South Carolina DNR: Feeding, Baiting Deer in Black Bear Range Not Wise

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

A recent study indicates that there may be as many as 800 bears in the coastal plain of South Carolina. Most of these coastal bears, about 500, are found in Horry, Georgetown, Marion, Williamsburg, Charleston, and Berkeley counties.

Baiting for deer is not prohibited in these counties and the last few years the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has noted an increase in the number of calls it receives from deer hunters complaining of bears eating their deer bait. There have even been reports of bears refusing to leave a "corn pile" when the deer hunter enters the area to hunt.

However, this is completely natural behavior on the part of bears according to Deanna Ruth, DNR's coastal bear biologist. Hunters should understand that bears, as well as, many species of wildlife are attracted to and will eat bait that is intended for deer. On the other hand, this problem can be easily solved and deer hunters who are concerned with bears eating their deer bait should either stop using bait for a minimum of two weeks or stop using bait altogether.

Bears roam their home range looking for food and under natural circumstances food sources are available in limited amounts and over a limited time frame. Bears that do not encounter the bait will no longer focus on the specific area where the bait is being placed. Additionally, in other states that allow baiting for deer, hunters have found that scattering the bait (primarily corn) over a wide area decreases bear visitations. Bears are intelligent, but lazy creatures. Deer will continue to visit the area and pick around to find the bait, whereas, bears will often lose interest and move on to other food sources.


Retired2hunt's picture

  Definitely agree that if


Definitely agree that if you use specific baits that also interest bears then you need to expect them to visit your bait pile if hunting in an area inhabited with a bear population.  The last paragraph of this article should be the advice hunters should follow.  Spreading your corn bait by dispersing the kernels in and over a large area will still bring the deer into your area to feed.  This also assists in not having a group of deer in one small bait pile area making it more difficult for shooting opportunities.

To have a black bear refuse to leave a bait pile is a sure sign that you need to change your baiting tactics.


numbnutz's picture

If your baiting any animal in

If your baiting any animal in bear country you need to expect a bear to come a feed. That is natural for a bear to smeel out food sources and eat them even more so this time of year as there fatting up for their winter slumber. For me I wouldn't even bother calling to complain to the DNR office. I really don't think there going to send out an officer to chase the bear away. It just goes with the territory. Out here where I'm from you can bait deer and elk but not bears or cats so if i choose to bait a deer and get a bear than i'm just out of luck and have to cut my loses. I couldn't even shoot the bear as it would be classified as baiting a bear eventhough that was not my intent.