Online Bear Baiting Clinic
Ethics and Responsibilities

How bear baiters behave in the field and while around other outdoor users can have a significant impact on the future of all hunting activities. Cavalier or disrespectful behavior, for example, can give the sport a bad reputation, cause public opinion on it to sour (especially where public lands are concerned), and result in reduced hunting opportunities. All hunters should be familiar with the legal and ethical issues surrounding their sport. The laws and regulations are clear, and all of us have the responsibility to abide by them. But what are ethics?

Ethics are standards of behavior or conduct which are considered morally right, above and beyond the written law. Ethics apply to all users of the outdoors, including hunters. A good example of an ethical bear baiter would be a person who: a) is knowledgeable about and respectful both of the animals hunted and the requirements of the land owner; b) has practiced marksmanship enough to ensure a clean humane shot, c) abides by all wildlife regulations, and d) always behaves in a way that will satisfy what society as a whole – and other outdoor users in particular – expect(s) of them as a hunter and fellow outdoor enthusiast. The standard backcountry motto of “leave no trace” is a good way to reduce potential conflicts and bad feelings with other outdoor users of an area. Think of it not as being secretive about your activities, but as being respectful to the land, the wildlife, and others interested in accessing and enjoying those resources. Simply stated, ethics are a code of honor, i.e., how you behave, whether or not someone is watching you.


  1. Ethics goes beyond what the law requires: Through your actions, seek to promote positive impressions of bear baiters, especially among other outdoor users.
  2. Respect the rights of other bear baiters, and other outdoor users (including hunters that may not personally practice, or even support, bear baiting).
  3. Consider yourself an invited guest of the landowner and get their permission before using the land.
  4. Keep bait stations and your activities inconspicuous, and thoroughly clean up your site after use.
  5. Especially if using public lands, consider practicing "leave no trace" as a means to boost public acceptance of bear baiting and other forms of hunting.
  6. Give fellow bear baiters plenty of room; avoid bear site "squatting."
  7. Obey rules of safe firearms handling and encourage others to do so.
  8. Acquire good marksmanship and hunting skills to ensure clean kills.
  9. Obey game laws and regulations, and insist that your companions do so.
  10. Report violations and don’t tolerate others’ illegal or irresponsible behavior.
  11. Instill in new hunters the skills and values necessary for them to become responsible, ethical hunters.
  12. Be an ambassador for all types of hunting, and an advocate for outdoor activities in general.
  13. Support conservation of lands and resources, and the growing movement to get more people outdoors (including those who may not be interested in ‘pulling the trigger’).