February 14, 2014
North Carolina Considers Allowing Reckless Practice of Bear Baiting
The Humane Society of the United States submits comments on proposal
More North Carolina black bears could be subjected to the unnecessary and unsporting practice of bear baiting, in which bears are lured by piles of food for an easy kill. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is considering a proposal to authorize bear baiting, which is generally prohibited in the state. The Humane Society of the United States and hundreds of North Carolina residents submitted comments urging the commission to keep bear baiting out of the Tar Heel state.
Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The HSUS said, “Bear baiting lacks sportsmanship, and is completely unnecessary. Baiting habituates bears to human food, which can lead to increased human-bear conflicts. Allowing the widespread baiting of bears would be a step backward for North Carolina, and we hope the Wildlife Resource Commission rejects this misguided proposal.”
Bait piles tend to concentrate animals in unnaturally high densities and as a result, diseases can spread more easily – increasing the chance for conflict between bears and other wildlife. Baiting also conditions bears to human food sources, creating nuisance bears and leading to bear-human conflicts. Most bear hunting states manage their bear populations without baiting. Wildlife agencies tell people not to feed the bears in an attempt to reduce these bear-human conflicts—they should be consistent and not perpetuate these practices on a much grander scale.
A full copy of the comments is available upon request.
- Proposals H9 and H10 would expand bear baiting.
- North Carolina’s bear harvest has nearly tripled over the past 10 years without the aid of bear baiting.
- Last season 2,827 bears were killed in North Carolina – one of the largest takes in the country, despite only having a comparatively medium-sized population of bears.
- Hound hunters are allowed to release their dogs at bait sites, but “still hunters” are prohibited from using bait under current regulations.
- Bear hunting is allowed in 38 states, but only 12 generally allow baiting. North Carolina currently prohibits bear baiting, except for hound hunters who release their dogs at bait sites.
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