Most Hunters Prefer Fair Chase;
Those Who Bait are too Lazy to Hunt

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / January 18, 2004

The Daily News recent article regarding submission of 33,500 names for an initiative banning the egregious practice of bear baiting was gratifying ("Bear baiting opponents deliver signatures aplenty," Jan. 9). Contrary to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and Alaska Outdoor Council, bear baiting is not a hunter versus non-hunter issue. In fact, two primary initiative sponsors are master guides, and the most extensive poll on bear baiting revealed 55 percent of hunters disapproved of baiting. The Sportsmen's Alliance spokesman indicated this initiative threatened hunters' rights nationwide and "could lead to the death of hunting." This hyperbole is totally false. Bear baiting is illegal in all but nine states and most Canadian provinces, yet hunting other than baiting still thrives in Oregon, Washington and other states where initiatives banned it.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports less than 20 percent of black bears are killed over bait, and only 2 percent of hunters bait bears. Fortunately most hunters believe in fair chase, contrary to the AOC's position that baiting is ethical because "hunters can clearly see which animal they're shooting." Skilled sportsmen who stalk game know what they are shooting!

Using spoiled meat, syrup-covered dog food and pastries, pouring fryer grease on the ground and burning honey to attract bears is not really hunting. Garbage piles in the woods also attract brown bears. One master guide described bear baiters succinctly -- most are simply too lazy to really hunt!

-- Edgar Bailey, Wildlife Biologist / Homer

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