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Bear Baiting at issue

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ST. PAUL — A Stearns County-manufactured bear-bait dispenser would be legal to use in Minnesota bear hunting, if a bill that got its first examination Monday in the Minnesota Legislature becomes law.

Mike and Kirsten Lucken of Albany are co-owners of Bear Busters Inc., a Paynesville business that got its start a year ago and makes the automated bait dispenser.

But while bear baiting is legal in Minnesota, the Luckens haven't sold their product here because the Department of Natural Resources believes the $799 steel cabinet-shaped device might conflict with the part of the law that requires using only biodegradable materials.

Senate and House versions of the bill from Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL-St. Joseph, and Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, drew fire Monday from people who say using bait to attract an animal amounts to setting up an ambush. Others oppose the increasing use of technology in hunting.

Supporters say baiting is the only practical means of controlling the state's black bear population.

"We've sold this throughout the United States and in Canada," Mike Lucken told a House committee Monday.

"It's still hunting. The bear may not come for the food," Lucken said.

Minnesota's black bear population is about 20,000, according to DNR estimates. About 95 percent of bear hunters use bait, but their success-rate average is below 35 percent, lower than deer hunters.

The bill would allow reusable metal containers, as long as they restrict scavengers from taking the bait and are removed by the end of the bear season.

The dispenser wouldn't contribute to littering because hunters aren't likely to leave something that expensive behind, said Ed Boggess, DNR deputy director of fish and wildlife management.

"But it does introduce one more level of technological advancement into bear hunting," he said.

That rewards lazy hunters, said Linda Hatfield, a Minneapolis animal rights activist who testified against the bill.

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel," she said. "Where's the sport in it?"

Both committees held the bills over for possible inclusion in game and fish bills, Hosch said.

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north red river


That rewards lazy hunters, said Linda Hatfield, a Minneapolis animal rights activist who testified against the bill.

"It's like shooting fish in a barrel," she said. "Where's the sport in it?"

It's apparent that this lady has know clue!!! Lazy hunters!

It takes a lot of work to bait and to be successful. I hunted bear for the first time last year and I had bear eat 1000's of pounds of bait.....never seen one.

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running a bait is the hardest hunting experiance i have had putting hundreds of pounds of bait out somtimes running two baits at a time and gas time during the week to bait this lady has never done it she doesnt know is it a hobby for people to ruin other peoples hobbies because they are too bored with their own life?

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bear baiting is hot,buggy,fun work. I will not buy a 799.00 barrel,if can use 55 gal which would do the same job by keeping the non-targets out (scunks, coons,timbers,and coyotes). saving $ on bait.

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Black bears can be some of the cagiest of critters especially near a bait site because of the fear of a large boar being there . Often they will spend alot of time circling and testing the wind and some will never show themselves till after legal shooting time .

I baited guided spring bear here in Ontario for many years and it can be alot of work and time consuming . I always used the onion bags strung on a wire between two trees at my chest height . This way the bear returns daily and doesn't gorge himself and he stands to tear the bottom of the bag exposing his vitals plus one can easily see if its a lactating sow or a boar . Coons etc . also could not reach the bait nor run the wire if they climbed the trees it was strung to . We found often with barrels etc. that the bear would lay down while feeding and it's harder to place a good shot through all the muscle and gristle that a bear has .

Now our way was more labour intensive in that we had to go daily but baits could also be put up and taken down easier and moved if need be .

With the bear only getting enough bait in the bag for a daily meal and not gorging himself he was more inclined to hang around and I totally expected him to be shot the first night a hunter was on the stand .If he gorged himself he may not return for a day or even two or will show whenever he wished .

Now my way may not be suitable for all but it sure works well and these armchair PETA freaks haven't got a clue about bears or whats involved in hunting them and because of them and the cancellation of our spring hunt we are now over run with bears to the point this great game animal is causing alot of problems and he is once again considered vermin and shot and buried on sight .


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