The National Park Service (NPS) stated in January 2023 that bear hunters in Alaska should no longer be able to use bait (such as pastries, dog food, or bacon grease) in Alaskan natural reserves. NPS’s new proposal would “lower the risk that bears will associate food at bait stations with humans and become conditioned to eat human-produced foods.” The proposal also includes banning using spotlights to shoot hibernating bears and cubs in their dens.
In September 2022, US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason found problems with the 2020 previous administration’ rule that had lifted restrictions that had been in place since 2015 on sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska (including banning baiting to hunt bears). But the rule was not repealed because the Judge said the NPS had indicated it was already in the process of reassessing it. Now that the assessment has been made, the banning of bear baiting seems to have been reinstated. Other problems with the 2020 rule, such as allowing taking wolves and coyotes during the denning season, taking swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears, will also be removed with the new proposal. The legal case that was initiated by conservationists is still pending, and pro-hunting groups may likely take legal action against the proposals of the current administration.
Kitty Block, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “We have long argued that our government must protect our nation’s treasured wildlife and not be working hand-in-hand with trophy hunters to sanction some of the most ruthless killing methods targeted at defenceless animals.”
In other states, the recent fate of bears has been mixed. On 6th December 2022, New Jersey’s State Appellate Division Judges Lisa Rose and Carmen Messano ruled against the animal protection organisations that had complained about the bear hunt the governor had recently authorised, and the six-day bear hunting season went ahead. However, spring recreational black bear hunting was banned indefinitely by the state of Washington.