Question on bear baiting draws huge response from LFDA Facebook members - 1049 responses

Nov 11, 2014

In light of Maine’s recent rejection of a referendum to ban bear baiting, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) asked Facebook members their opinion. Including Maine, New Hampshire is one of 10 states that currently allow bear baiting in which human food, including sugary donuts, may be used. In asking, “Should NH outlaw bear baiting?” the LFDA received a nearly unprecedented number of responses from 386 respondents, with 49 percent of those who answered the question said they support a ban, while 51 percent said they do not. In total, the LFDA received 1,049 citizen responses supported by 617 concurrences.

The question sparked a spirited discussion, however, amongst nearly half of all respondents (41 percent) who elected to discuss the subject in broader terms. At issue for many such respondents was whether baiting could rightly be considered “true hunting.”

“Where is the ‘sport’ in hunting if you bait an animal with food, pheromones, so that they are where you want them to be there, when you want them to be there,” rhetorically noted one respondent.

Such logic resonated with many respondents who expressed support for banning the practice of bear baiting on this point alone. “I do not agree with baiting nor do I agree with bear dogs,” remarked one gentleman, who self-identified as a hunter. “Want to hunt? Fine, no problem. Then hunt—you and your gun/bow. No dogs, no donuts, etcetera. You, the woods, and the animal.”

Some respondents said that the practice of bear baiting should be banned because they thought it  inhumane, an argument deemed as hypocritical by many of those in the majority who support the practice. One respondent reasoned, “[You] eat meat everyday that comes from animals that are led to a slaughterhouse and butchered. Just because you don't see it happen in front of you doesn't mean it isn't just as cruel.”

The benefits and reason behind baiting was summed up by this comment, “Again all you people saying its cruel, its cheating, it’s wrong, it’s mean,… none of you people understand the extensive work involved in the process behind “baiting”.. it not only allows you to get up close and personal with the bear to allow you to judge the bear’s age and gender so we don’t shoot mothers and cubs or just single females or young males.. it’s called selective harvest!” And another respondent added, “Baiting makes the kill cleaner, and doesn’t leave a chance for a wounded bear running off to die slowly.”

Regardless as to where people stand on the issue, an easy solution would not appear to be imminent, as some respondents indicated they did not feel qualified to offer an opinion. “I think it should be left up to the hunters to determine. For those of us that don't hunt...it's not for us to decide.”

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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