A change in baiting regulations is causing confusion among many of Minnesota’s 6,000 bear hunters just as the season gets underway.
The change this year prohibits hunters from placing more than three bait stations in the woods at one time. Previously, they could put out an unlimited number of bait stations.
“A lot of bear hunters aren’t aware of the change,” said Capt. Ken Soring of the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids. He said the misunderstanding is widespread.
The bear hunting season opened Thursday.
Bear hunters must send the DNR the locations of their bait registration stations, and many are sending in more than three locations — unaware they are violating the law, Soring said.
“We’re calling them,” Soring said. “They have to abandon some of their bear-bait sites. It’s only fair for other hunters who are following the regulations.”
Soring said the DNR reduced the number of bait stations to three to reduce hunter conflicts and competition over sites.
“We were getting complaints from bear hunters — some hunters were placing baits in a pre-emptive manner,” Soring said. “This still gives hunters a chance to hunt three different areas.”
Hunters still can establish different bait stations if they remove one of their old ones. And each licensed bear hunting outfitter may establish up to three bait stations in addition to three bait stations placed for licensed hunters.
Soring said conservation officers are trying to give hunters a break, but those knowingly violating the law face citations, he said.
Doug Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org