650 black bears are killed by hunters each year after
being habituated to come to bait using human related
foods such as pastries, bacon grease, and dog food. Earlier
this week Lt. Gov. Loren Leman announced that enough
certified voter signatures had been raised to place an
initiative prohibiting the baiting or intentional feeding
of bears on the November, 2004 ballot. If
the polls are any indication, it will pass with flying colors.
In a surprise move yesterday the Board of Game attempted to thwart the public
process by passing a regulation that allocates, "at least 1000 bears to bear
baiters for harvest in 18 Game Management Units across the state where regulations
have been developed specifically to allow for such harvest." That is an
area larger than the size of Texas!
"The Board of Game should not interfere with the public process", said initiative
committee member John Erickson. "If anything it should be doing a better
job of representing the public interest. I'm a hunter, and I have no problem
hunting bears so long as it is done by fair chase means, which bear baiting is
Alaska is one of the few remaining states that still allows bear baiting. The
Yukon and British Columbia banned it years ago.