Thursday, 26 March 2009

DNM on Online Bear Baiting

I've been thinking about Bear Baiting a whole lot, recently. I'm curious about the process, and whether it is an effective tool for population management. I'm especially curious whether the genetic characteristics of bears caught through bear baiting are different from those harvested via a more "traditional" hunt. I'm considering showing up to ADF&G's clinic on the subject, to give me a utilitarian grounding in the subject.

For those of you outside the state, bear baiting is using a large scent lure (often putrid fish and ungulate offal) to attract bears, where the hunter evaluates the bear from a tree stand or ground blind, and selects one for harvest. It's slightly controversial, and it's generally only done for black bears. In Alaska, you can only legally bear bait blackies.

Tim Mowry isn't a fan of bear baiting - that much is clear from his editorial piece in the Daily Minor News - but he's even more `down` on using the internet for certification. I'm curious whether there will be a difference in
  1. Overall rates of incidents between last year and this year.
  2. Difference in incident rates between hunters who took the course online vs. clinic.
  3. Whether other factors (land use, etc.) predicts compliance better.
These are all scientific questions, and not something based in opinion. Either something has an effect, or it doesn't. So, I guess I'm adding a whole bunch more things `to watch` to my list!