Researchers say bear bait could be playing a role in the high density of bears in northern Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that new research from the state Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows bear bait makes up more than 40 percent of a black bear’s diet in the region.
Researchers sampled bear bait and native foods in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. They compared the samples to black bear tissues from 2011 to 2013.
Meat, candy or cookies are often used as bait. The state doesn’t allow bait to contain any animal parts or animal byproducts.
Researchers say more study is needed to determine how bait affects the bear population.
The area is home to more than 20,000 bears.