The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is reminding hunters that only raw products are legal when using peanuts and peanut products for the supplemental feeding of black bears or when being placed in locations where the Commission has established a bear hunting season.
North Carolina law prohibits the placement of “processed food products” in any area where the Wildlife Resources Commission has set an open bear hunting season. However, hunters routinely supplement naturally available food with commercially available products, and the law allows hunters to release dogs in the vicinity of any food product that is not a “processed food product.”
Raw peanuts, shelled or in the shell, do not constitute a processed food product.
Processed peanut products include those that have been blanched, which swells the nut and cracks the skin for easy removal. Byproducts of the blanching (which are also sometimes sold by manufacturing facilities)will contain peanuts or pieces of peanuts, skins and pieces of peanuts. They are no longer considered raw, but processed, and are unlawful to place in locations the Commission has set an open season for taking black bears.
After blanching, the peanuts may be further cooked for roasting, and left whole or crushed to varying sizes. Roasted peanuts and their byproducts, which include coarse or finely crushed peanuts and their meal, are also considered “processed food products.” It is unlawful to place them in locations the Commission has set an open season for taking black bears.
After the final roasting, peanuts may be further processed into a range of products, including peanut butter. Peanut butter is also processed, and therefore it is unlawful to use it in locations where the Wildlife Resources Commission has set an open season for taking black bears.
For more information on hunting regulations in North Carolina, see the Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest.