Three Arguments Against Bear Baiting Don't Hold Much Water
I've heard three main arguments why bear baiting should be banned:
1. Baiting habituates a bear to "people" food. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists disagree with this point, and it doesn't make sense to me. A bear coming across a bait station is no different than a bear coming across a carcass. He feeds on it, returns, feeds again, etc., until the food is gone. I don't see the bear, after feeding on a bait station, thinking, "Dang, that was good ... time to head on in to town to get more." Remember that ADFG regulates the placement of bait stations.
2. Bear baiting increases the chance of bear verses human contact. That makes some sense, and additional bait station marking regulations (flagging around a 100-yard perimeter of the station, etc.) should be considered. In and of itself, however, the argument doesn't support a complete ban.
3. Baiting is unethical. I agree that, at face value, the thought of taking a bear over "doughnuts and bacon grease" presents as unethical, providing rich fodder for emotional reaction by folks who have failed to consider all sides of the issue. Case in point is your editorial. However, when you step back and really think about it, explain to me how bear baiting is any different than scenting a trap line, setting out goose decoys or calling a moose.
-- Pete Davis / Anchorage
Wolf Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 671670, Chugiak, Alaska 99567-1670