Dear Editor: The DNR’s bear management plan acknowledges that some types of chocolate bear baits were the cause of death in bears and cubs in Wisconsin, yet the DNR still refuses to ban chocolate baits.
Numerous peer reviewed lab results clearly indicate verified toxicity levels of these baits, but rather than banning the use of chocolate bait based on past research, the DNR continues to claim that a study is needed in Wisconsin to assess the impact of these baits. This is absurd and outrageous. The level of toxicity does not vary because it is in a different state or country.
Aside from the DNR allowing the needless suffering of wildlife as it becomes ill or dies from chocolate baits, there are more reasons to explain why this unethical toxic practice continues to be allowed and downplayed. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress Bear Committee requires that all members on that committee support and promote bear baiting as a core value. That committee advises the Natural Resources Board on the will of the public, which in theory is measured by votes from the WCC annual statewide spring vote wherein citizens from all counties may vote. In 2019, 124 votes favored a ban, 40 opposed. In 2020, 2,367 favored a ban, 351 opposed. And in 2021, 760 favored a ban, and 138 opposed. Clearly, it is the will of the Wisconsin Bear Hunter’s Association and the like, and not the general public, that dictate wildlife policies in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s bear management plan is written in part with a significant amount of input from “partner groups” like the Safari Club International. It is time to end this proverbial boy’s club management style and entitlement mentality, often referred to as being tradition or heritage. It’s corrupt and shameful.
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