Bear baiting proposals up for discussion

CorrespondentJanuary 8, 2014 

Whether you favor or oppose any of the more than 40 proposals, you have seven chances remaining to voice opinions on hunting, fishing and trapping regulations being proposed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Two proposals would allow still hunters on private land to use bait – unprocessed foods such as corn, raw peanuts or apples – to attract bears, which the commission says would give hunters who don’t use dogs a better chance to kill a bear and which the N.C. Wildlife Federation opposes as a poor management choice.

Proposal H9 would allow taking bears over baits from the first open Monday of the bear season to the following Saturday in the Coastal and Mountain bear management units, and H10 would apply to open days of bear seasons that run concurrently with the gun deer seasons in counties in the Piedmont, including Wake, Johnston, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Harnett and Franklin counties. Bears could not be shot while they are eating bait.

“The baiting is a question of equality,” Greg Batts, the commission’s District 3 wildlife biologist, said in a recent interview. “Dog hunters have always been allowed to strike off of bait. They can run a bear off of where there’s been a bait pile. But somebody who is a still hunter, you can’t hunt over bait.”

The N.C. Wildlife Federation says the commission could do better than baiting.

“Of all the 42 proposed changes, we support all of them except those two,” said the federation’s N.C. Camouflage Coalition director, Richard Hamilton, a biologist who spent 37 years with the commission and was executive director from 2004 to 2007. “… We’re not opposed to increasing the harvest; the population needs to be managed.”

Hamilton said Wednesday morning that increasing the bag limit from one to two, lengthening the season or both would be among more effective options, and he pointed out that the commission doesn’t allow baiting on its more than 2 million acres of game lands.

“You do not solve the human-bear interaction problem if you put bait out,” he said, adding that baiting has the “potential to tarnish the image of the hunter.”

The remaining meetings start at 7 p.m.:

• Thursday, District 6, South Stanly High School, Norwood.

• Tuesday, District 9, Tri-County Community College, Murphy.

• Wednesday, District 8, 1924 Courthouse, Newton.

• Jan. 16, District 7, Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro.

• Jan. 21, District 1, Swain Auditorium, Edenton.

• Jan. 22, District 2, Craven County Courthouse, New Bern.

• Jan. 23, District 3, Nash Community College, Rocky Mount.

To read proposals or submit comments, go to www.ncwildlife.org.

Black drum changes: New limits for black drum went into effect Jan. 1. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries implemented a 14- to 25-inch total length slot size limit, and one fish longer than 25 inches length may be kept. The recreational limit is 10 fish. See Proclamation FF-73-2013 at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/proclamations.

Fishing series returns: The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series with local and national experts returns Saturday at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern. Cost is $55. Register at www.nationalseminarseries.com, or call 800-448-7360.

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Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT

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