Online Bear Baiting Clinic
Bear Baiting Rules and Requirements
Bear baiting regulations can be complex and may change from year to year. It is your responsibility to review the current year's regulations for the game management units (GMUs) in which you intend to bait; these regulations are usually available in late June for the following July 1 - June 30 period. You can find the current Alaska Hunting Regulations and Bear Baiting Regulations on the Alaska Hunting Regulations page. Be sure to bring any questions to your local Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) or Alaska Wildlife Trooper office. All hunters must register their bait station with the department. All hunters, age 18 and older must complete the ADF&G's bear baiting clinic and, if bowhunting in Unit 7 and 14-16, an IBEP (Bowhunter) certification is required.
Bag Limits and Regulatory Year
Bag limits apply in a particular regulatory year, i.e., July 1 through the following June 30. That means, for example, if the statewide bag limit is one black bear and you have already harvested a black bear somewhere in Alaska during that regulatory year, then you cannot go to a different GMU where the regulations also list the bag limit as one black bear and harvest another bear during the remainder of that regulatory year. You have already taken your one bear for that year.
If instead the bag limit in a GMU you intend to hunt is three bears per year, then you may harvest a black bear in another part of the state first (where such harvest is allowed), and still harvest two more black bears in the "3-bears allowed" GMU. A hunter may only take multiple bears in one regulatory year by hunting in GMUs where the regulations allow it.
Bear Baiting Requirements
Before you set up a bait station, you must register at an ADF&G office. An individual hunter may register no more than two bear baiting stations in a regulatory year. However, you may also be eligible to hunt at someone else's bear baiting site(s), provided all appropriate registration and posting steps are taken (see below, under "Additional Hunters and Prohibition on Trade").
When you register your site(s), you will receive a sign to post at your stations, normally within view of your bait. Bears often destroy these signs so make copies and always have spare signs with you. The sign provided by ADF&G or any sign you make yourself must clearly show three things: text saying "Bear Bait Station"; your permit number; and the hunting license numbers of yourself and any other hunter(s) you've pre-approved to hunt at that bait station.
You may register your bait station 15 days before the start of the season, but bait cannot be placed in the field until the first day of the season. You may place bait at only two bait stations at the same time.
Additional Hunters and Prohibition on Trade for Services/Opportunities Provided
Hunters using the bait station of a registered bear baiter must obtain written permission from that person and must add their hunting license number to the posted sign, before hunting over bait at that site. A bait station registrant may not accept money, bartered goods, or services from someone who uses their bait station (i.e., a "guest hunter"). This does not apply to licensed guides who personally accompany clients at the bait station site.
Restrictions on Establishing a Bait Station
Anyone wanting to register a bait station in any GMU in Alaska must have successfully completed an ADF&G approved bear baiting clinic and be at least 18 years old.
ADF&G may prohibit bear baiting in local areas (for example, along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and in certain bays). A good time to ask questions about prohibited locales or activities is when you go to ADF&G to register your station(s).
A bait station may not be established within one-quarter mile from publicly maintained roads, trails, or the Alaska Railroad. This includes logging roads, if they are publicly maintained. In specific GMUs, a variety of additional restrictions may apply. These include a quarter-mile restriction applied to the shorelines of numerous major rivers and tributaries in Units 7, 14, and 15. See the Bear Baiting Seasons and Requirements page for more info. Restrictions may change from year to year so be sure to check the current year's regulations book, and check with your local ADF&G office, as you plan your hunt each year.
You may not set up a bait station within one mile from a house or other permanent dwelling, a developed campground, or other developed recreational area. This includes seasonally occupied cabins and your own home. However, bait may be used within one mile of a cabin if the cabin is on the opposite side of a major river system. Check with the local ADF&G office to see what major river systems are in the area. You should check with any local homeowners' association to help verify cabin locations. The Alaska Department of Natural Resources or the local borough office may be a good source of information on land ownership. Do your homework before you register a bait station.
Harvesting Brown Bears at Bear Baiting Sites
Brown bears may be taken at black bear bait stations subject to the same restrictions as black bear in Units 7, 11-13, 14A, 14B, 15-16, 18, 19A, 19D, 20A, 20B, 20C, 20D north of the Tanana River, 20E, 20F, 21C, 21D, 23, 24C, 24D, and 25D. In units where brown bears may not be harvested at black bear bait stations, no person who knows, or who should know, that a black bear bait station has been established in an area can legally take a brown bear in that same area. If the movements or behavior of the brown bear have been - or could have been - affected by the bait laid out for taking black bears, the brown bear is not legal to harvest.
Hunting Bears Over Bait the Same Day You Have Flown
In Units 7, 9, 11-13, 14A, 14B, 15-21, and 23-25 black bears (and brown bears where allowed, see units listed under "Harvesting Brown Bears at Bear Baiting Sites") may be taken at permitted bait stations the same day you have flown provided you are at least 300 feet from the airplane.
Registering a Bait Station: What to Bring
Be sure to come to the Fish & Game office with all required paperwork in hand. Here's what you'll need:
- You must know the exact location where you will put your station(s) and have a written description of how to get there; e.g., Jones Road mile 125, south one mile down public easement trail, head due east 1350 ft into the woods. With today's technology, most bear hunters have access to a Global Positioning System (GPS). Specifying GPS coordinates is an excellent way of registering your bait station. The proper format to use would be degrees followed by decimal minutes (e.g., N 61° 18.745' W 149° 57.836'). You must also note which format your GPS unit is set on: WGS 84, NAD 27, or NAD 83. Please check the current regulations as other GMUs may be added each year based on Board of Game action.
- Have your hunting license.
- Bring your bear baiting Clinic Certification (yellow copy) if you attended a traditional classroom clinic or your Online Clinic Certification if you completed the online course. If you successfully completed a certification but do not bring evidence of it, staff at the ADF&G office may be able to access the state's WINFONET database to verify your completion of the clinic. Computers can be slow or occasionally go 'down,' though. The best approach is to bring your own paperwork with you.
- Certain GMUs require an IBEP/NBEF Certification Card if you will be bowhunting at a bait site. You must carry your bowhunter certification while in the field. Be sure to check current year regulations because this requirement for bowhunters in some GMUs may be expanded to other units.
Site Cleanup Requirements
A bear baiting registrant must clean up each bear bait station when done for the season, and not later than the close of the season itself. Clean-up involve removing scent lures, litter, equipment, and bait (this includes all attractants) from the site. Equipment is defined as barrels, tree stands, game cameras, and other items associated with a bear bait station. Tree stands may be left in the field year-round with permission of the landowner or such other person authorized to give permission.
Sealing and Salvage Requirements
Please be aware sealing and salvage requirements vary from unit to unit. Check the current Alaska Hunting Regulations for sealing and salvage requirements for the unit in which you intend to hunt.
When sealing is required, the skull must be skinned from the hide and both must be unfrozen. Claws and evidence of sex must remain naturally attached to the hide for sealing.