Michigan Considering Banning Chocolate as Bait

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In 2010 Michigan documented a case of a black bear cub dying from chocolate poisoning presumably obtained from bait stations. Because of the potential hazard to bears, the DNR is considering banning the use of chocolate in bear bait entirely. However, according to Mlive.com, the possible ban is meeting resistance from some hunting groups in the Great Lakes State.

Phil Hewitt, president of the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, said his group believes more research is necessary before a complete, statewide ban is imposed. The MBHA will work this year to educate bear hunters about the toxicity of chocolate to all wildlife — especially the more potent baker’s and semi-sweet varieties, he said. “There is no justification for putting something out that will kill bear,” Hewitt said. “But it’s not a chocolate doughnut that’s doing it … it’s the bitter sweet, it’s baker’s chocolate.”


Ca_Vermonster's picture

I've always known about this

I've always known about this with dogs, but never thought about other wildlife.

I guess as Hunter said, if it's proven to be "poisen", then they should move on and find something else to feed them.  I guess those day old chocolate doughnuts will be off limits, huh? lol


hunter25's picture

I'm not really sure how to go

I'm not really sure how to go on this one. If something amounts to poison then it should not be used, but with one case ever it does not sound like that is the case and I agree it needs more review on possibly just the type of chocolate or the form it's delivered in.

Looks like the U.P. has a pretty good bear population although there seems to de some disagreement over that also in the article. I had looked at the deer hunting a lot back there in my home state but had not really considered the bear hunting. Maybe that is something else I will have to check out.'

Thanks for the update.

jaybe's picture

Yeah - the first time I heard

Yeah - the first time I heard about this a while back, I really didn't take it too seriously. I've done a little reading on the subject and it seems that chocolate poisoning occurs in dogs occasionally when owners feed it to them as a treat. I also discovered that it is only the dark chocolate, like is used for baking that contains enough of the chemicals to be toxic, and even then, many animals are not affected unless they have some sort of heart condition.

This article said that Michigan hunters have been using chocolate for a long time, and this is the first known case of an animal dying from it. I assume this may have happened for two reasons (1) it was a bear cub that has a small body compared to a grown bear, and (2) it may have (just speculation) a heart problem to begin with.

I hate to see them ban all chocolate, because many hunters pick up stale donuts from bakeries and stores to use for bait, and I can see some guy getting arrested just because one of his donuts had a few chocolate sprinkles on it.