2014-10-17 / Letters

Treatment of bears is indefensible

To the editor:

For decades my husband’s bow-hunting was a blend of solitary stillness and heartpounding moments requiring finely-honed archery skills. He shot from 20 yards away or less to ensure a clean, merciful kill. A bad shot – where a wounded deer staggered into the woods – was shameful for any hunter.

Skill is something that should be inherent to hunting. I am confounded, therefore, by the indefensible treatment of bears in our woods.

Hunters aren’t allowed to bait, trap or hound deer or moose because this is considered cruel and unfair. Why make an exception for bears? I can’t imagine the terror and pain these timid creatures, that have only known freedom, experience in an ever-tightening snare, or being chased by a pack of hounds.

What is happening today in our woods is not hunting. It’s cruelty. The fact that IF&W is the only state wildlife agency in the country to allow bear trapping suggests there is more to the story than what our wildlife biologists are saying.

And let’s consider baiting. My friend, whose camp is in the North Woods, talks about the stench of rotting pizza and donuts there, as millions of pounds are dumped to guarantee kills for out-of-state trophy hunters.

Baiting habituates bears to humans, increasing the likelihood they’ll seek food in neighborhoods. It grows the bear population by providing surplus food just before winter. In short, our current policies are growing the bear population, and creating nuisance bears.

Considering the cruelty that trapping and hounding inflicts on one of God’s creatures, and the fact that baiting is doing the exact opposite of its supposed purpose and increasing bear numbers, I will vote yes on Question 1.

Please examine your conscience, use common sense, and do the same.

Jennifer Comeau

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