Bear Baiting is Like Shooting Bears
at Zoo and Should be Illegal
to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / June 19, 2004
is one of the last states where bear baiting is legal.
Each year trophy hunters habituate thousands of bears
to a diet of dog food, old pastries, bacon grease and
other goodies, then shoot about 650 of them.
Polling indicates most Alaskans consider bear baiting as unsporting. It is the
equivalent of shooting fed bears at the zoo. It also teaches bears to seek out
human-related foods, which most people believe is undesirable. In November, voters
will decide whether or not to make bear baiting illegal.
Bear baiter and Board of Game member Pete Buist said in a letter to the editor
on June 10 that if there was a ban on bear baiting, Frank Bettine could face
a year in jail for having used bait to rescue an orphaned brown bear cub. That
would never happen. Mr. Bettine was working closely with the Alaska Department
of Fish and Game in attempting to catch the cub before it starved to death. Even
if he had technically broken the law (public trapping of brown bears is currently
illegal), who in their right mind would press charges?
If there is a concern, it is with the Board of Game. In March, it approved a
regulation to allow the killing of "at least a thousand bears" over bait.
-- Dr. Paul Joslin, Wildlife Director, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, Anchorage
to Current Events 0604]
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