Hunting bears (Ursus spp.) over baits is legal in many countries, states, and provinces, but the practice remains a controversial topic among wildlife managers, hunting groups, and the general public. The baits used to attract bears may also provide a pulsed resource on the landscape that can be used by other wildlife species, particularly carnivores. To determine what other species might use bear bait sites, we constructed and monitored 21 bear bait sites with camera traps from August to October 2016 in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. The sites mimicked typical American black bear (U. americanus) hunter bait sites. We tested recorded changes in carnivore visitation before and during hunting season using paired t-test and analyzed carnivore temporal shifts between the 2 periods using a nonparametric kernel density estimation procedure. We analyzed 7,915 images, of which 81.9% were nontarget species. Bear daily visitation at the bait sites was reduced by 49.3% during hunting season while nontarget carnivore visitation increased by 33.0%. Bears also increased their nocturnal activity by 22.4% during the legal hunting season while other carnivore species maintained their diel patterns. Because of the high rates of nontarget species use of the bear hunter bait sites, there is a potential for disease spread and conflict with hunters. Managers should evaluate the potential impacts on target and nontarget species when establishing hunter bait regulations.
Candler, Ellen M.; Severud, William J.; and Bump, Joseph K.
"Who Takes the Bait? Non-target Species Use of Bear Hunter Bait Sites,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 13
, Article 14.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol13/iss1/14