The black bear population in Wisconsin is stable and thriving. They are the second largest mammals in the state, the largest being the Elk. Black bears are shy and do not like to be around humans. They roam the northern two-thirds of the state in wooded areas and frequent garbage dumps. They are most active between May and September eating high protein foods like frogs, carrion, and insects in the Spring and early Summer then they gorge themselves on high calorie foods like berries and vegetation during the summer to prepare themselves for their winter sleep as bears do not truly hibernate. Thought these animals are not on the endangered species list in Wisconsin abusive hunting practices prevail.
Bear baiting allows intensive feeding of black bears to make them easier targets of trophy hunters. It usually occurs during the weeks prior to the hunting season to get the bears comfortable eating at predetermined feeding stations. High calorie foods like donuts, candy, corn, meat are placed in baiting piles and increases conflict between bears and humans. As bear feed at these stations they are shot for trophy leaving orphaned cubs. Many sportsman oppose this practice because it does not comply with the “the cornerstone of ethical hunting” the “fair chase.” Wisconsin is one of thirteen states that allow bear baiting.
Bear hounding uses packs of radio-collared hounds to pursue bears into trees and once treed they are shot or if cornered the bear will turn to fight causing death to both bear and hound. This applies to cubs as well and usually leads to death by mauling. Aside from the stress of the chase these the exertion of long runs causes overheating with their bodies fattened for the winter sleep. Sportsman do not approve of this form of hunting because it is an unethical practice and does not comply with the fair chase doctrine. Hound hunting is legal in Wisconsin.
Bear trapping is another form of unethical hunting and is only legal in the state of Maine. Bears that are caught in traps can linger for hours or days suffering painful injuries before the hunter shots them.
The Spring bear hunting kills mother bears because hunters do not sex the bear before shooting them leaving vulnerable orphaned cubs to fend for themselves and making them easy prey for wolves and big cats.
These inhumane hunting practices can be reduced or prevented by legislation and enforced hunting laws.