Medred Analogies Hide Real Issue: Bear Baiting is Unsafe, Unethical


Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / July 20, 2003

 

Craig Medred's inappropriate and demeaning old hunter and pilot analogies in his July 6 column are red herrings designed to distract people from the real issues behind bear baiting and why it should be banned.

Bear baiting in Alaska was illegal until 1982 when pressure from bow and some other hunters got this disgusting practice legalized. There is nothing sporting about shooting bears with their heads in a bucket of human foods like stale doughnuts, honey and dog food. Brown bears frequently come to bait stations but cannot legally be shot. Consequently, many brown and black bears become habituated to human-scented foods. Also there are other biological reasons not to bait. "A fed bear is a dead bear," and it is illegal to intentionally feed game animals.

Medred states that baiters "can't use garbage" and "can't leave a mess" in the woods. Stale pastries, grease, rotten meat and fish surely constitute garbage, and there are plenty of bait stations with old greasy tires, buckets and other trash left in the woods despite regulations to the contrary.

Baiting is a safety, ethical and legal issue. Alaska hunters who value a respected image of themselves as fair-chase, ethical hunters should want to eliminate a practice that tarnishes the image of Alaska hunting. It is time for bear baiting to be banned in Alaska. Let's get this issue on the ballot!

-- Nina Faust / Homer


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