DIY Bear Hunt – Idaho – It is common for even fellow bowhunters to disparage bear baiting, though opponents seldom understand the gruelingly hard work that goes into a successful do-it-yourself baited black bear hunt—particularly on public lands.
Before Inside Archery Executive Editor Patrick Meitin’s northern Idaho bear hunt began, days and weeks of scouting, setup, long drives into backcountry and schlepping hundreds of pounds of bait into remote stand sites proceeded a single day on stand.
Far from guaranteed, northern Idaho bear hunts are inherently challenging. These aren’t Canadian or Alaska wilderness bears, but bruins who are hunted hard by a variety of public-lands hunters, including houndsmen, spot-and-stalk rifle hunters and bevies of other bear-baiters. You must get everything just right if you are to witness a mature bear.
Several days into his solo hunt Meitin had not seen a bear, despite the bait’s 55-gallon drum of food being exhausted weekly and plenty of trail camera intel. After days of sleeping on the ground, early wakeups and midday trout fishing the pace took its toll, the author dozing off on stand momentarily (curtesy of a four-point safety harness and fall-restraint rope).
The bear slipped in silently, as is their way, and when Meitin opened his eyes again one of his target bears—an all-black boar with white chest blaze—was simply there. Meitin slipped into autopilot, all those hours of shooting practice about to be put to the test, standing to clear interfering branches and bringing his Bear Archery Redemption EKO to full draw.
The Steel Force American Muscle-tipped Carbon Express Triad found the mark and the massive bear traveled only 100 yards—straight downhill—before piling up. It was the culmination of weeks of hard work and determination, and a hard-won DIY, public-lands prize.