interesting to watch some of the baits in Minnesota go cold for a day after baiting because they are not yet used to me... Some of the bears are there all week then never come back after baiting, some go nocturnal for a few days, some pace back and forth 50 yards from you as your baiting waiting for fresh lunch... There all different almost like humans.

So as a hunter I take extreme caution that maybe only makes a differance on 10 ort 20% of the bears, but that little bit in my opinion greatly helps me...

As far as wind direction not being steady enough to work, yea it can get pretty shifty, especially when there are swamp thermals involved, but generally a 90 degree wind don't shift to 180.. It would be re4ally hard to get hunting clients to wait for an exact wind too... Im a little more patient, and I run several baits for each person in the party so there is always somewhere for me to hunt, maybe not the best place, but it gets me out there.

The second night this year I hunted a bait that had 3 shooter bears hitting it and probably 7 or 8 bears total... For the previous week every day there was at least 3 bears in daylight on the bait on the cameras. When I sat there nothing changed, not the wind, not the temp, nothing... I went in midday and slipped up the tree. No bears showed all day, and despite sneaking out of the stand, that spots activity went way down after that... You can't tell me they did not know I was there. They are circling the baits and smelling if I am there.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Schultzy » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:41 am

I'm with Mike, I want nothing to do with my bait trail right beside the stand. They always and I mean always look down that bait trail while at the bait. I also do not want my stand directly across from where they are coming in. These bear have much better eye sight then people know. I'm finding this out more and more every year how good their eye sight and hearing is too. They hear what they want to.

I like your idea of hunting a cross wind Dan. It's hard to get that perfect wind though in a weeks time but I believe you may be on to something there. I want to think about this cross wind stuff more before I comment any further on it.
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Mike Foss » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:17 am

Shultzy, your right about there eye sight, in your cool video that bear, I don't think he smelled you but his good vision picked you out and he cautiously backed out, he new something just wasn't right and didn't want to take the chance.

Dan, I realize our bear hunting situations are different, different tactics for different situations. De-bait (no pun intended) is always good and this is why the Hunting Beast is great, we get to learn other hunting tactics, learn about new hunting products, what works and what doesn't, meet new friends, try different ideas and share opinion's etc etc etc.

The Snaggle Tooth bait was molested before you got there, that's why it went cold and that's why we moved it the following year. We did shoot a bear off of it two weeks later. I always only gave the hunter hunting the Snaggle Tooth bait one day to kill that bear, after that he either turned nocturnal or never returned until the following year.

Years ago when Snaggle Tooth was in his prime I had a archery hunter watch S.T. for over a half hour, S.T. stood in one spot the whole time just out of range, as evening started to set the wind slightly shifted only for a minute and the game was up, he slowly turned around and walked away, it was almost like he new the wind was going to do that at that time of the evening. I laughed when the hunter came back to camp white as a ghost and said "How big are these bears out there".
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby dan » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:24 pm

Mike,
Funny you mention about the wind shift with Snaggle... Two years ago hunting MN I had a bear that seemed to key in on the thermal current associated with a swamp/pond thermal... When there was a breeze the wind blew to an opening I was using as an obstacle to keep bears from circling, but when it got calm the thermals would pull my scent the other direction towards the swamp. I could hear the bear move down wind and scent check every time there was a shift...
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Re: Wind in the face vs cross wind...

Unread postby Bearman13 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:10 pm

I set all my stands just off the bait trail going in. I don't want any hunters coming close to the bait site. NEVER. I have guys spray themselves down with scented spray before. UT WORKS.

I don't worry about wind. 19 years doing this and it doesn't matter. The bears know the hunter is there, the bear just has no reason to be afraid. Yet. We hunt deep spruce an cedar swamps. So the wind swirls most if the time.

Dan is right if a hunter doesn't shoot on first night it's because the bear is wondering what the is different.

You have to keep a strict routine an keep it.

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