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Thread: Bear Baiting, What's the real story??

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    Default Bear Baiting, What's the real story??

    A few years ago I was approached to sign a petition to get a bill banning baiting bears on the ballot. I didn't sign it because like a good outdoorsmen I wasn't going to try and limit hunting techniques that I didn't know anything about. While reading stories on here and on the campfire I see a lot of pros and cons to baiting. It seems really effective(pro). But also as I read one story about a mob of hungry brown bears it seems a bit more dangerous(con). Maybe dangerous isn't the word, but it seems to excite the bears enough to invite disaster. Mostly what I want to know is I guess both sides of the argument. How do you regulate or prevent an unknown hiker or other hunter from accidentally walking into your bait and dealing with hungry bears? What are the ups and downs of baiting bears? It seemed to me the only reason the people wanted to ban baiting was it is a really effective means of hunting bears and they were trying to stop it. So if you could enlighten me that would be great.
    AK Boater

  2. #2

    Default Pros and cons

    I'll start and hopefully others will add anything that I leave out. For me these are the main reasons I bait:

    1. In the interior there is really no other way of hunting black bears other than bait. It is heavily forested and without baiting, I could only guess that black bear harvest would drop drastically.

    2. Baiting allows me to look at a lot of bears. I can check for rubs, size, sex, to see if there are cubs.

    3. Baiting allows me to bring new people to hunting along and to enjoy watching the bears. I spend more time in the field watching them then I do hunting them.

    4. Allows me to bring my kids along (4 years old was the youngest) and allows them a chance at harvesting a bear. It gives the kid time to watch the bear and to make a good shot.

    5. Baiting obviously gives the bears a HUGE boost of protein coming out of hibernation.

    6. Baiting allows us hunters a way to selectively take out the larger bears that are probably the ones that kill moose kills. It is a very effective predator control method.

    7. Gives you the opportunity to spend QUALITY time with family and friends and enjoying the outdoors in the wonder state we live in!

    I had the opportunity to help 2 people shoot their first bears every this year off of bait. It was more rewarding to me to not be the shooter and to be able to see the excitement they have. Awesome, awesome time baiting.

    CONS:

    Probably the biggest con to me is the cost and time. Baiting isn't just dumping some garbage in the field. It is very time consuming and costly to do.

    I have never had an incident with hungry bears being a threat. They can be ornery sometimes and sometimes ever down right bold, but I've never been charged once. I have seen 200-300 bears and hadn't had to shoot any that I didn't want.

    Baiting is an enjoyable thing to do. I can understand if people don't choose to do it, but for me it is the ONLY way to effectively hunt black bears in the area I live.

  3. #3
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    Default Northway

    Northway said it well. It also allows one to take their time before shooting to determine if the bear is in fact a sow with cubs.

    It does take a lot of time and expense. Then on the last day of the season you have to make one more tip to clean everything up.

    I also like to video tape. Baiting allow me to not only tape bears, but martins, jays, and all sorts of animals.

    It may be a little more dangerous for archers. Trying to carry a bow and get a firearm to function quickly could be a concern. But in four years, I have never really been worried except year one. Where I walked into three bears on the same bait. But it was a rush!

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    George-
    I just bumped a post that has a very good biological rationale for baiting. It was written by a southcentral biologist, but most of the reasoning applies to the entire state.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...910#post105910

    --Mike
    eta:
    +1 on Northway's post.

    Are you referring to Mark's post on the 24 hourcampfire? I'm thinking there was more to that than just hunger. Probably some breeding/prebreeding behavior as well as behavioral effects of 8 brown bears concentrated in one area, IMO.
    Last edited by Kenaimike; 05-25-2007 at 10:09.

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    +2 for Northway. Allowing you to take a good look at the bears will prevent a lot of problems, taking a small, rubbed bear or a sow with cubs will be prevented. I know people that mark the trails approaching their bait statins warning of possible bear activity. Of course that also invites some problems but better safe then not.

  6. #6
    Mark
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    Northway said it all except for one important factor:

    I bait because the anti-hunters don't want me to.

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    Thanks for the quick responses, yes I was refering to Marks post on the campfire. The reason I got curious was because one person commented that experiences like Mark's were the reason he quit baiting. It does seem like baiting is the way to go, and it sounds like a lot of fun.

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    Pros: Good way to havest meat, get your kids into hunting, shoot a really big bear, safest way to take a bear with a bow.

    Cons: Isn't really fair (In my opinon) to the bear, people who don't see the signs that say they are near a bait station could get in quite a bit of trouble

    Basically its like catching stocked trout IMO easy but a good way to see action
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Pros: Good way to havest meat, get your kids into hunting, shoot a really big bear, safest way to take a bear with a bow.

    Cons: Isn't really fair (In my opinon) to the bear, people who don't see the signs that say they are near a bait station could get in quite a bit of trouble

    Basically its like catching stocked trout IMO easy but a good way to see action
    I'm going to choose to believe that you aren't trying to start anything here, and I'll try to explain why bear baiting isn't in any way like catching stocked trout. Is deer hunting in the states "fair"? Deer in many states are baited all year long, and are provided food plots, with extra minerals to grow larger antlers. Is that really fair? Is that in any way natural? I haven't heard of anyone being attacked at a bait station, hunters or not. My dad and I have our moose camp about 100 yards from our bear stand, and have never had bear troubles. Although I know it happens, I have never had a bear stand up to me at a station. So far they've all taken off in the other direction. A person stumbling into my bait isn't really a concern, aside from the fact that no one would ever find my bait unless they knew where to look. Oh and didn't you say you've never hunting big game? How can you make judgements without actually baiting? I can't describe the thrill of having a bear within 20 yards of you. It's an amazing feeling, and an awsome sight. I think many people don't understand that you don't have to shoot every bear that comes into your bait. One of the points of baiting is that you have a chance to really judge bears, and to hopefully take a mature animal. Most of the time spot and stalk just doesn't give you this. Yeah you can judge bears when spot and stalking, but not in the same way you can while baiting. I'll stop for now on my rant, because I'm sure other people will have something to say. But do me a favor, and never compare baiting with catching stocked trout again on this forum. Thats what anti's say, and you're only adding fuel to the fire. -Eric

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    In some places it's the only way to consistantly harvest black bears because of the habitat. Fairbanks for example has very few places that a person can spot and stalk black bears, but has a good black bear population. I would rather hunt black bears spot and stalk any day, but for me to do that, I have to drive several hours. I cant do that after work or for a couple hours one day. I would rather hunt over a bait than not hunt at all. Plus its alot of fun watching bears up close and personal. I wouldn't at all call it dangerous. Occasionally you have a bear that is aggresive and comes up the stand, but 500 bait stations each year around the interior Alaska and I have never heard of anybody getting killed or even injured. More people fall out of tree stands than get attack by bears at a bait.

    Powder Monkey
    Wild trout aren't hard to catch either (my opinion).

  11. #11
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by lab man View Post
    ....I think many people don't understand that you don't have to shoot every bear that comes into your bait.....
    I hunt bear every spring, yet haven't shot one in years.

    I just spend hundreds of dollars in gas hunting bear in PWS, saw at least 6 different bears, put a successful stalk on two, but didn't shoot. They weren't the ones I wanted.

    I'm picky.

    I also have an active bait station out there. I sat on it only once so far this spring, and since I didn't find a big one in PWS, I'll sit on it again next weekend (I'm supposed to be tilling and preparing Mrs. Mark's garden this weekend).

  12. #12
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyH View Post
    ....Wild trout aren't hard to catch either (my opinion).
    Unless you do it with your hands only.

    Maybe that's what some need in order to understand; have their passion outlawed or regulated into oblivion.

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    Hey have fun baiting its just not my cup of tea (just like baiting for deer, ducks or fish). I compare baiting to catching stocked trout because they are both good ways to obtain meat and teach young hunter/ fishermen. If I needed meat / mittens (rugs or whatever) I would totally bait but I don't need to kill a bear so I will make it harder on myself for fun.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    I believe that the moose populations are so good around Fairbanks because of all the wolf trappers and bear baiters. With out them, there would be no moose, especially with all the hunting pressure. Look at the Yukon Flats for example. There is a huge area full of prime moose habitat and the willows are dying of old age. There are hardly any wolf trappers and/or bear hunters. The number of black bears killed around fairbanks would be less than 30 per year without baiting.


    I once got in an argument with an avid duck hunter that was complaining about bear baiting and how he thought it was unfair. Apparently luring ducks in with decoys is different somehow. I guess I dont see how.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyH View Post

    I once got in an argument with an avid duck hunter that was complaining about bear baiting and how he thought it was unfair. Apparently luring ducks in with decoys is different somehow. I guess I dont see how.
    Hey if they mistake a couple dozen plastic motionless duck like things for other ducks your only doing them a favor How are baiting and decoys different? Going back to fishing anologies, whats catches more fish, a salmon egg or a bead? THe answer is of course a salmon egg impaled by a hook because of the scent stimulus that attracts the fish, while the bead may look more like a recently spawned egg, may drift more like a recently spawned egg, the salmon eggs sitting on the bottom ARE real eggs. Basically if you can lure in black bears using rubber doughnuts then it would be like using decoys. There's the difference.


    I just wonder why there were any moose at all before europeans got here and killed all the bears and wolves Its also amazing that people can kill grizzlies/ caribou/ moose at all in the interior, I mean you cant bait those Seriously you don't need bait to kill blackies it just helps a lot. Have fun baiting but if you see me in a blackbear stand it will be on a well used black bear trail in an area I know that there are a lot of bears, and not over a 55 gallon drum of dog food. Have fun baiting as long as it doesn't affect me I'm totally cool with it, I'm sure its a blast just not my cup of tea.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member lab man's Avatar
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    AKPM, have you ever tried bear baiting?

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    Powder Monkey

    First of all, I'm talking about interior Alaska that is flat and wooded. There are not many caribou or grizzlies killed in this area. You're right, you could get a blackie with out baiting, but you couldn't do it consistantly or be selective. All the years that I've been hunting this country I have seen very few black bears in the flat wooded coutnry and it's usually only for a split second and usually young ones. If you get into the hills where you can glass, it's a different story.

    It's funny how the moose population in 20A is so good, yet you migrate ever so slightly to the south west into Denali park where you can't bear hunt or trap wolves and the moose and caribou populations are in the toilet. Tourists must be photographing them to death.

  18. #18

    Thumbs up Bear baiting

    I totally agree with Northway and Mark. Kudo's to both. Bear baiting is everything but easy. Hauling the bait, cleaning up after are chores not for the lazy or unfit.

    It is obvious Ak Powder Monkey has never done it, as what he said is what every single person I have talked to that don't like baiting have said. That is, before they tried it themselves. But, being as young as he is, he has a lot to learn. I give him credit for sticking to his beliefs on here, even though a bit off the mark.

    I have baited bears since 1985 (the first year I was a legal resident), and have never had a bad experience. Nor have I "just walked in and shot one" as some seem to think this is. If you are not on your toes, are not stealthy, are not woods-wise, you will never see a bear on a bait, let alone shoot one. However, they will see you, hear or smell you and believe me, they are hard to outfox. Of the literally hundreds of bears I have seen since then and the dozens I have taken or was with someone that took one, none were "like shooting fish in a barrel". Bears are VERY wary at the bait, and any misstep or sudden movement will send them off like a rocket. A bear can go from a dead standstill to full gallop faster than any animal I have ever seen. They are amazing to watch, and many, many time I have done just that. I am very selective anymore with what I shoot, as I am looking for one better than any I have taken already, but the thrill is just as great now as it was seeing my first bear in 1985 over a bait I made.

    I have taken many a non-hunter with me to get pictures or just see bears, and their excitement being up close and personal and seeing what most others miss in the woods is an experience worthy of itself. My own wife is a non-hunter, and hates to see a dead animal, let alone see me shoot one, but she absolutely loves going to a bear bait with me. Even doesn't mind the bugs if bears are present.

    If you have never done it, please don't judge it until you have. If then you still don't like it, I would gladly accept your critism, but not if you are just talking from what you "think" happens....... That's what foolish folks like PETA members do, and anything they say or do I am against.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    well said hawken

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    It's just really *****in' fun. Oh, yeah, and a bunch of work as well!

    Checked mine yesterday and my barrel was empty. 200 lbs. of dog food so far and other goodies been hauled to that bait.

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