PETITION: Bear baiting is cruel and inhumane, and was adamantly voted against by Washingtonians in 1996. But now, another bear baiting bill is being introduced.
The current state laws on bear baiting were implemented as a result of the 1996 Washington Bear Baiting Act (Initiative 655), which categorized hunting for black bears with bait as a gross misdemeanor and got 63% public support. Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1838 has been introduced to allow landowners to place bait stations on their property to attract bears. This state legislature is trying to subvert the will of the people.
These bait stations would be filled with sugary foods to attract bears, including nursing mothers. Once baited to the station, the bears would be shot and killed regardless of whether they are a confirmed nuisance bear or not.
This bear baiting bill was introduced to allow landowners to kill bears before they become a nuisance by causing damage to trees, crops and livestock. However, not every bear is destructive, nor is every bear a nuisance, yet every bear is attracted to bait stations.
After a long winter of hibernation, bears are very hungry and looking for food. Mother bears with nursing cubs are in need of high caloric foods for herself and her family, therefore they are attracted to bait stations. But once the mother is shot, her cubs will either be left to starve or will become nuisance bears by default!
Bears do sometimes strip bark from trees to acquire sap as a natural part of their diet. There are many proven alternatives to solving threats from wildlife to trees, crops and livestock, without cruel bear baiting practices.
Landowners should be empowered to try these first before asking for a bear to die.
Please tell your State Senator and Representatives to oppose SHB 1838. It only takes a quick phone call to your representatives to politely urge their opposition to this bill TODAY
Cruel and inhumane, Washingtonians adamantly voted against bear baiting in 1996.