Online Bear Baiting Clinic
History of Bear Baiting in Alaska
Prior to 1982: Bear baiting not regulated
1982 – 1986: Bear baiting permit required but new regulations were loosely interpreted and not consistently enforced
1987: Alaska Board of Game added restriction on receiving money or bartering for the use of baiting station
1988: Registration requirements added; limit of two bait stations per hunter; season shortened to April 15 – June 15; baiting eliminated in Game Management Unit 14C
1992: Minimum age of 16 to register a bear bait station
1996: Meat salvage education clinic required
2004: Ballot initiative to ban bear baiting fails in Alaska (46% "for" and 54% "against")
2017: Board of Game changed the minimum age from 16 to 18 to register a bear bait station to coordinate with the legislature's action of requiring a hunting license at the minimum age of 18
The Importance of Bear Baiting Clinics
Bear baiting is prohibited in many states. It is vital for bear baiters in Alaska to understand the potential effects of their actions, including on people’s overall perceptions of hunters and hunting. As in other states, active hunters are just a small percentage of the total population in Alaska. Equally important is the fact that even though the bulk of our population is not against hunting, a substantial percentage of Alaskan hunters do not support bear baiting. Besides mentioning food-conditioning and safety issues, some cite the lack of adherence to "fair chase" tenets as a reason for their lack of support.
Bear baiting clinics are designed to help you understand these issues and hunt safely and effectively if you plan to hunt black bears over bait. As with all types of hunting, it is critical for you to understand the regulations as they pertain to your selected game management units (GMUs). Know the laws and be a responsible, ethical bear baiter. Be sensitive to other user groups in Alaska's backcountry and minimize any adverse effects of bear baiting activities on other outdoor users.
Some strong arguments for fully understanding bear baiting requirements are:
- Bear baiting provides harvest opportunity for bears in forested areas where other methods of hunting are not very effective.
- Potential for selectivity: Bear baiters have the opportunity to view numerous animals and select larger bears, targeting males and avoiding females if they choose.
- Better shot placement opportunity: A properly set up bait station will give the hunter plenty of opportunity for a lethal shot into the vitals, resulting in clean/efficient kills.
- Bear baiters spend hours in the stand and have the opportunity to observe and learn bear behavior. It is a great time to connect with nature and observe a wide variety of activities and animal behaviors in the woods.
- Ethical, responsible, and legal conduct helps ensure that bear baiting opportunities continue to be made available in Alaska.