Bears and Food … light and dark sides

We know that bears love food and will eat just about anything. Remember Yogi bear stealing picnic baskets and Winnie the Pooh’s honey pot? We also know that feeding the bears is dangerous. “Do Not Feed The Bears” signs are found in most parks and wilderness areas where bears live to remind us of that. There are the nuisance bears that make their way into the local news because they have found a new feeding spot .. your garbage can or local city dumpster. .. It is obvious, bears live to eat!

Food and bears just go together .. and like all things, sometimes in a positive way and sometimes in a negative way.

The Lighter Side of Bears and Food ….
The Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary that I discussed in an earlier post has an interesting history and it involves feeding bears. They feed the wild bears at the sanctuary .. because I am so well-trained not to feed the bears, I was very surprised that they did … until I heard the history of the sanctuary. Feeding the bears back in the days when the area was a logging camp was a way for the loggers to coexist with the bears instead of killing them.
For more information on the history of the bear sanctuary, visit:
History of the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary or read an article about the man who loved bears at midwestweekends.

Two more interesting links on Minnesota bears are:
• an interesting blog from someone who did the all day visit at the sanctuary (an all day photographer pass)
• and a another piece at MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) on the bears.

The Darker Side of Bears and Food ….
Hunting …
I guess I could dedicate a separate post to the discussion of hunting, but I am not going to … I am too bias to do it justice and I don’t see the “sport” in killing anything. I understand the need for hunting seasons to control deer population, for meat, etc … My problem with hunting has more to do with how people hunt.
There still remain a few hunters who enjoy the activity in the old fashioned way .. with long walks in the woods, sitting in a stand for an entire day observing nature, waiting for a big one (not usually the first thing they see), hunting for the meat (not necessarily a trophy for the hood of their trucks) … However, the growing number of “lazy” hunters … the kind that drive up and down the county roads hoping to see something in a someone’s field or crossing the road, atv’s in the woods with cell phone’s to coordinate the “hunt”, shooting because something moved, poaching, out of season hunting, shining at night, … there are bad hunters out there.

Sorry … Back to how this all relates to the bears … I am wonder how many people think that bear hunting is just like deer hunting .. the hunter sits in the woods and waits? Many years ago, I did. After moving to the woods, however, I found out how it really works …

The likely hood that a hunter sitting in a stand in the woods will ever see a bear, is so remote that almost no one would ever shoot a bear during bear season. Enter the invention of “Bear Bait” (food for the bears). Bear bait is usually made by local hunters and can even be purchased at sporting or feed stores in the area. The hunting practice is to build a hunting stand in the woods and for the next month or so visit the stand every day or several times a week and dump your bear bait. The hunters train the bears to visit the area of their stand for meals .. then when the hunting season begins, the hunters just go to the stand and wait for a bear (they trained) to come and eat.

This procedure is considered to be “good bear hunting practices” and these hunters, in general, are hunting for the meat. As a bear lover, I do not see the sport in this and it bothers me. However, what bothers me more are the “bad” bear hunters .. and they are out there. Killing bears for their claws, fur, etc …
One of the worst stories of bad bear hunting took place just this past year a few yards from the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary.
This Fall, two sanctuary bears were killed by “bad hunters/poachers” … I can’t imagine what type of person would stand on the border of the sanctuary and kill bears … for the “sport of it”? They did not take the meat. One bear was just shot and left. The other bear was slaughtered only for it’s head, fur and feet … very sad.
News related to the shooting of two sanctuary bears:
Star Tribune and Duluth WDIO television news (video)
As far as I know, the criminals were never caught ..

When food is involved … how can bear hunting be considered a “sport” .. or even “hunting” … ?


~ by bearyweather on March 22, 2009.

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