Throwing spears to kill a bear is legal - and Canadians don't understand the law
|(A picture of someone spear hunting a much uglier animal that no one raises a fuss about)|
A couple of notes first. Black bear are not Kodiaks, or Polar Bears, they are about the least aggressive of all bear species. Here’s the Parks Canada recommendations on what to do if a black bear attacks you:
If you cannot escape and a bear continues its pursuit, react aggressively and try to intimidate the bear.If this fails, fight back with anything at hand such as bear spray, rocks, sticks, knives or other possible weapons to let the bear know that you are not easy prey. Act as a group if you are part of one. Don't forget to yell; help may be close by.
While we’re on the subject of hunting practices, lets talk about “baiting”. Bear baiting is in itself a controversial practice. Many humane societies see it as unethical, and many hunters see it as against the idea of “fair chase”.
If you’re not familiar (which is likely) with the practice it basically goes like this. When people hunt in large open areas, they can spy their prey from miles off, make a beeline and bag a kill. When people hunt in the woods however, their visibility is reduced to basically 20 feet due to all the trees and what not. So instead of tracking for days only to bag a small kill, people who “bait” will setup a bait piles several weeks in advance, then show up on the day they want to hunt and wait for a bear to show up to the pile of food they’ve become accustom to eating from. Here’s the humane society of America describing the same thing.
“Bear baiting involves intensive feeding of black bears to make them easier target… It occurs typically weeks in advance of hunting seasons to accustom bears to feeding in a certain area. Hunters stack donuts, candy, grease, rotting garbage, corn, fish, meat and other high-calorie foods in the bait piles. Legal in many states, the practice is unsporting and inhumane, increases conflicts with humans and carries environmental consequences.”
While I’ll admit that I’m not trying to cast this hunter in any sort of positive light, that’s mostly due to my disdain for the skill (or lack there off) involved in hunting that uses baiting. The thing is though, Alberta is fine with it. They always have been. There has never been laws against baiting, and its common practice. So if you want someone to blame, blame Alberta.
|(Alberta - in red, just in case Canadians need a picture to help them blame things)|
So when people come out and say “This guy should be arrested” it’s completely baseless. Alberta is now in the process of making spear hunting bears illegal (great use of time) but instead of understanding the Canadian legal system they have decided to start a witch-hunt after the hunter
"In the meantime, we have asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate this incident to determine if charges are warranted under existing laws.”
There’s no precedent for legal action, and there’s no one to blame but the government.
You can go hunting for polar bears, (a vulnerable species) with a company that offers a 100% success rate, you can bait bears in Alberta so you don’t have to track your kill, you could even go to the other side of the country and hit a seal with a club if that’s your thing. These are all legal, government sanctioned actions.
Getting mad at the hunters in this situation, the same hunters who are likely paying the government thousands for the privilege of killing a Canadian animal, is crazy. If Canadians want to get their knickers in a twist over hunting practices then get mad at the government, not at the hunter who admittedly has a pretty decent spear throwing arm. Hunters are just playing by the rules Alberta's government has set out and are only now trying to change the law, in order to shift the bad PR away from practices they absolutely condone.
|(Nobody seems to be mad at this hunter, even though shooting a polar bear rarely kills it|
and they struggle for life for much longer than the black bear in question did)