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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 8-26-2015

by Mark Walters

Working on an Outdoor Trifecta

Hello friends,

Just about one year ago, I received a permit to either hunt or trap grey wolf in Wisconsin. On the last day of the wolf season I was pulling my traps and holy moly, I had me a wolf.

About the time that I caught my wolf, I received another very nice piece of mail, which contained my very first permit to hunt bobcat. After three trips up to the Cornell area my good buddies from Bloomer helped me to get my first cat. Yee ha, that was fun!

Shortly after whacken the cat I received two very positive pieces of mail with piece number one containing a bear harvest permit for Zone C for my fourteen-year-old daughter, Selina and the second envelope containing a permit for yours truly.

This week’s column is on how to run yourself ragged, break the piggy bank and beat up your pickup truck. In other words, I am writing about the last 45-days of my life where Selina and I have been baiting bear.

Selina and I have a 40-mile jaunt in the Juneau, Wood and Jackson County area and our adventures have been extremely physical, many deer flies and mosquitoes have fed on our blood and at times our experiences are very frustrating.

Until recently all of our baits have been on public land and folks let me tell you there are a lot of people running baits in Zone C and some of them are bit low in the ethics department.

Long story short! A typical bear bait consists of a hollow stump with a cover (generally the end of a log). Inside of the stump bear hunters place granola or gummy bears, cookies, chips or trail mix etc., etc….

What is very frustrating is when you are running a bait which, this far into the season, you may have at least 20-hours and possibly $80.00 or more worth of bait fed out and some yahoo sets up 70-yards away and is fully aware of what he is doing. One dirty rat even took my stump.

When people do me wrong I generally get even or in other words my spot back.

When Selina and I started baiting around the 4th of July we started with three locations and it grew to seven. As of this writing, we have dropped down to six, everyone is getting cleaned out by black bear, wolf, raccoon and of course crows.

If you form a tepee with logs over your stump, wolf will not bother your bait until the bear open it up. On Tuesday night, I got a picture on one of my four trail cameras of a large bear at the bait and a wolf waiting in the background for the bear to eat its fill.

A very frustrating situation this season for Selina and I is that everyone of our bear pics has been between 10:00 p.m and 5:00 a.m. Most veteran bear hunters are attributing this to so many bait piles in the woods.

This week after four to five days of blood, sweat and financial gloom and doom I did get two bear pics taken during shooting hours. One is in the 400-pound range and the other is maybe 220.

I love bear baiting, it beats the heck out of me, and totally wipes me out financially. The real beauty of baiting bear is that you realize what a cool animal they are and how sometimes, as soon as you leave the bait, they come in for supper.

Selina will be using a rifle, I will use my bow! My family has a major wedding on the week bear season opens and we are going to have fun like we do at deer camp for almost a week. Dear Riley and Rachel! Will you please take bear steaks for a wedding gift? Uncle Mark is past broke.

All kidding aside, Selina is totally into bear hunting and getting her food plot ready (for deer).

This past summer she has gone from a kid that could help with work to a true worker. Selina is so into the bear gig that she does not even know if she wants to get a bear on the first night of the season. Daddy says if it’s a shooter put a hole in it honey.

In closing, Selina is a freshman in high school and is on the cross country team, in reality with the cattle, gardening, fishing, duck, deer and bear hunting, firewood, cross country and keeping her grades up she could not be busier.

Her old man has hit the minus zone on free time, and cash in the bank but on the positive side he is having so much fun that he does not want to wake up from this dream.

My EZ season starts the day deer gun ends! Sunset