Urgent! US Fish and Wildlife Service goes rogue with proposal for baiting and trophy hunting of brown bears, and you can help us stop it

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on October 20, 2020 with 21 Comments

With a proposal to permit the killing of brown bears over bait in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has “gone rogue.” The USFWS and its parent agency, the Department of the Interior, are way over on the dark side when it comes to the killing of charismatic wildlife by America’s trophy hunters.

A public comment period has reopened on the USFWS proposal to allow trophy hunters to lure Kenai’s brown bears to their deaths with rotting piles of pastries and donuts. This plan also attempts to overturn the ban on brown bear baiting that we and other groups are currently in federal court defending.

The USFWS proposal would also remove a requirement for federal trapping permits that prohibit the use of steel-jawed leghold traps with serrated or spiked jaws, ban the setting of traps within one mile of public roads, and require periodic trap checks to ensure that a trapped animal is not left to suffer for weeks on end.

But, in the days ahead, we have a chance to stop this terrible plan from moving forward by making voice heard through the public comments.

You would think that Kenai, as a “national wildlife refuge,” would be managed as a place where America’s native wildlife would be safe and protected, not persecuted and killed for fun and trophy parts.

The situation is still worse when you consider that bear baiting is dangerous for people as well. Bait piles can habituate bears to human scents at campgrounds, picnic areas and trails, increasing the likelihood of bear-human encounters at these sites. Who needs that kind of reckless management from a government agency?

The only people who want to see this proposal go through are trophy hunters who kill animals for souvenirs. Most Americans do not support or approve of such needless killing. Brown bears, especially, are a much beloved and a major tourist draw for Alaska. During this month’s “ Fat Bear Week,” hundreds of thousands of Americans watched online as bears in the Katmai National Park stuffed themselves the natural way before going into hibernation for winter. More than 600,000 enthralled fans voted for their favorite chunky bruin (and congratulations to 747 on your win!). Needless to say, rotting donuts were not on the menu.

When the USFWS first proposed this rule last June, at about the same time that the agency finalized another terrible rule authorizing some of the cruelest killing practices known to humankind on Alaska’s federal lands, more than 30,000 of you wrote to voice your opposition.

With a new comment period, we have another opportunity to make sure that this agency-gone-rogue hears from many more Americans about the kind of management they want for federally owned lands that are home to charismatic wildlife species. Please let the USFWS know where you stand on this issue before the comment period closes on November 9 and do spread the word among your friends.

The USFWS has also scheduled virtual public hearings on the proposed rule for October 26 at 4:00 pm Alaska Daylight Time (8:00 pm EST), October 27 at 4:00 pm Alaska Daylight Time (8:00 pm EST) and October 28 at 4:00 pm Alaska Daylight Time (8:00 pm EST), which you can join. Let’s take that extra step together, to send the message loud and clear that Americans do not approve of the wanton killing of brown bears by such debased methods and for such frivolous purposes.

Help us protect wildlife on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge — submit your comment today >>

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Laura Lambert says:

    Please do not allow this in humane practice. It is bad for bears and the humans who live/recreate there. Federally owned land should be managed with respect to all the creatures that make it their home.

  2. Claude Gauthier says:

    What’s to say? Find out who was bribed or coerced to allow baiting and trophy hunting of bears.

    Because let’s face it. It’s wrong, it’s cruel and it should be criminal. That’s it.

  3. Ewa Stein says:

    Please save Alaska wildlife!

  4. Cat Addari says:

    Baiting bears is not hunting. I hate hunting. Leave the animals alone. We’ve already taken their homes, and they’re shot dead when the roam outside of the forest looking for food. Humans share this planet, we must stop being so sadistic.

  5. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Ya no podemos permitir que siga la violencia no puede seguir sufriendo mas animalitos solo por diversión

  6. Brian Swan says:

    Go for wildlife. Preserve wildlife at all costs.

  7. Carol Weiss says:

    Killing any animal is cruelty and should be prosecuted..

  8. Judith Somerset says:

    Baiting bears are like shooting fish in a gokd fish bowl!! Rhis us outrageous, and shows how corrupt the USFWS are now. STOP SLAUGHTERINF OUR WILDLIFE!! KILLING HIBERNATING BEARS IS BAD ENOUGH!! JUST STOP!

  9. Rachel Bradley says:

    Please leave the bears alone. They deserve to live free in their habitat.

  10. Devin Miller says:

    This is an outrage! Bear baiting is nonsense. There’s not even fair chase. What a disgusting way to kill wildlife. We need to stop killing off our wildlife let alone setting them up to simply be slaughtered. And trapping just needs to be banned…period. It’s time to help our wildlife recover from this catastrophic extinction event we are ushering in.

  11. Jesse Gennarelli says:

    This is absolutely disgusting! The killing of these poor animals needs to stop! There is no excuse for this!

  12. Eric Schultze says:

    As a sportsman I find this disgusting! Hunting for food is one thing! Baiting for a trophy, you’re less than human in my eyes! DO NOT ALLOW THIS!

  13. Kata says:

    Baiting bears is shameful, its like sitting in a hide in the middle of a cow pasture and shooting the cow when they come to the trough.
    I surely hope that common sense will prevail and the bears along with other wild life will remain protected.
    Sport, this isn’t a sport nor is it a necessity.

  14. Audrey Wharton says:

    This barbaric hunt needs to stop now . They are not trophy’s. Leave God’s creatures alone. We have taken enough from them we keep building on their land they have no where to go. What have we become that we think this is acceptable because it is not. This baiting business is wrong on so many levels. Bears will hunt what they need for hibernation. Stop taking their land away from them. Humans suck.

  15. Jeanine Zinno says:

    This is definitely animal cruelty…
    There is absolutely no reason for this… It is cruel and unfair

  16. Ann arthurs says:

    Hunting for food only !!! Trophy hunting is for people who have no morals or value of wildlife ! Please ban this inhuman practice !!! Animals lives are more than a prop on someone’s wall !!!

  17. Iris Owens says:

    I absolutely agree with you Devin Miller. We should all be protecting our beautiful wildlife not killing them. Bear baiting is heartless and cruel. It would help if our leader had any compassion for animals but sadly he doesn’t.

  18. Eugenia E says:

    This must be stopped!
    Animals are sentient beings and at this day and age there is no need to hunt for food and especially no need to hunt for fun!
    Please stop this immediately

  19. Debbie Brent says:

    Please protect the bears and leave them to live and prosper in their natural habitats. They are vital components of the ecosystem !!!!

  20. Ingrid says:

    Gandhi stated, “The GREATNESS of a nation and its MORAL PROGRESS can be judged by the WAY its animals are TREATED.” We have done so much damage to our wildlife already! These practices are morally inhumane and cruel. Please stop these barbaric acts.

  21. Pam Vernon says:

    Please protect our wildlife. It is so wrong in so many ways as previous comments indicate! Stop killing these beautiful brown bears…..cease and desist!

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