As the 2012 black bear hunting season winds down, wildlife managers are calling attention to beefed up don't-feed-the-animals laws that are likely to affect rural human residents.
While it's been illegal to hunt black bear over baits since the mid-1990s, now, if either deliberately or negligently, it is against a new law to leave garbage or pet food available in such a manner that it attracts black bears to scavenge.
The new law's intent is to get at deliberate lurers of bears and other carnivores as well as people who through negligence or inattentiveness leave attractive nuisances that draw wild carnivores or omnivores into potentially close - and therefore dangerous - proximity to humans, homes and businesses.
The law is aimed mainly at curbing the frequency of scavenging bear encounters. A modern practical fact of life, say wildlife managers, is that "a fed bear is a dead bear," an unfortunate latter-day truism that's been foisted on bruins by a combination of arrogance, irresponsible behavior and court decisions.
NOW'S THE TIME FOR CHUM TO SHOW
Somewhere around the third week of October the last-of-the-calendar-year runs of wild and hatchery origin chum salmon begin showing on their spawning grounds in the Nooksack and Samish river basins.
That also means there will be dogs at the door of Maritime Heritage Center Hatchery in Old Town Bellingham at the mouth of Whatcom Creek.
While protected on their redd digging areas and in hatchery holding ponds, dogs, as these salmon are called, that are still in nearby mainstem channels are fair game.
And catching chums is not as difficult as it was once considered to be.
For more details about the new carnivore anti-feeding laws, the lures of chum salmon fishing plus more fishing and hunting news, read the Outdoors Column in the Sunday Herald.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.