According to Dick Scorzafava in this bi-monthly Bear Hunting magazine, scent control is the most important factor in hunting black bear from a stand (along with sitting still). The bear’s ability to smell is fantastic and one of their best defenses. Our first black bear taken last year is a testament to Dick’s observation.
It was hot the first week of bear hunting last year in northern Aroostook County, Maine. Steve, from South Carolina, was somewhat quite but the few comments he made in his southern drawal indicated he was a hunter. He sighted in his rifle in on Monday morning with precision. I was very confident he could hit what he was aiming at.
At our meeting on Sunday evening I told all the hunters that we would have lunch about noon on Monday and head out to the bear stands about 2. After sighting in their rifles, we had lunch. Steve jumped in the shower with his scent free soap. I later found out he also brushed his teeth with scent free tooth paste. Coming out of the shower he asked me if it was ok if he changed his clothes at the truck when we reached his stand.
In a Scent-lok bag he had his Scent-lok hunting clothes to include his gloves, neck-up and head gear. As hot as it was he was going to wear it all. Only after undressing and redressing in his hunting clothes was he ready to walk into his stand. He told me when he pays to go on a hunt he wants to ensure he does everything in his power to ensure he has a good time and sees game.
I walked him to his bear stand and helped him get settled. I sprayed the area with Wildlife Management scent free, put more bear bait out, sprayed bacon scent from Bear Scents, LLC, cut a few branches that he wanted out of his way and I was gone. He shot his bear earlier than any of the other hunters in 2010.
He explained that 2 cubs and a sow came up from behind him, nose into the wind. The 2 cubs actually climbed through the bottom 2 rungs on the ladder stand. The fourth black bear came in from the same area as well and chased the sow and 2 cubs away. The fifth bear came in from the same direction, behind him and was taken with one shot.
There was a breeze that day and all the bear came into the breeze right under Steve’s stand to reach the barrel of food. None of them scented him.
I personally wear scent free clothing. I don’t think it is magic and I don’t think it is 100% effective but I do believe it gives me an edge. I strongly agree with Dick. Steve has helped promote the whole issue of Scent-lok clothing does help.
Source: #9 Lake Outfitters and Don Burnett offers Bear Hunting in Maine.
The Bear Hunting Blog