Bear hunting regulations cause blogger to do a double take
At times, all hunters question the reasons behind certain regulations that affect their favorite sports. Sometimes the rules seem to make no sense at all. On top of that, there is often a question of ambiguous wording – making one wonder exactly what a regulation means.
Rules are often based on long-standing traditions as to what is considered ethical. For example, in Pennsylvania, it is considered unethical to bait bears or use dogs to hunt them. Other states and Canadian provinces see things differently.
Having fished and vacationed in North Carolina, I am a happy subscriber to their official state resource publication, “Wildlife in North Carolina.” The latest issue arrived in my mailbox a few days ago. It is dubbed their “2016 Fall Outdoor Guide.” In addition to containing informative articles and beautiful photographs, this issue contains 26 pages of hunting and fishing regulations, as well as game lands information.
I couldn’t help but do a double take when I read their bear hunting regulations. Page 42 was devoted to, “Restrictions on Hunting Bear with Dogs and Using Unprocessed Foods.”
Hunting bears with dogs is allowed in some counties, but not others? Not in Pennsylvania – but okay – this is North Carolina. Hunting bears with dogs is legal in most counties, but not in all or parts of 21 North Carolina counties. Understood.
Next, we come to baiting, which is legal – sort of – I think. Baiting is not legal on state game lands. Baiting is not legal at some times in some counties. It is illegal to use “processed foods” anywhere, anytime for baiting.
Then we come to “Unprocessed Foods,” which are legal for bear hunting most of the time, in most of the state (but not on state game lands). Over 80 words are devoted to a definition of exactly what a “processed” food might be. Of course, this includes peanut butter, candy, donuts and pastries. It also states that food products enhanced by sugar, blood, grease, meat, or bones are illegal.
Okay, these are clearly illegal, but I am left wondering if raw meat itself is then legal. After all, it is “unprocessed.” They provide no examples of legal baits.
So, baiting with unprocessed food is legal, right? Then how would you interpret this statewide regulation? — “It is unlawful to take a bear while in the act of consuming unprocessed foods.”
So, I can eat a peanut butter sandwich while I’m bear hunting, but not an “unprocessed” apple? I can eat an apple, but I’d better not shoot a bear while I’m eating the apple?
Oh… maybe they mean that it is okay to hunt over bait, but not to shoot a bear while it is actually eating the “unprocessed” food. I’m certainly not sure, and I can just imagine the law enforcement headaches that this rule presents. Is it then all right to shoot a bear while it is raiding a dumpster filled with donuts if I did not put the donuts in the dumpster? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure.
Baiting with “unprocessed” foods is legal, but … “It is unlawful to use any bait attractant, including scented sprays, aerosols, scent balls and scent powders.” Why, I wonder?
What happens when the North Carolina regulations combine dogs and bait? Quoting the regulations, “The prohibition against taking bears with the use of bait does not apply to the release of dogs in the vicinity of any food source that is not a processed food product. However, dogs may not be released in the vicinity of any commercially available mineral supplement.”
Maybe all of this makes sense to the locals, but if I were hunting bear in North Carolina this fall, gosh darn it, I would surely have a few questions.
What hunting regulation makes no sense to you?