Comparing Fish Bait and Bear Bait Reveals Group's Distorted Views

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / April 10, 2004

Alaskans for Professional Wildlife Management, principally a coalition of Alaska Outdoor Council, National Rifle Association and Safari Club of Alaska ("Bear baiters launch defense," April 3), is railing about Outside animal rights extremists with big money trying to usurp management of Alaska's wildlife by banning bear baiting. The largest Alaska poll on bear baiting's acceptability indicated only 31 percent of hunters supported baiting. Since sportsmen who believe in fair chase also oppose baiting and only 2 percent of hunters bait bears, the real extremists are most members of APWM and the Alaska Board of Game. Friends of Animals and similar organizations likewise are extremists on the other end of the spectrum.

Comparing anglers' baiting hooks with salmon eggs and baiting bears with buckets of stale pastries, meat, bacon grease, dog food, syrup, scent sacks in trees, and burning honey illustrates the distorted views of supporters of this egregious "hunting" method, which has been recently banned by initiatives in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. It is also illegal in British Columbia and Yukon Territory.

If the Board of Game pursues intended bear control, baiting may also become legal for brown bears; so may the sale of hides and skulls, use of aircraft and radios for hunting both species, and killing sows with young. Is this what APWM meant in stating, "Alaska has really set an example nationwide of how to properly manage game populations?"

-- Edgar Bailey / Homer

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