NCBHA Requests Clarification
In response to what could be considered an outbreak of NCWRC enforcement citations for taking bears with the aid of bait, the NCBHA asked Richard Hamilton (NCWRC Executive Director) in April 2005, for a simple common language clarification of the bear baiting regulations. The intended purpose of the clarification was to provide hunters and enforcement personnel with a commonsense definition and simple guidelines that could reduce the confusion and uncertainties about bear baiting and feeding. Thus allowing all parties to better comply with and enforce the law.
In October 2006, NCWRC brought forth their plan to remedy the situation. Instead of clarifying the existing regulation as requested, NCWRC felt it more appropriate to rewrite the regulations rather than try to explain what the former regulations meant. The NCWRC proposed regulations were developed entirely without NCBHA involvement or input.
In late October 2006, the NCBHA and NCWRC debated and argued over several key points in the proposed regulations. While some issues were modified, it was the opinion of the NCBHA that the overall proposal became even more difficult and confusing. The NCBHA felt that the proposed regulation was far too cumbersome and still failed to resolve many of the issues causing the problems.
Unfortunately, productive negotiations collapsed, and the NCWRC decided to take the proposal to the January public hearings despite the concerns and opposition of the NCBHA. Additionally, both the NCWRC and NCBHA agreed to separate natural (non-processed) food from the processed foods, thus allowing natural foods to be placed in the environment to feed deer and bear.
The NCBHA then had their opportunity to address their principal concern, which was the increased citing of bear hunters for taking bear with the aid of bait, simply because deer corn or other natural foods were present in the general area. Both parties understood the benefit of resolving this problem and agreed that bear hunters could check natural food bait sites with their hunting dog and could release dogs at the baited sites for the purpose of pursuing the bear or the bear's scent. As always a bear hunter may not kill a bear upon or in the immediate vicinity of a baited site.
A Law Is Drafted
Both parties agreed to draft a bill they would lobby and support throughout the legislative process. The bill was introduced in the state Senate by Senator Jenkins where it passed without opposition. It was moved to the House under the care of Representative Arthur Williams where it passed and was then sent to the Governor. On June 20th, 2007, Governor Mike Easley signed SB-1246 into law.