**Q: **I recently purchased a 7mm Remington Magnum. I hunt deer in the upper part of lower Michigan. What’s the best bullet weight and design for medium-heavy woods, ranges usually within 100 yards? I’d also like to know how large an animal can be safely and humanely taken with this caliber.
A: Depends on what you want. Lighter bullets, from 140 to 150 grains, normally kill deer a little more quickly, because they’re going faster and so expand violently. But they may not penetrate very deeply, particularly at under 100 yards, because of this quick expansion.
My own choice would be the soft-point 175-grain loading, whether in Federal’s Classic Hi-Shok, Remington’s Pointed Soft-Point Core-Lokt, or Winchester’s Power Point. All will penetrate better under 100 yards, shoot up less meat, and leave a better blood trail than the faster stuff.
The 7mm Remington Magnum is a fine all-around load for most worldwide hunting of nondangerous game, including elk and moose. For game bigger than deer or caribou, I’d switch to one of the “premium” factory loads with 160- or 175-grain Barnes X, Nosler Partition, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Combined Technology Fail Safe or Swift A-Frame bullets.
Q: I’ll be going bear hunting for the first time in the early fall of 2002. Could you please give me tips on baiting: what’s best, how much, how often? When’s the best time of day to hunt? My research so far only mentions hunting them in the afternoon.
A: Bears are attracted to any high-carb, high-fat food, especially in the fall when they’re trying to put on weight for hibernation. You need something reasonably cheap and abundant, so you can replenish bait piles frequently. Most professional bear guides make friends with bakery and restaurant owners, offering to cart away their leftover doughnuts and french-fry grease. Any sort of animal or fish will help. In the spring bears seem particularly attracted to skinned beaver carcasses, available from local trappers, but you probably won’t be able to come up with many in early fall.
A 5-gallon bucket full of bait is a good minimum and should be replenished at most every other day. Bear guides like to put the stuff in a 55-gallon drum chained to a tree, so the bear can’t carry the bait into the thick woods, where you won’t be able to get a shot. You’ll have a hard time approaching the bait in the morning without spooking bears, because they may already be feeding. Bears normally bed down during the day; if you approach in the afternoon, you can wait for them to come out to feed again.