Monday, 24 July 2017

Baiting Bears for hunting and the impact on populations

We seem to have an increase in bear populations in our region. It's highly unusual (lo, these 7 years here) to see a bear beyond May. The young 'uns resettle in new territory, leaving momma with the new litter. The young 'uns learn to avoid diurnal humans, and scootch about in the night, or early hours. Bear baiting, deer baiting and bird feeders have an impact on wildlife populations.

In this case, they found that the Wisconsin bears were surviving and thriving and 40% of their food sources were humans: bear and deer baiting. Sadly, the bear population is becoming more dense, and hunters are not always utilising healthy choices. Some bears had been consuming high-sugar foods, like cookies, donuts and candies. This is not a good thing.
What an interesting study! I like reading pure research. This was amazing. They studied the food that bears eat by analysing their fur and bones, contributed by hunters in Northern Wisconsin. There are 30 states that permit bear hunting. Twelve of these states allow hunters to bait their hunting grounds prior to the opening of hunting season.
Baiting exists in Canada, as well.

Of course, any food you put out for any critters will be exploited by all the critters, from small rodents, to large bears. Some unethical photographers bait owls in order to assure a great photo.

Ontario permits bear hunting, as well as bear baiting: Bear Baiting OFAH Regs. (PDF)
New black bear hunting regulations in Ontario

Coyote Watch Canada
 points out that feeding wildlife isn't a right. Feeding animals isn't a privilege. It is time to rethink the behaviour of humans to respond to the human/wildlife conflicts that result from such food hand outs. Conflicts don't just mean human injuries, or deaths, it also means habituating animals to human food sources, scents, or calls. People who bait, lure and attract animals for selfish needs (be they photographers, film-makers, researchers, residents, nature nuts) all contribute to this habituation. All those sweet owl videos, or wild animals living with humans, can have fatal mistakes.
Coyote Watch Canada Please help wildlife stay wild and wary of people by not feeding them or drawing them into an area. What you do today, impacts other beings tomorrow; both human and non-human. 

I made the mistake of putting the bird feeder back outside! I hadn't seen a bear in a month.  The big feeder (left) was empty. I haven't seen him since then. No food source, no bear.

Canadian Black-Bear Baiting Investigation | PETA
Every year, tens of thousands of black bears in North America are killed by an indefensible practice called ...

Then there are those hunting them with drones.

We found that hunter-deployed bear baits were highly available on public lands in northern Wisconsin, USA and that baits contributed to >40% of harvested black bear diets, not only in the year of their harvest but throughout their lifetimes.We postulate that this subsidization is contributing to the high bear population density in the state, and we recommend management actions to limit the availability of this highly caloric and novel food resource on the landscape.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, cool shots of the bears. I am against any kind of hunting unless it is deer during the deer season. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Anvilcloud said...

It's a problem and a bit of a dilemma, I guess.

Crafty Green Poet said...

It's good that the bears seem to be increasing in number. Like Eileen I;m against hunting,

Red said...

Our population has become too dense and it's unsafe to hunt. Unfortunately for bears they can be a serious nuisance and get into trouble.

William Kendall said...

It is best to stop feeding the birds entirely by mid-April, and hold off until after the bears and raccoons have gone into hibernation.