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Opinion | Stop baiting and hounding

Opinion | Stop baiting and hounding

Dear Editor: Have you noticed more wildlife out eating during the day like their lives depend on it? That’s because it does, and fall is a critical time for all wildlife. Their ability to put on pounds and add to their body reserves means the difference between life and death during long Wisconsin winters.

Wildlife on our public lands, and even private property, has had little time to focus on eating. Instead they endure months of relentless packs of bear hounds “training” on bears night and day. This “heritage” is supposed to end Aug. 31, but since it is nearly impossible to regulate, it is the wild west of “hunting.”

While up north last week, we came across hundreds of bait sites and running dogs, even on state natural areas and literally on the shores of Lake Superior. The bear hunters throw their “bait” (human junk food) all year and run dogs too. We unknowingly camped within 50 feet of a bear bait and heard dogs running even at night. 

I think most people respect wildlife. Why is hounding or baiting bears legal? Did we not learn from congregating deer about CWD disease? Or habituating bears, raccoons and coyotes to unnatural food sources. It's dangerous, disgusting and not hunting. And it's bad for everyone except the small minority of arrogant bear hunters.

I certainly know what the stress of poor management and these bear dogs does to a person with moral integrity and a love of wildlife. Ask your national and state forests to close down bear baiting and hounding, and ask Gov. Tony Evers to stop wolf hounding.

Melissa Smith


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