View Full Version : Bear Baiting

March 3, 2009, 10:30 AM
I'm not looking for the answer to "Is it ethical?" That question and it's answers has been batted around for too many times. My question is, how can it be considered inhumane? Bear baiting is a hot topic in Maine and has been for some time. People against it are adamant that it is inhumane. People who do it are just as adamant that it isn't. While I don't hunt bear out of choice, I fail to see the connection between baiting and inhumane. Can anyone prove that it is inhumane (opinions do not count as proof)?

March 3, 2009, 10:55 AM
I can see their argument about ethical or fair chase (not agree) but inhumane?
No it is more HUMANE!!!! Inhumane would be a poor shot causing suffering.
Shooting over a gut pile usually puts the shooter (notice I did not say hunter) closer and in a clearer "shooting lane" than a stalked bear 50 feet up a fairly dense tree....

March 3, 2009, 11:16 AM
By someone's measure; perhaps unethical but hardly inhumane. I just don't see the justification. I use to think it was unethical to hunt deer with dogs till I hunted Alabama where they use them and once in their shoes, I changed my attitude !! .... :cool:
We have bated in Colorado and they use to come around quite well. Given enough time, they seem to catch on to what's going on and it's getting harder to get them to come in or stick around. They love Dunkin Doughnuts but don't spend much time choosing a flavor. :)

Be Safe !!!

March 3, 2009, 12:15 PM
I went on a black bear hunt in Ontario this past summer and that is just how they do it. They bait with candy cigarettes and blueberry sauce. I had to think about it, but came to the conclusion that at least the bear isn't penned in. It can go anywhere it wants and if it chooses to come to my bait, which one did, then a nice clean shot ends it.
I have an old friend who took his kid and then sent his wife and kid on a hunt in Tennesee where everything is penned in. Now that is not right, at least in my book.

Big Bill
March 3, 2009, 01:01 PM
Can anyone prove that it is inhumane (opinions do not count as proof)?You have asked the impossible. No one can prove a subjective concept. In the first place, if you are going to ask a question like this, your first duty is to define what the word "inhumane" means within the context of your question. Even then, all you can expect is subjective answers.

March 3, 2009, 01:39 PM
I have hunted bears in the past and i think it is juat another way to hunt I think the results are more in your favor if you use bait but if your shot is fatal
for the animal there is no hurt no foul

March 3, 2009, 02:36 PM

Only to the fat schnooks like me that get suckered into carrying 50 pound sacks of dog food up a hill, which makes on so tired one falls asleep 20 yards from the bait pile...on the ground I may add.

WildbutthesnoringkeepsthebearsawayAlaska ™

March 3, 2009, 02:51 PM
Inhumane can't be used in the context of a hunting tactic unless that tactic causes the animal suffering such as a "bear pit". The only way one can equate the word "inhumane" in the context of hunting is a use of a weapon that would cause suffering instead of a quick kill. The truth of the matter is that the act of hunting is considered by many as inhumane.

March 3, 2009, 02:53 PM
No longer legal in Washington state. I used to give left over food waste, old fryer grease mostly, to a hunter that baited bears when it was still legal. He and his buddies, unfortunately weren't aware that bears carry trichinosis and one of them didn't cook his bear meat hot or long enough and ended up in the hospital with a case of trichinosis.
I was kind of surprised because they talked like they knew what they were doing.

I don't have a problem with baiting bear or putting out feed for deer. The point is to fill your freezer after all. I wouldn't call it hunting as much as trapping with a gun.

March 3, 2009, 02:57 PM
Nothing in nature has ever been humane. But, the challenge doesn't seem like much, to me anyway.

March 3, 2009, 03:49 PM
People against it are adamant that it is inhumane.

Are they the same people that think all hunting is inhumane, but are targeting baiting because they think it is a fight they can win?

Seems to be a standard tactic - divide and conquer. So they get baiting outlawed and then go after what next?

They have managed to do away with baiting bear as well as running them (and cats) with dogs in Oregon. Now there is a bear "problem". I am as shocked as can be that taking out those methods of hunting has resulted in an over-abundance of bears and cats.....:rolleyes:

March 3, 2009, 04:34 PM
Anyone that believes bear baiting is inhumane must view all other forms of hunting as barbaric, Baiting gives the hunter the chance to be sure what they are shooting and to make a well placed shot resulting in a very humane kill. Alex

March 3, 2009, 05:14 PM
Well either way, in the end, the bear is getting shot, so I don't see it as more or less humane than other methods.

I think a good argument can be made that baiting (or using dogs) is less sporting, because the hunter doesn't rely on skills, such as reading game signs, stalking, etc. to actually locate and close the distance to game.

March 3, 2009, 05:59 PM
Inhuman ,no,but sportsmanlike, no.A friend went bear hunting and pickings were slow so they took him to a garbage dump.He shot his bear while it was eating a dirty diaper.I told him to have the bear stuffed with the diaper hanging out of its mouth.You might as well go deer hunting with a Buick,or prairie dog hunting with a tactical air strike.If all you want is a confirmed kill then why not go to a petting zoo with a claw hammer?

March 3, 2009, 07:11 PM
This was not supposed to be a post with comments about how "ethical" one thought baiting to be. But as a comment on your "comment" some states include in their regs the restriction of hunting bears near a dump (did your friend check?). And, furthermore, some feel as if sitting in a tree stand, with a .300 mag over a carefully selected, prepared, and grown food plot is exactly the same, when hunting(?) deer. Think about that comparison as you lay your head down tonight.

If it's legal, then it's legal. Make sure you know, of what you speak.

March 3, 2009, 09:41 PM
davlandrum Hunting big cats with dogs was outlawed in WA at the same time baiting bears was. Now it's legal again, depending on where you are. Mostly the sheep raising areas of the state.

I don't think we have a bear problem in WA. At least not one from ending baiting. I'd guess habitat destruction/encroachment was a bigger problem.

Big Bill
March 3, 2009, 10:39 PM
But, the challenge doesn't seem like much, to me anyway.Try it sometime. Maybe you'll change your mind when you realize black bears can climb and you're only 20' off the ground.

Inhuman ,no,but sportsmanlike, no.Ah! But, sitting in a permanent deer blind on a deer farm in (insert name of state), where they know every stat about all their fenced-in deer is sportsmanlike? Give me a break!

March 3, 2009, 11:16 PM
I'm not the one who made the statement, it came from opponents of bear baiting here in Maine. They didn't define anything, just made the blanket statement that bear baiting is inhumane.

If you can't prove it since it's a "subjective concept" then just try to convince me it's inhumane.

March 3, 2009, 11:21 PM
Buzzcook.. I just about said "we don't have a bear problem eh..." but then you nailed it at the end. Every year in Maple Valley there seems to be more and more bear "trouble" but it's probably mostly due to the population exploding.

What was a forested hill 7 years ago now has 3000 houses on it and (no offense) yuppie gals screamin' about the cougars and bears in the back yard.

I moved out here 8 years ago and was happy to see eagles and deer in my neighborhood and would like to see a bear or cougar, but would prefer to be armed. Then there are those who have tried to bring the city out with them.... Maybe I'm different because I grew up in a small town (pop 500).

In any case, I haven't heard of anything terrible happening but it often makes the news in Seattle and the trails here have cat and bear warnings.

March 4, 2009, 02:21 AM
They are also the ones that don't want me to run cats with my dog or trap. I get tired of people that don't even live in my state trying to tell me what to do. Now they want to introduce wolves, ever watched a canine kill a deer I have and its not humane but it is survival and I plan on surviving and running cats and shooting coyotes and hunting deer, bear, patridge and whatever else is legal because I can. And you can take that to the bank, if any of them survive.

March 4, 2009, 07:29 AM
Try it sometime

I've tried about every kind of hunting there is. Even grizzlys over a dead Elk gut pile with a bow. Back when you could still get a tag in MT. for $250. I got about 30 yards on a big boar and decided I wasn't Fred Bear.:)
So, I'm not impressed by any hazard from a black bear when I have a big rifle and he has to climb 20 feet to get to me. If I can't handle that I deserve to be eaten.

March 4, 2009, 11:29 AM
We have bated in Colorado and they use to come around quite well.
Hope that wasn't recently as baiting isn't legal in CO anymore. The only bear I've ever got was spot and stalk, but more like spot and shoot. Wasn't any real way to put a stalk on him to get closer than 200 yards.

I really don't see baiting as unethical and it surely isn't inhumane. How many bears get to eat before one is actually shot?

March 4, 2009, 11:55 AM
Hope that wasn't recently as baiting isn't legal in CO anymore.
No Sir, it's been a spell!! Use to live in Loveland and work for Coors.

Be Safe !!!

March 4, 2009, 12:11 PM
Inhumane? Hardly!! Since when is feeding animals inhumane? Where does that put the little old ladies in the park feeding ducks and pigeons? OK, you feed them to shoot them, but you don't shoot every bear that comes to the bait. I don't believe in baiting, but I also don't believe in forcing my opinions onto others. It's legal, so it's OK. I also don't believe in investing my retirement funds in the stock market, but it's legal. Just not my thing.

March 4, 2009, 04:02 PM
In my province its illegal..I like to think since I can get a black bear with out baiting that makes me feel better about my hunting abiltities. I dont think its fair but thats just cause its obvoiusly illegal and frowned upon in british columbia..BUT perhaps if I had the oppertunity to try it some where legal I would have a different perspective. In gernal alot of worse things could be done. I would be more mad to hear someone leaving their game in the bush after shooting it (just for the rush.pleasure. and not gettin the meat etc after) than if I herd some one was baiting, which I think we can all agree on. BUT haha I do find that it looks trashy and un professionl when you see the big barrels full of what ever they have in hunting videos!

March 4, 2009, 05:15 PM
Perfectly humane... as humane as any method and perhaps more so because of the short ranges and time it provides the shooter.

And there may be good reason to hunt over bait, depending on the area. Locations where bears exhibit the potential to become habituated to trash, crops or livestock, and are in the near presence of people would be one example where bears responding to bait sets should be culled. Also, in other areas where wildlife managers would not expect to reach harvest goals because of cover and distribution but deem it necessary to improve hunter success.

It's not the purist form of the hunt and wouldn’t be for everybody, but it's certainly not inhumane.

March 4, 2009, 05:22 PM
I also don't believe in investing my retirement funds in the stock market, but it's legal. Just not my thing.

a very wise man

March 4, 2009, 05:30 PM
I also don't believe in investing my retirement funds in the stock market, but it's legal. Just not my thing.

hehehe... I hear ya, Scorch. I've been through too many market whipsaws to "invest," but I "trade" regularly. It only took me ALL DAY to scalp a whopping 31 bucks after commissions, but that's almost 2 boxes of .223 I didn't have when I woke up. So, "Boooo-Yah!" Call me Mr. Wall Street! :rolleyes:

March 4, 2009, 05:32 PM
Buzz and Inspector -

I do not dispute habitat infringement is an issue. But I also know some coastal communities with little, if any, growth, that have increased "interaction".

I have also encountered significantly more bears in the last few years in wilderness areas while hunting.

There are obviously many factors in population growth, and I over-simplified by implying that the change in hunting regs was the only one. I do, however, firmly believe it is ONE of the big reasons.

Art Eatman
March 4, 2009, 07:03 PM
Personal opinion, but I think the anti-bait crowd is using the word "inhumane" where some of us might prefer "unethical" or "immoral" instead.

I don't see any difference at all between baiting for bear and baiting for deer. Or fish. :D I don't like to hunt over bait, because I don't like to sit and wait. But I know places where the physical situation for landform and vegetation precludes any other method. Ergo, I'm uninterested in the arguments.

Big Bill
March 4, 2009, 07:25 PM
If you can't prove it since it's a "subjective concept" then just try to convince me it's inhumane.I'm not going to try and convince you that it's inhumane, because IMO, it isn't. How's that for subjectivity? :cool:

March 4, 2009, 10:48 PM

I would love to go bear hunting sometime so don't think I was hugging trees... There's plenty around my area that hug bark and they don't need my help. I also love seeing animals in the wild when I'm not armed as I'm sure most do. I was working more towards the point that they want to move out here and then they whine.

There may well be an increase in population with all of the restrictions on hunting here. In fact, most bear trouble I hear about happens in areas where you would be ticketed for shooting a .22, much less something more effective for bear. I also see more coyotes than I did 20+ years ago.

It seems that the city folks move out and bring their fear of guns. Then the population density contributes to make safe shooting areas more scarce. The laws get changed and then they tremble when a big blackie is in their yard (My wife and I would be looking out the window and taking pictures and as long as it wasn't causing too much destruction I'd leave it alone.) Some of these restrictions are due to irresponsible shooters, but I think that's mostly an excuse to crack down.

March 4, 2009, 11:31 PM
My question is, how can it be considered inhumane?
There will never be a consensus on what is humane when it comes to killing any animal in a hunting situation. What I consider to be compassionate would be considered barbaric to someone who is an anti-hunter. We just have to accept the fact that we will never dance to the same beat and not antagonize them.
I so not hunt bear, but I always say, "God Bless the Bear Hunter's" If we take away baiting we will bear the results of less bear harvested and have no one to blame but ourselves.
Just be thankful you don't have a preserve close to you like there is outside of Orr MN.
//www.americanbear.org/sanctuary/bear-sanctuary.html (http://www.americanbear.org/sanctuary/bear-sanctuary.html)

This group controls hundreds of bear in northern MN.
some will claim that a bear may range over 50 sq. miles in its home range.
This sanctuary is about 40 miles away.
Hunters and bear preservationists do not get along very well in that area.

roy reali
March 4, 2009, 11:49 PM
Is it humane to hunt larger game, bear or boar, with dogs? That question always stirs up lively debates.

March 5, 2009, 12:38 AM
Simply put if we want any hunting in the future you better be willing to stand up an fight for any legal form of hunting today, cause if baiting ,hounds ,trapping, go the way of the Dodo bird guess who's in the antis sights next.Alex

March 8, 2009, 06:48 PM
davlandrum: you could prove your case if Oregon keeps records of bear harvests from before the change in regs to after. If there is a significant drop in bear harvest after baiting was made illegal then your point would much more likely.

Big Bill
March 8, 2009, 08:14 PM
Is it humane to hunt larger game, bear or boar, with dogs? That question always stirs up lively debates.That would be fodder for another thread. :rolleyes:

March 8, 2009, 08:36 PM
I hate it when people want to treat animals like humans. Of course it is inhumane, you are shooting an animal that is not threatening you. It is not ethical to do that to a human.

I plan on hunting deer over bait in the future. I am not doing it for a trophy or to validate anything. I like venison and I don't want to waste a lot of time looking for a deer.

If I went on a trophy hunt I would not want to shoot over bait.

James R. Burke
March 10, 2009, 03:42 PM
In Michigan there are a few differnt seasons. The first one you can stand hunt only or track etc. The rest of them you can run them with dogs, and that is what most people due. I have never ran a bear with a dog so I guess I have no experince with that. Run the bear with a pack of dogs till it is in a tree on cornered then shoot it. Is that inhumane? I cant even answer that because I know there is a big topic on the way people hunt or even for that matter what is inhumane or not. I have hunted bear over bait, and got one that way. I am sure lots of people think that is inhumane. It is pretty hard just to walk up to a bear were I live, and just shoot it. I guess thats why you never see them bird hunting etc. I think the most important part is how do you feel about the way you hunt. Is it legal, and I think the most important part is that you will only take a shot with good placement or pass on it. Not taking a shot on anything you are hunting because you can not get good placement or are unsure for whatever reason makes a good sportsperson in my opion.

Tom Matiska
March 11, 2009, 12:27 PM
Bait give the hunter an extended opportunity to sort out the boars and sows, and reduces the chance of indirectly killing cubs still dependant on mom. Bait offer the greatest chance of a clean single shot kill and the least chance of tracking and possibly losing a wounded animal.

Most humane and ethical in my book.

March 11, 2009, 02:47 PM
Buzz - I will try and ferret out the statistics.

March 11, 2009, 02:59 PM
http://http://crab.informe.org/ifw/wildlife/species/bear/bearsummaryofsurveys.pdf (http://crab.informe.org/ifw/wildlife/species/bear/bearsummaryofsurveys.pdf)

Here is a study put together by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that compares info on states that have restricted bear hunting methods.

According to ODFW, despite longer seasons and more hunters purchasing tags, harvest rates in Oregon are down 19%. Average number of hunters went from 17,000 pre-ban (1994) to 33,000 average of 1998-2000, but actual number of harvested bears is still under pre-ban levels.

March 11, 2009, 04:20 PM
Main Entry: HUMANE

\hyü-ˈmān, yü-\
Middle English humain
circa 1500

1 : marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals 2 : characterized by or tending to broad humanistic culture : humanistic <humane

Now that says we are only bound to attempt a clean kill to be "HUMANE"...
Intentionally shooting a critter in the butt to watch it do doughnuts bitting at the burning wound is inhumane IMHO!

March 11, 2009, 05:09 PM
Thanks for the link David.

After my last post I did a quick search but didn't find anything specific. I did find this pdf http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/publications/01pubs/01-89.pdf that mentions a decrease after initiative 655 passed in 1995. They don't give a detailed account of the effect of I655 on the bear population to date.

What they do talk about is protecting private and state trees from damage by bears. That because lethal measures aren't as "popular" that the alternative is to set up feeding stations in the forest in order to lure bears away from tree farms. There are, as of 1999, 900 feeding stations in Western Washington.

As I mentioned above, restrictions on big cat hunting has been partially reduced. I don't know if the same is true of bear hunting. Currently there is a two bear limit and and a three month season on bears iirc. I'm not a bear hunter so I don't know if that's a change from 1995.

After reading the link you gave I see that there needs to be more information. That's pretty much always the case when you're working anything that's not addition.
The difference between how Oregon and Washington dealt with their initiatives is fairly revealing. The Washington State Harvest is up slightly and the population is steady or increasing somewhat.
The increase in nuisance bear complaints is related to improved reporting of nuisance complaints and increasing human densities.

Oregon, on the other hand has had a reduction in harvest of 19% But they also say the population is steady or increasing. The public perceives that the bear population has exploded, and human safety is a big concern. However, data indicate the population is stable to increasing, but OF&W does not have adequate techniques for estimating bear population numbers.
Oregon has also increased bag limit (4 bears in Western Oregon) and lengthened the hunting season. They also have an in the act of predation law that allows property owners to shoot nuisance bears. That probably predates the baiting ban, but I don't know for sure.
But the kicker is that Oregon fish and game attributes the increase in nuisance reports to increased awareness as Washington does.
OF&W attributes the increase in nuisance complaints to increased awareness of bears and bear conflicts as a result of the referendum. Complaints are highest in years when natural foods are low. Nuisance bear complaints are related to concerns for human safety (increased from 0 to 20 complaints) and damage to timber or agriculture. Property owners are allowed to shoot or trap a bear if it is causing a conflict. In 1999, 269 bears involved in nuisance activities were destroyed.

They don't give specific pre and post ban harvest numbers as Washington does. So we don't know what that 19% decrease means. Is the 269 number of nuisance bears destroyed an increase from before the ban? Would that explain the reports that the bear population is stable?

It is completely reasonable to link an increase in bear encounters with an increased bear population. From what you've supplied it sure looks like Oregon should have a larger bear population. But our friends at Oregon fish and wildlife are dropping the ball on meaningful population studies.
It looks like a case of asking questions just generates more questions.

Dallas Jack
March 12, 2009, 12:43 AM
Inhumane, maybe maybe not. Shooting an animal in the vitals will get you a kill with minimal suffering to the animal. A shot to the gut, a slow painful death ego inhumane. Baiting has nothing to do with the humanity of the kill.

Sporting? I see no difference sitting over a bait than sitting in a duck blind blowing on a call and watching your decoys. Or sitting in a woodline watching for coyotes with your caller going.

There are many different types of terrain and each has it's own obstacles. Hunting or shooting call it what you like. Just do it and enjoy it and do not worry what another thinks.

Personally, I draw the line at shooting penned animals or shooting on small high fence ranches.
Dallas Jack

March 12, 2009, 07:53 AM
I didn't anticipate this many responses to my question. It's awesome to see so many views that coincide with mine.

A couple of people have expounded on my original question in ways that made me think I could have been a tad more specific but it seems to have worked out well in the end.

A couple of posts went out on tangents in at least part of the post. Such as, hunting over dogs and within enclosed areas. These, too, are under attack by non or anti hunting individuals. There again, they tend to use terms such as "inhumane" or "cruel". I'm not a big fan of hunting over dogs for big game nor am I a big fan of hunting the so called "game preserves". That being said, I find them neither inhumane or cruel in my own personal opinion. I can say the same about baiting.

The one thing that seems to hold true through many of the posts is the idea that we have to stand together on these subjects. Each time the anti-hunting crowd finds a particular style of hunting they think the can raise a stink about that makes that style seem unethical, inhumane, cruel or dangerous they are garnering more support amongst the general public who do not hunt or enjoy the outdoors in the same way we do. I think we all need to keep a united front, not necessarily "against" the anti's rather, a united front in support of the particular method being attacked. Point out, in the same way we have here, the reasons it is more humane, more ethical and less cruel in appearance than depicted by the other side.

Good hunting and good shooting.

March 12, 2009, 10:34 AM

I thought the most telling sentence was: OF&W does not have adequate techniques for estimating bear population numbers.

So, basically, they admit they have no way of knowing what impact any of this has.

Better data would also be interesting comparing western Oregon/Washington populations to eastern, but that requires actual data. If I had to venture a guess, the ban would have had increased impact on the west side, but who knows.

Good hunting!

March 12, 2009, 12:07 PM
David the article you linked to does seem to indicate that there was a greater increase in Western Oregon. That's why the bag limit there is four bears while Eastern Oregon is two bears. They say that hunting bears is easier on the East side than the West, so that might also explain the different limits.

One thing I have learned is that the web sites for WFW and OFW pretty much have sucky search functions