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Bait ban for bear hunting in Alaska

by News Room
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Thanks to a new law by the US National Park Service (NPS), the use of bait to attract and kill brown and black bears is prohibited in Alaska’s US National Parks. This is a step forward, but unfortunately other cruel hunting methods are not covered.

Bear hunting ban in Alaska | Photo (brown bear with cub): public domain

“Bear baiting” is a controversial hunting method in which bait, such as food or scented attractants, is used to lure bears to a specific location. Donuts, dog food and meat scraps are used, for example. This makes it easier for hunters to kill these helpless animals.

Bait ban for bear hunting in Alaska
Black bear | Photo: public domain

Dead in hibernation

The new measure banning baiting primarily promotes the safety of visitors in national parks and does not protect animals. The law does not apply to other cruel hunting methods. For example, black bears and their cubs are also killed in their dens during hibernation. Other animal species such as bears, coyotes and wolves continue to suffer needlessly as well. Wendy Keefover, wildlife conservation strategist at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), says:

“While we are pleased that harmful and dangerous bear baiting has ended on Alaska’s national preserves, the agency has put other drastic bear-killing measures in place. Such as hunting black bears, killing female black bears and their cubs while they sleep in hibernation dens, and slaughtering entire wolf and coyote families where the cubs are raised.

About 22 million of Alaska’s 54 million hectares of national parks have been managed as national protected areas, where fishing and hunting are allowed. Most hunters understand that cruel hunting and trapping methods are inhumane and unacceptable. Most Alaskans also support banning these methods.

Trump makes it easier to hunt bears and wolves in Alaska

Terrible practices

In 2015, these horrific practices were outlawed under the Obama administration. But the ban was lifted in 2020 under the Trump administration. This law repealed the ban on non-subsistence hunters using methods such as bait bear hunting, hunting black bears with dogs, killing wolves during denning season, and hunting swimming caribou. That same year, HSUS and other conservation organizations filed a lawsuit against this law. In 2023, the NPS received over 116,000 comments from members in favor of banning these hunting methods. The institute suggested reinstating the ban on hunting methods.

Biden breaks a campaign promise
Alaska | Photo: public domain

A small number of proponents of cruel hunting methods argue that it is necessary to exterminate native carnivores in order to increase the hunters’ prey stocks. This is also known as “predator control”. However, scientific studies show that this is ineffective and has devastating consequences for both native carnivores and their prey. These practices have actually led to the decline of animal species as they disrupt ecosystems. So there is still much work to be done in this area to protect species like coyotes, wolves and bears from inhumane death caused by humans.


Trump administration relaxes hunting methods in Alaska

© Jane Sauer

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