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Banning Chocolate As Bear Bait In New Hampshire Causes Stir

By Rik Stevens, The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire's proposal to ban all chocolate as hunting bait after four bears died last year has stirred intense debate between hunters who say the ban is an overreaction and those who say the risk of chocolate poisoning is too great.

For generations, hunters have used human goodies to lure bears to a specific site where they claim their trophy.

The practice came under scrutiny in September after four black bears were found dead at a bait site in Stark. State scientists said they died from a toxic level of theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate.

Baiting is becoming more popular in New Hampshire: Hunters using bait in 2014 took 52 percent of the total harvest, compared with just 15 percent in 1992.