_"It's one of the toughest, most exhausting sports there is," said Roy Stiles, 64, of Travelers Rest, a longtime hunter and retired college professor. "You can track a bear for 15 miles before you tree it and shoot it -- and then you still have to drag it out of the woods." But this may be the last year that hunters anywhere in the country can prepare their dogs for these grueling outings by using an obscure practice called bear baying that dates back at least to the 1800s. Under criticism from animal rights groups, South Carolina is debating a legal ban on the practice of restraining a captive black bear while hunting dogs surround it and bark feverishly. The training, still popular in rural areas of this state, is designed to replicate the conditions of a wild bear encounter and to familiarize dogs with the animal's behavior.