Tyler Dodge was sitting in his treestand in 2022 overlooking a bait website when he had a bear are available in behind him.
The animal appeared to detect his scent, which normally means it’s recreation over.
“She was sniffing the air and stopped, then went again within the woods,” Dodge stated.
He was sure that the bear was lengthy gone. As an alternative, the sow finally circled down towards the bait barrel. It sniffed round, however saved strolling.
It then moved to a spot 10 yards in entrance of Dodge and began licking the blueberry attractant that he had sprayed on the bottom. He harvested the animal, which subject dressed at 250 kilos.
“It was tremendous cool to see her come into my spray,” Dodge stated. “She wasn’t within the meals, she needed that blueberry odor.”
The hunt was particularly satisfying as a result of the spray is certainly one of many merchandise Dodge makes for Wilderness Freaks, a enterprise he owns along with his spouse, Bailie. Their main focus is searching attractants.
The Pittsfield couple purchased Wilderness Freaks final 12 months from Jason Frechette with little hesitation. Tyler Dodge had beforehand used the scents efficiently and had helped promote them on social media.
“After I began utilizing his scents three or 4 years in the past, I shot a bear yearly after,” he stated. “That’s why I liked it a lot.”
It has been a busy 14 months because the Dodges acquired Wilderness Freaks. Tyler Dodge loves searching, so spending a few of his spare time mixing scent formulation and creating new ones is an ideal method for him to immerse himself within the sport even additional.
“Deer searching’s enjoyable. It’s a blast,” he stated. “However bear searching, there’s nothing prefer it.”
It’s no secret that black bears love sweets. Bait hunters, who harvest roughly 65 to 70 p.c of the bears taken within the state every year, use a large number of baked items, candies, syrups, honey, fryolator grease, nuts and different meals to entice them to go to bait websites.
Wilderness Freaks’ scents enchantment to bears’ eager sense of odor. The most well-liked aromas amongst hunters are anise, caramel, cherry, jelly donut, butterscotch, bacon and blueberry.
Primarily based on enter from clients, Dodge has added cotton sweet, grape and peppermint this 12 months. He additionally affords apple pie, marshmallow and popcorn.
“It smells identical to buttery, movie show popcorn,” he stated of the latter taste.
The sprays are oil-based, which helps them adhere to surfaces when uncovered to the weather. Cornbread, root beer, peanut butter and smoke are amongst different choices.
Tyler Dodge continues to work on growing, enhancing and testing tantalizing scents to draw each bears and deer. And it doesn’t cease with sprays.
Wilderness Freaks now affords “Bear Crack,” a fruity bait additive, and “Bait Desserts,” that are made with sugars and fragrances and might be positioned in a tree for longer-lasting scent dispersal.
The corporate additionally sells a concentrated bait starter, which is designed to be combined with fryolator grease or on a soaked rag for scent cowl whereas on stand.
For deer hunters, Wilderness Freaks has pastes that includes buck urine, doe in warmth and buck urine with tarsal gland.
Some hunters swear by the skunk paste, which has been identified to get bears which have deserted a bait website to come back again and examine. Among the scents additionally can be utilized by trappers.
Scents are one other software for bear hunters, who make investments plenty of money and time shopping for bait, driving backwards and forwards to take care of their websites and searching.
Wilderness Freaks affords attire and different hunting-related objects from its home-based operation. Dodge, who by day works for Formtek-Maine, a steel manufacturing firm in Clinton, has been promoting a lot of his in-ground PVC pipe bear traps.
He opted to construct his personal entice and check out that technique when he was unable to get an enormous bear to indicate up at his website throughout daytime.
The pipe is positioned into the bottom and bait is inserted within the backside. There’s a cable snare positioned on the high of the gadget. When a bear inserts its paw to seize the meals and tries to take away it, it hits a set off that springs the snare, which closes onto the leg.
Dodge’s design prevents a bear from triggering the snare cable until it makes an attempt to take away the bait, versus activating it by hitting the set off on the best way down and springing it prematurely.
“If the lock is ready up the correct method on the snare, then that bear shouldn’t be getting out of that,” he stated, admitting that bears are sturdy and generally can keep away from being caught.
Hunters throughout Maine have spent the final three weeks making ready for the opening of bear searching over bait. Youth Bear Day is Saturday, Aug. 26, and the common four-week bait searching season begins on Aug. 28.
Bear trapping runs from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31.
Dodge hopes to reap a bear at his camp in Hancock County, or perhaps at a website nearer to his house in central Maine.
“I feel our bear scents are gonna develop. Our traps have been doing super this 12 months, too,” Dodge stated.
He admits black bears have the higher hand on hunters, no matter how potent or scrumptious bait choices is likely to be.
“There’s plenty of pure meals out proper now, too. It’s arduous to compete with pure meals,” he stated.
Dodge is already wanting forward with the hope of turning Wilderness Freaks right into a full-time enterprise. A storage that’s within the works will home operations.
He’s arduous at work designing everlasting deer searching huts that may embrace built-in photo voltaic, and is exploring a solar-powered wax burner unit to heat scents. Dodge additionally has partnered with Sniper Hog Lights, which sells gear designed for nighttime predator searching.
Wilderness Freaks merchandise can be found at Outdated City Buying and selling Put up, Indian Hill Buying and selling Put up in Greenville and Willey’s Sport Heart in Ellsworth.
“We now have expanded the enterprise fairly a bit in only one 12 months,” Tyler Dodge stated. “My purpose is to have our personal store. I need to have it full time.”