Recent ads state that some 7 million pounds of junk food are deposited in the woods as bear bait annually.

That figure did not make any sense to me, so I did a bit of checking. Anyone can check with the state website to verify dates and requirements for hunting bear over bait. And the Maine Guide Association advises that there are between 200 and 400 registered Maine guides who hunt bear.

Maine hunting laws state that baiting can commence on July 26. Hunting of bears over bait was allowed from Aug. 25 to Sept. 20 this year. It is also a requirement that all bait sites be cleaned up by the end of November.

Let’s assume that the 400 guides are the ones depositing that 7 million pounds of bait. Doing the math means that on each of the 57 days allowed to bait, each guide would need to place 307 pounds of bait daily. That is a lot of 5-gallon pails to be carried, not on roads, but rather on trails into the woods.

Maybe they are more ambitious than I am.

I have hunted for at least 50 years in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. During that time, I have seen four bears in the wild. One was in New Hampshire, two in Maine and one was along a highway in the Yukon. It was eating a dead rabbit but was probably longing for a doughnut.

I wonder what the bears eat for food on the 307 days when bait is not available for food.

Don Franke, Otisfield

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