Bait Station Q&A?
On a casual outing I spotted a black bear in the corner of my eye standing up in the air giving me the evil eye. I hit the shore and grabbed the rifle, 4x power set, flip caps open, but by that time the bear was gone. He didn't want any part of 200 grain 30 cal TSX. After I inespected the area the bear was feeding at a bait station. Dog food in a 55 gallon drum and molasses strewed the ground intising an all you can eat bear buffet. The bait station ingredients were no where near visible from my approach, and I only became aware of the bait when I climbed over the bank and reached the tree line walking towards the prior location of the bear. There were no bait station signs posted, but I thought, "maybe the bait station signs were accidentaly scented with molasses and ripped down by a gut hungry bear.
Bear prints swarmed the sand. Mostly black bear tracks imprinted the earth and the largest grizz track I have ever seen circled the station. I literally sunk my size 12 boot into the fresh track without the heal or toe touching the foremost tip or rearward part of the imprint. The adrenaline rush overwhelmed me with a traditional fight or flight reaction.
Unaware of the regulations concerning hunting around someone else's bear bait station I headed back for home. I played it safe. But there were no signs indicatating a legal bear bait station, and to top if off I was only a few miles from a highly populated fishery. Once I grabbed my rifle I was always conscience of which direction people might occupy. I'd rather decline a shot that could possibly harm other's spending their weekend with the family on a weekend warrior fishing trip than risk their life's. I wouldn't expect anything less from any other hunter in the area! And I didn't want to take a black bear near and illegal bait station, if that was the case.
So this bring me to my question. What if I did shoot this black bear in someone else's bait station (if it was a legal bait station)? Is there a designated distance I must shoot a black bear from a station to consider it within the regulations? I am hoping someone can shed light on this subject. I have been reading the regulations via PDF format and it's tough reading a digital copy. It's slow and mind numbing, if there is a section of the reg's that pertain to my situation I would appreciate a page number. Thanks.
If you have noe knowledge of the bait staion there isn't a problem with shooting a black bear. How could you know? You will get into trouble with grizzlys though. Shooting a griz that is kept in that area by bait is illegal. There aren't any requirements (at least not where I bait) for posting stations, so while it would stink to shoot someone elses bear, there could be no way of knowing. -Eric
It is not illegal to shoot a grizzly near someones bait station, if you can prove that you didnt know that the bait station exist and there are no ties to you and the bait station registeree. You could argue that one all day long with the troopers. If the bear is covered in grease you will definately have some esplaning to do, but your actions would not be criminal.