Home Forums Campfire Forum Garbaging for Bears Reply To: Garbaging for Bears

David Petersen
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Arguing against baiting with those who do it, is like arguing against religion with the religious. In both cases the critics are disadvantaged by the politics of politeness. That is, while the religious person or baiter can argue their points endlessly–based on scripture or wildlife management etc.–without seeming to insult anyone else personally, to argue against a belief or activity always is interpreted as a personal attack. Logically, it’s an unfair system of discourse. How to separate criticism of an activity or belief from personal criticism of the people involved? Like others here have said, I believe “baiting is not hunting” is as close as we can get. And even there, there are exceptions. One gentleman who posts here (but not so far on this thread) has in past baited bears. He did so because he and his family are making a serious effort to live as independently as possible from the “industrial food grid.” They hunt, fish, garden and raise small livestock. When he was baiting bears it was for food, pure and simple. He did not boast about it here or anywhere and rarely spoke of it in private; he didn’t even consider it hunting. Rather, it’s like when circumstances have forced me the past two years to take a rifle out in early winter to get elk meat I was unable to get during bow season (weather, human interference, medical problems and surgery, etc.) … I don’t consider that hunting, certainly nothing to boast about, but simply shopping in the woods the most efficient way possible: utility, not sport. So–and here I’m risking unintended criticism of individuals but it’s a valid part of a fair and open discussion–the more a person boasts about killing bears over bait, esp. if that person spends a lot of money to travel and hires a professional baiter, the more I have to shake my head. So here again, as so often in hunting and life, the morality of what we do is shaped in large part by how we view and speak of the “accomplishment.” We can nitpick the debate to pieces with analogy, but baiting (yes, we’re talking food or food scents) of bears is not hunting. It’s not necessarily immoral, either … depending on why we do it and how we think and talk about it. I do know that the general nonhunting majority detests it, and the majority in the end will decide the fate of hunting.