Love it or hate it, baiting bears is a surefire way to attract them. Typically sweet-smelling or sugary foods are best at attracting bears.
Some hunters also have great success with bacon fat.
Best Homemade Bear Attractants
As I mentioned above, sweet-smelling baits usually work the best for black bears.
You will find the hardest part of these baits is dispersing them and holding the scent in the area.
Nonetheless, these are tried and tested homemade attractants that work.
Homemade bear candy is one of the best bear baits I have found to attract black bears.
- 25lb Sugar
- 1 Gallon of syrup, any syrup will work, but I find corn syrup is the cheapest and works well.
- Extra Scent: This is a personal preference, but vanilla or anise are two solid options.
- 20 oz of Jello. The flavor here is also a matter of personal preference but avoid any citrus flavors. Usually, I like to use any berry flavors.
- Large pot
Starting the Mix
To start the mix, add 8-10 cups of sugar into the pot. Then add 3 cups of syrup and 2 cups of water.
Turn the gas burner to the highest setting and begin stirring.
The stirring here is very important; otherwise, the mixture will boil over.
The mixture will appear milky at first until the sugar dissolves. Once this happens, stop stirring.
Leave the mixture on a low boil while you make the flavor. Doing so will allow the mixture to reduce down a little.
The time depends on your stove but averages around 15 minutes.
Making the Flavor
To create the flavor, add the Jello and some of your scent with a half cup of hot water into another container.
Stir this until the Jello has dissolved.
Finishing the Candy
Once the candy mixture has reduced down into a thick mixture, it’s time to add the flavoring.
The mixture should be about 310-325 deg F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have one you can test the mixture by dropping a small amount into cold water.
A mixture that is ready will turn brittle and be easy to break. An undercooked mixture will be rubbery or soft.
Once you are sure the mixture is cooked, start gently pouring in the flavor mix.
Be extremely careful here as the water will immediately begin to boil over and steam.
To prevent this from happening, add in small amounts of water at a time and continuously stir.
The whole mixture must stay over the heat while doing this to prevent the mix from setting.
Pour the mixture into a steel pot, being careful as the mix is extremely hot. A good idea is to add in a length of chain that can be used for hanging the candy.
This is a handy pocket guide you can bring with you to the field. It will take you step by step on how to field dress big game animals
Jello is a hunter’s secret weapon when it comes to bating. Not only does it work well for baiting deer, it is also extremely effective at baiting black bears.
There are many ways you can go about using Jello to attract black bears.
Some people will just spread the jello mix around a little, others mix it with other ingredients or make a bear candy like the recipe above, and some spray it out of a water gun.
Whatever works for you, at the end of the day, once you get the scent out there it will attract bears.
Sweet Dog Food Bear BAit
Dog food is another bear favorite, they love this stuff especially when it is mixed with other things.
A favorite mix of mine:
- Dog Food
- Pancake Syrop
This is best mixed out at the site because you need to pour it over the dog food.
The dog food is really what holds the bear in the area, the sweet stuff is what draws them in.
Add the sugar and syrup to the pot and stir. Just as the sugar starts to dissolve, add in the marshmallows and Jello.
It’s important to keep stirring as it will try to boil over. Keep boiling and stirring until the sugar and Jello fully dissolve.
This mix should be sticky and doesn’t need to be boiled down like the bear candy.
Be careful as the mix is extremely sticky and doesn’t come off easily.
Once the mix is ready, pour the dog food into your Barrell and pour the mix over the dog food.
What I really like about this mix is that it is sticky, so once one bear comes into it, it will stick to his paws and he will drag the scent around.
This is one of the most effective baits I have used for black bears. You can mix this up with different flavors or scents, or you can add other things to it like honey or popcorn.
I’ve tried many bear baits over the years and to be honest, almost anything works.
The reason why I consider these two the best is mostly because of their structure.
One is hard like candy or a mineral lick, which means the bear spends some time in working on the bait.
The other has a really sticky texture and a super powerful scent. This draws in bears really well but you’re also using bears to help spread the scent.