Ottawa Sportsmen's Club News

June 7, 2003

Carole Williams, Club Reporter


Don't Feed the Bears Act of 2003

108th CONGRESS, 1st Session
March 27, 2003

Mr. GALLEGLY, Elton [CA-24] (for himself and Mr. MORAN of Virginia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources

To require the adoption and enforcement of regulations to prohibit the intentional feeding of bears on Federal public lands in order to end the hunting practice known as `bear baiting' and reduce the number of dangerous interactions between people and bears.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Don't Feed the Bears Act of 2003'.


  1. FINDINGS- Congress finds the following:
    1. Federal land management agencies, including the Forest Service, National Park Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management, publish and distribute materials to the public discouraging any feeding of black bears.
    2. Even though Federal land managers are in agreement that private citizens should not provide food to bears, several Federal land management agencies do not prohibit licensed hunters from setting out food as bait for bears on Federal lands in States where baiting is permitted by State law.
    3. A typical bait station consists of hundreds of pounds of human-scented foods, often including parts of animal carcasses, pastries, fruits, and grease, that are simply piled on the forest floor or dumped in large drums.
    4. The foods used in a bait station are no different than the human-scented foods that a bear might find in a garbage can, dump, or campground, and after the bear hunting season ends, bait stations are often not removed.
    5. The presence of bait stations on Federal lands allows bears to increase their food intake and results in higher birth rates, increasing bear populations.
    6. Wildlife scientists agree that black bears are naturally wary of people, but that feeding bears human-scented foods can cause bears to lose their wariness and become emboldened in approaching people and property in search of food.
    7. Human-fed bears cause millions of dollars in property damage every year.
    8. Bears habituated to human food can pose a safety threat, occasionally resulting in attacks on human beings.
    9. Bears that come into conflict with people are often labeled as nuisance animals, and are often killed as a means of protecting people and property.
    10. When the National Park Service adopted policies to ban bear feeding and to end the practice of keeping garbage in open-air dumps, units of the National Park System experienced a dramatic decline in bear-human encounters.
    11. A majority of the States that allow bear hunting ban baiting, and black bears can be hunted successfully by means other than baiting.
    12. It is inconsistent for Federal land management agencies to demand that visitors to the Federal lands not feed bears, but to allow this practice by bear baiters.
    13. The United States already prohibits baiting of migratory birds.
  2. ENFORCEMENT OF EXISTING NPS REGULATION- The Secretary of the Interior shall enforce the regulatory prohibition, contained in section 2.2(a)(2) of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, against the feeding of wildlife on National Park System lands to prohibit individuals from intentionally feeding bears for the purpose of enticing bears to a particular area to be hunted, a practice known as `bear baiting'.
  3. ENFORCEMENT OF EXISTING FWS REGULATION- The Secretary of the Interior shall enforce the regulatory prohibition, contained in section 32.2(h) of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, against bear baiting and the baiting of other wildlife on wildlife refuge areas.
    1. REGULATION REQUIRED- The Secretary of the Interior, with respect to lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National Forest System lands, shall each adopt and enforce a regulation to prohibit individuals from intentionally feeding bears, including feeding for the purpose of enticing bears to a particular area to be hunted, a practice known as `bear baiting'.
    2. DEADLINE FOR ADOPTION- The regulations required by this subsection shall be issued in final form not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Latest Major Action: 3/31/2003 House committee/subcommittee actions.
Status: Executive Comment Requested from USDA, Interior.

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