Under the guidelines, any commercially-available mineral supplement is considered a processed food product, which would prohibit the taking of black bear or the release of dogs in the vicinity.
In North Carolina placement of processed food products in areas with an established bear hunting season is against the law. General Statute 113-294 defines a processed food product as any food substance or flavoring that has been modified from its raw components by the addition of ingredients or by treatment to modify its chemical composition or form or to enhance its aroma or taste.
The use of commercially available mineral supplements wasn't specifically addressed within the definition of processed food products under the state statute. That led to uncertainties about areas where mineral supplements had been placed for deer but also were open for bear hunting.
A resolution adopting the guidelines was approved by the governing board of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at its Oct. 19 meeting.
In areas containing non-processed food products, such as corn, sweet potatoes and peanuts, it is against the law to still hunt for bear. However, hunters using dogs to hunt bear may release dogs at a site containing these non-processed food products.
Placement of mineral supplements specifically for attracting or feeding deer remains legal. Bear hunters are reminded they cannot hunt or release dogs at these sites.
For more information, go online to www.ncwildlife.org or call (919) 707-0030.