Bear-baiting isn’t fair


Black bear mother and cub. (Black bears come in several colors.)

Black bear mother and cub. (Black bears come in several colors.)


If you live in Utah, please attend a meeting (details are given below) or send an email to oppose plans that the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is putting forward for 2015 for increased “hunting opportunities” for bears.


(You are welcome to speak up for bears and express your views wherever you live, but if you are not a Utah resident, please state this clearly.)


Please oppose the increase in the number of black bear hunting permits offered – and oppose, especially, the bear-baiting season for June 6 through July 2. If you wish, please also oppose the other seasons allowing bear-baiting, archery, and hunting with dogs.


The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plans to allow the following bear hunts during 2015 (for further details, click here.)


April 4 – June 5 – For hunting bears with dogs, or by “spot and stalk.”


June 6 – July 2 – Bear-baiting will be allowed, and archery or firearms may be used.


August 10 – September 11 – Bear-baiting, for archery only.


August 22 – September 28 and October 31 – November 19 –

This will allow bear-baiting, hunting with dogs, “spot and stalk,” archery, or firearms.


Further hunts – No dates given – Harvest-objective hunts, no start dates are provided; end dates are when the quotas, or objectives (numbers of bears killed), have been met for each area.


The DWR black bear hunting proposals for 2015 are unnecessary, as well as inhumane and unethical, for these reasons:


One – Bear-baiting or putting out food to attract the animals in order to shoot them, is unfair. By any standard, this is not hunting. There is no hunting involved in bear-baiting.


Two – June is springtime, when mother bears have left their dens. While they search for food, they leave their small cubs in the den or in trees. When the mother bears are killed, after being attracted to bait, then the bear cubs are left to starve to death or be killed by predators. Knowingly causing the deaths by starvation of bear cubs or any baby animal is cruel. It is against any and every accepted ethical or moral standard. It should not be done by any human being and should not be advocated by the DWR of Utah.


Three – Bear cubs stay with their mothers for two years, so any hunting of bears at any time of year risks leaving orphaned bear cubs. There is no reason, and no good time of year, to kill bears.


Four– Killing bears by archery and/or by using hunting dogs is particularly inhumane. These methods cause frightening, violent deaths, and archery is more likely than firearms to cause wounds that lead to a lingering, painful death.


Five – Killing animals for “fun” is unethical. Most people do not eat bear meat, and do not rely on bears as a necessary source of food. Killing animals can only be “fun” if one sets aside a normal appreciation of the animal as a beautiful, living, sentient being who enjoys and values his or her life – an animal created by nature, who belongs – alive – in Utah’s forests and wild lands. Bears should be allowed to live in freedom from the constant persecution of hunts that threaten their lives.


Six– Random killing of hundreds of bears because a very few bears may come into contact with humans at campsites is an extremely inefficient way to reduce these bear/human contacts. It does not target the bears involved.


Seven – Bear-baiting teaches bears to seek food left out by humans and actually increases the incidents of human/bear conflicts in the wild. As a means of reducing these conflicts, it does not work and is counter-productive.


Eight – For the past fifteen years, around 200-300 bears have been killed in Utah each year. These deaths serve no purpose, and animals should not be killed for no reason.


Nine – As part of Utah’s Black Bear Management Plan, the DWR’s target for educating people on how to avoid bear/human conflicts is to reach 10% of the Utah public (over several years). A target of 10%, for anything in life, does not sound like a very high bar to reach. Even this 10% target is not being met. Before increasing the numbers of bears to be killed, it would be more beneficial to both human beings and to bears, to first place a priority on educating all Utah citizens on simple steps to take to avoid human/bear conflicts.


Ten – As another basic step, bear-proof garbage cans should be placed at campgrounds on all public lands in Utah. This should be implemented before killing any more bears.


Eleven – Statistics indicate that non-hunters and hunters pay a roughly equal share of the revenue that is entrusted to the state for wildlife protection. In any case, paying money does not give anyone the ownership of wildlife. A bear’s life belongs to the bear – or to the natural world — or to all Utah citizens – but certainly not to those who would destroy that life.


How you can help bears


If you can, please attend, or email, the RAC (Regional Advisory Council) meeting for your region. Some meetings have already taken place. These are those scheduled for the rest of December, 2014. You may use any of the points above to write polite emails.


December 9 – 7 pm

SR RAC (Southern region)

Beaver High School

195 E. Center Street


Dave Black,


December 12 – 6:30 pm

SER RAC (Southeastern Region)

John Wesley Powell Museum

1765 E. Main Street

Green River

Kevin Albrecht, Chair


December 13 – 6:30 pm

NER – RAC (Northeastern Region)

Wildlife Resources NER Office

318 North Vernal Avenue


Wayne McAllister,


January 8, 2015

Wildlife Board Meeting

DNR Salt Lake Office Auditorium,

1594 West North Temple

Salt Lake City

Jake Albrecht, Chair


For the email addresses of the other RAC members, go to


For the email addresses of the other Wildlife Board members, click here.


The email address of Greg Sheehan, the Director of the Division of Natural Resources, is


More ways to let others know: Facebook, Twitter, comments on websites, writing to newspapers, calling radio talk shows, communicating with family and friends, colleagues at work, or wherever you can reach people.


Thank you for helping the bears!


Coalition for American Wildbirds


Permission is given to reprint or repost this article, with credit given and a link to the original.


Photo: USFWS


  1. Are you aware that harvesting bears is an efficient way to manage the ecosystem? Too many bears can be very damaging to other animals. Are you aware that bears follow elk and deer in the “spring” and eat THEIR babies as they are born? It is nearly impossible to harvest a bear without dogs or bait. Every bear harvested roughly equals two elk/deer saved.

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