September 26, 2020

With a Choice Between “Bait” and Acorns, Bears Will Choose Acorns

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Part of the argument the promoters of the anti bearing hunting referendum that will be before Maine voters in November is that baiting bears, to lure them into a shooting area, habituates bears to human conditions and trains bears to become reliant on man-provided food sources. Neither condition holds any merit.

The majority of those who oppose hunting bears, and in particular the use of bait, probably have never bear hunted or been involved with any kind of bear baiting stations. Therefore, one has to wonder where they gathered their information about bears. Nothing is more reliable for information than what comes from hunters and trappers with the experience and knowledge to completely understand the effort, tactics and strategies behind baiting bears.

In December of 2007, Bear Hunting Magazine published an article written by Bernie Barringer. This is what he had to say about baiting bears in competition with natural foods:

Where I live in Minnesota, the annual numbers of bears harvested can be directly linked to the quality and availability of the mast crop. And when we talk mast crop in Minnesota, we are primarily talking acorns and to a lesser extent hazelnuts.

Since there is no way to truly overcome the power of the acorn, we must simply be patient and wait it out. The bears will be back, we must just work hard to be ready for them.

As much as some would like to project their human emotions, i.e. their own lust for Dunkin’Donuts, candy, pastries and all junk food, it just is not a bear’s first choice in cuisine. So long as there is the presence of the natural food supply, the power of the acorn will spare the life of many bears who choose not to fill up on bait food.

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