The unethical practice of owl baiting for photography

Nature lover Anthony Zerafa penned a post shared widely on Facebook by supporters of The Fur-Bearers this week, after witnessing the blatant baiting of a Northern Hawk-Owl by a group of photographers in Quebec. His original post and photo are included in this blog. Minor changes were made due to legal concerns.

The Fur-Bearers would like to thank Anthony for his educational efforts – and hope that it will go a long way in ending the unethical and dangerous practice of wildlife baiting (of all species) for photography.

"I witnessed an unfortunate scene in [removed due to legal concerns], Québec. I travelled there to catch a glimpse of the NORTHERN HAWK-OWL that has been frequenting the area. My delight in finding the owl was short-lived as I realized it was being baited by a group of photographers. The photographers were using a live mouse trapped in a clear jar as bait to lure the owl to fly toward them so that they could take some close-up photos of the bird in hunting mode. Owl baiting is widely condemned as an unethical form of photography by conservation and photography groups alike. Unfortunately, owl baiting continues to recur every year despite the abundance of resources condemning the practice. Snowy Owls and Northern Hawk-Owls spend much of their life in some of the most remote regions on the planet, away from humans. When these species travel down south in winter and encounter humans who feed them, they quickly learn to associate humans with food. This leads to the owls frequenting roadways where people are and where they have a very high chance of being struck by a vehicle (owls are very prone to dying in vehicle collisions because they fly very low off the ground). The scene on January 2, 2017 was very unfortunate but also not surprising. I am sharing this post in the hopes that it might help raise further awareness on the unethical practice of owl baiting.

An informative article by the National Audubon Society:

Audubon's Guide to Ethical Bird Photography:

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