The Truth About Bears, Beers and Hunting
The 2012 squirrel hunting season in Louisiana set to kick off this weekend may come with a warning.
Wildlife officials warn small game hunters not to go armed with corn into wooded areas unless they want to tangle with a big game species.
Louisiana's Black Bear population has increased so much so that hunters might want to consider their wildlife eating and drinking habits, according to one Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist.
John Robinette, of The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries Lake Charles office, said that especially during the winter hunting seasons, Louisiana hunters may want to avoid the use of deer corn in automated feeders to lure deer.
Robinette said "corn is like candy to bears."
"Food plots are a preferred alternative to feeders," said Robinette. "The use of timed feeders is less attractive to bears than other methods that do not scatter the feed. Bears would prefer to belly up to the buffet and scoop pawfuls of food, rather than take the time to pick individual grains of corn."
During the Fall, Louisiana Black Bears are foraging for food for the winter. However, the Summer months are different. Bears aren't foraging in the Summer months, but squirrel hunters need to be wary of any type of food or drink that may contain corn as an ingredient.
Almost anything and everything nowadays has corn as an ingredient, even sodas with corn syrup and some beers (especially Mexican beers) are brewed from corn. While wildlife officials do not condone alcoholic beverages such as beer while hunting for safety reasons, campers who may be relaxing in the woods need to be advised.
Campers need to make sure the beer they are drinking is not brewed from corn, as it may attract the curiously, thirsty Louisiana Black Bear. Corona is a bad idea for campers.
Robinette said a clean hunting and camping site is a deterrent for bears.
"Bears are normally shy and not agressive towards humans," he said. " Hunters in areas with large black bear populations may consider purchasing a dispenser of 'bear spray'. Nearly all close encounters that hunters (or campers) have with black bears are the result of a curious bear rather than an agressive bear."
He said that "bear spray" is a good insurance policy to send bears packing.