On September 9 the ADN reported that two yearling brown bears were shot at a musher's dog food cache near Fairbanks. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game cited the owner for "creating an attractive nuisance and attracting grizzly bears." State law prohibits feeding bears or negligently leaving food, pet food, or garbage in a way that attracts bears, yet the State allows hunters to haul food and other attractants into the woods to kill black bears. Bait stations need only be a mere quarter of a mile away from a maintained road or trail and only a mile from a dwelling. These distances are insignificant since bears have extensive home ranges.
These incidents are yet other examples of the State's hypocritical, contradictory regulations regarding the management of bears. A proposal to ban bear baiting in all of Southeast Alaska will be considered by the Board of Game in November. Bear baiting is illegal in the Yukon and British Colombia and in all but eight other states. Hopefully the Board of Game soon will prohibit this despicable practice throughout Alaska. Otherwise a ballot initiative will ultimately accomplish this end.
Sincerely, Edgar Bailey, Wildlife Biologist