Processed Bait — Is it Legal?
As the Wyoming spring black bear hunting season approaches, hunters are reminded that the use of processed baits is illegal in seven of Wyoming's 37 black bear hunt areas.

Processed baits are prohibited for use in baiting black bear in hunt areas 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28 and 29 in northwest Wyoming. Areas traditionally closed to black bear baiting remain unchanged.

According to Game and Fish Commission regulation, processed bait is a nontoxic biodegradable substance, such as baked goods. Unprocessed bait is livestock or livestock parts that have not been processed for human consumption. Prohibited bait includes big game, small game, game birds, game fish, protected animals, protected birds, or parts thereof.

In 1990, the U.S. Forest Service implemented a food storage order to promote human safety where grizzly bears occur across much of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The G&F's requirement to use unprocessed baits in some areas is a reflection of changes in grizzly bear distribution.

"The Shoshone and Bridger-Teton National Forests are considering expanding current food storage regulations this April. It makes sense that in our efforts to minimize human-bear conflicts we would require the use of unprocessed baits in areas where forest service food storage regulations require human foods to be unavailable to grizzly bears," said Cody Region wildlife supervisor Gary Brown.

Brown also reminds bear hunters that grizzly bears observed at black bear bait sites must be reported to the G&F immediately; the bait station must be closed for the remainder of the year. The G&F and/or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are responsible for removing the bait barrel when it is safe to do so.

"The purpose of reporting grizzly bear observations is to ensure that hunters do not accidentally take a grizzly bear and to lessen the risk of a human-bear confrontation," said Brown. He stated that the G&F realizes that in the short-term the hunter is inconvenienced if his registered bait site is shut down, but in the long-term, reporting grizzlies will help the agency maintain its ability to manage black bears. "We want to continue to use baiting and hunting as a tool to manage black bears, and as long as hunters continue to follow the established regulations and make the right decisions, we will," said Brown. Last spring, seven bait sites were closed due to visitation by grizzly bear.

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