5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 10/20/2008
Posts: 3

Hey all, I'm a long time bird hunter, never hunted big game. I do know it's a hell of a lot of work and prep to go out and get yourself a bear, as a few friends of mine have been lucky enough to get one either through archery or rifle.

I came here for one reason though, and it wasn't to offend anyone. It was to ask a simple question:

How does anyone justify bear baiting and still call it hunting? Where's the sport in it?

As I said, I'm not here to piss anyone off. I'm not some animal activist. I just want to know where the satisfaction is in baiting a critter with food in the same place for weeks, and then popping it and calling it "hunting"? It doesn't make sense to me.

Help me out here guys, there's got to be something I'm missing.

Thanks, and shoot straight!


Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 363

Hunting methods vary by region and terrain. In the heavily forested regions, spot and stalk hunting of bears is not feasible, as it is in the more open west.
Watching over food sources such as an orchard or berry patch are equally unproductive! Wildlife Agencies could not control populations if hunting is restricted to these methods. Pennsyvlania prohibits baiting and most bears are killed during hunting drives. Dog hunting of bears, where legal, is effective but few bear hunters have bear dogs. This leaves baiting as the most effective hunting method in heavily forested regions. You seem to be under the misapprehension that baiting is like shooting fish in a barrel. NOT SO!!! Bears are not stupid and getting a shooter bear to come into a bait during shooting hours can be difficult! I have sat a bait that was being heavily hit, for over a week before seeing a bear. A friend of mine just this season sat a bait for eleven days without seeing a bear, although the bait was being cleaned out every night. One advantage of baiting is the chance to evaluate the bears before shooting to avoid killing a sow with cubs or a small bear. Here in Michigan it used to be legal to kill a bear on your gun deer license and most bears were chance kills during deer season. Now that there is a seperate bear season not connected to gun deer season, almost all bears are killed over bait or dogs and the population is still growing and expanding in range.

Joined: 10/16/2007
Posts: 62


love bird hunting myself. Have you ever hunted over a great brace of dogs? Nothing quite like it. Sure makes finding birds easier and many might even say, "too easy, where the sport in that?"

It seems to me your logic about bear baiting brought you to the point of it being an easy shot. If you hunt a farmers field, food source, and shoot a quail how is that any different?

You ask how does a person justify it and call it hunting? The person doesn't have to make this decision, because Game & Fish that manages the wildlife resources put regulations in place to determine what methods of hunting bears are legal to manage the population. As a hunter, of the methods allowed you get to choose which method aligns with your own personal hunting ethics.

Baiting has a higher success rate than other methods of hunting but it does not guarantee success. There are bears in my state, but if I put out a bait barrel on my land there wont be any bears eating from it. There arent any bears here. You have to scout and look for bears even if you plan to bait.

You also need to bait your location on a regular basis and that means walking into a "kill site," thats the way bears view it, and load it up again. Much of the time you're baiting is not during the hunting season, so you need to be able to defend yourself without killing a bear illegally. It is this interaction with the bears that is as much hunting as any other method. Baiting by no means has tamed the bear or means the bear now tolerates your presence. If a bear spots you in your stand it will not come in.

Also keep in mind that not every bear that eats from a bait site is shot. Baiting allows for better animal identification, ethical kill shots, and an opportunity to assess the health of the bear population using the site.

I won't be able to convince you that baiting is hunting, but it is no easier a shot than shooting a pheasant over a brace of good dogs. Both enjoyable experiences away from Democrats and Republicans promising to make your life better.

Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1572

Welcome to BGH bighunter
I no longer hunt bear, in fact I now say " Hammer1 and the bear now live in peace" but it wasn't always that way.
I see what you are eluding to but simply because You or I don't partake in a certain endeavor, doesn't mean that it is distasteful. For example,I shot many,many moose simply by calling them in and shooting them. Still do, but to some that might be totally unacceptable. To them I say : Take back your heart, I ordered liver : Cry
Once again, Enjoy your stay, we are made up of just about every persuasion and opinion possibly known to man/woman. That's what makes us # 1 Thumbs up
It never hurts( this is for everyone) to end with a lol Big smile etc. I am going to start that practice now Big smile

Joined: 10/20/2008
Posts: 3

Thanks for the replies, guys. This is what I came here for: To get an educated response from folks who have been out there and done it.

I guess I didn't give the bears enough credit, for starters. I figured a baited bear that has learned that "this is where the steady supply of good food is" would return to that spot time after time and not worry about human scent or a stand etc. This is where I had the (incorrect) idea that it's "easy pickins" for the hunter.

I think the difference I had in my mind was the "active hunting/stalking" style of hunting and the more sedentary "lay out some food and let 'em come to you". To an ignorant person like myself who had never done the latter, it seemed that the second method was easy pickins.

I never thought about the animal identification/population health aspect, to be honest. For a hunter to be able to see that a bear is a sow with cubs and lay off the shot--that's what ethical hunting is about IMO. Same way I try to avoid shooting hen mallards--it's legal sure, but if everyone did it it would be pretty hard on the population.

Consider me humbled, educated and more respectful of the baiting aspect of bear hunting. Thanks fellas.

Good luck with your hunts.

PS. syndeis, your political comment had me laughing out loud. A big reason I do hunt is to get away from all the crap of real life, especially politics! Well said!

Joined: 10/20/2008
Posts: 3

Good point, Hammer. I've called in plenty of geese in my time, right into my lap, and bagged em. I never thought it was easy, and if someone said so I'd tell them how many geese flared early and never gave me a shot. I suppose this is not much different.

Cheers! Thumbs up

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