New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioners have voted unanimously to ban using chocolate as bear bait.
The ban will be phased in beginning September 1st of this year. Hunters will be allowed to use chocolate donuts and pastries this season, in order to use up any supplies of bait they’ve already purchased, but all chocolate will be prohibited in the 2016 season.
Andrew Timmons, Fish and Game’s bear biologist, praised the decision, though he he admits it’s still not clear exactly how much chocolate is fatal. “Not knowing doesn’t mean you ignore it. What not knowing everything means is that you err on the side of being conservative," he said, "We know these materials are toxic to bears and critters, and I think we made the choice for the resource today which is great.”
The proposal stems from an incident last fall when four black bears were found dead at a bait site in the town of Stark. Wildlife officials say the death was from an overdose of a chemical found in cocoa, known as theobromine.