Bear Baiting

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As hunters head out into the New Hampshire woods today for the first day of bear season, they may have a harder time finding their quarry. Not only is there a new ban on using chocolate as bait, but it’s been a good year for natural bear sustenance.

Last year, bear hunters took 784 bears, up 20 percent from the year before. This year, Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andy Timmins says the number will likely be lower, as there’s a bumper crop of acorns, beech nuts and berries out in the woods.

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New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioners have voted unanimously to ban using chocolate as bear bait.

The ban will be phased in beginning September 1st of this year. Hunters will be allowed to use chocolate donuts and pastries this season, in order to use up any supplies of bait they’ve already purchased, but all chocolate will be prohibited in the 2016 season.

Michael Webber via Flickr CC

 

The state is issuing a final rule proposal on banning chocolate as bear bait after four animals were dead at one bait site last fall.

The Fish and Game Department meets Wednesday in Concord where it will also set the number of moose permits to be issued for the coming hunting season.

After a sow and three cubs were found dead at a bait site in Stark, toxicology and necropsy reports said they died from a toxic level of theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate products.

Michael Webber via Flickr CC

 

The public is getting a chance to weigh in on proposed charges to bear and moose hunting in New Hampshire, including banning the use of chocolate as bait for bears after four bears were found dead last fall due to a chocolate overdose.

The Fish and Game Department is holding a public hearing Wednesday night in Concord to discuss the proposals. Necropsy and toxicology reports confirmed the bears died of heart failure caused by theobromine, a toxic ingredient in chocolate.