Sep 16, 2010 at 5:54 am #1263350
Just finished a rather treacherous but beautiful walk from the Hidden Passage along the Canyon Rim Trail at Dolly Sods in West Virginia.
We ran into a number of hunters "running dogs" in preparation for the up coming bear gun season in WV.
Bear gun season! Am I just being naive? This seems an abomination to me. There just aren't that many black bears anymore. They are noble creatures who do us very little harm. In fact, they only really bother humans when they are defending their young or the nut crop has been poor and they are starving.
Mostly, we don't feed bears to protect the bears, not ourselves.
I can see killing a bear if it becomes dangerous, but tranquilizing and relocating seems to be the approach these days. Apparently, we are far more dangerous to the bears as they are to us.
StargazerSep 16, 2010 at 6:53 am #1646076
@owareLocale: Steptoe ButteSep 16, 2010 at 6:56 am #1646077
Perhaps we should not feed the bears Ramen noodles? ;-D
StargazerSep 16, 2010 at 7:01 am #1646079
Joe ClementBPL Member
I could never condone hunting bears with dogs, but I think saying that there aren't many black bears any more is a little off base. Or maybe just not many where you were? They seem to be exploding everywhere else.Sep 16, 2010 at 7:12 am #1646083
in the southeast they along with deer and turkey are exploding and moving into new territory, close to urban areas.Sep 16, 2010 at 7:32 am #1646087
Not terribly in favor of hunting them down but black bear populations have been growing at very fast rates in the last 50 years and I think are at historic highs since European colonization in many places (in the east at least.. certainly in NJ).Sep 16, 2010 at 7:39 am #1646089
Chris WBPL Member
That's not entirely true. It's more that urban sprawl and growth is displacing bear habitats. We put urban areas closer to the bears, not the other way around.Sep 16, 2010 at 7:40 am #1646090
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Here's info on the 2009 season from the CA DFG.
"The bear season closed on December 16 when the Department received notification of 1,700 bears harvested statewide pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 365. The Department subsequently notified all bear tag holders, the Fish and Game Commission and media outlets of the season closure pursuant to subsection 708(e)(Id.).
In all, 24,805 bear hunters purchased tags, as reported by the License and Revenue Branch. This total consisted of 24,520 resident bear tags and 285 non-resident bear tags. Total bear tag sales in 2009 was 2.3% less than 2008 bear tag sales but 10.4% greater than the previous ten years’ average.
This season, 1,900 black bears were reported harvested, which is 6.7% less than the reported take in 2008 (see Figure 1). Of the 1,900 bears harvested, 40% were female, 57% were male and 3% were unreported or marked unknown."
The current DFG black bear estimate for California is
25,000 to 30,000. That's 15,000 to 20,000 higher than DFG numbers from the 1980's.
Now I'm not into hunting bear.
But I strongly suspect that 1,900 out of 25,000 to 30,000 is hardly going to wipe a population out.
As for ethics and conservation, I'd far rather spend my time and energy fighting a culture of industrial feed lots, overfishing, and the pervasive madness/cruelty that goes into stocking fast food restaurants and the meat section of your supermarket than what a hunter is shooting and putting in his or her freezer.
If we want to save the bears (and I'm not saying that's what this post or the OP is implying, just philosophizing here), fighting land developers would go a whole lot further than poo-pooing bear hunters.
I totally agree with your original post Thomas. Bears are noble and do us no harm and I personally see no reason to hunt them.
That being said, plenty of people do eat them.
What creature that we kill for food or otherwise isn't noble and harmless to us?Sep 16, 2010 at 7:54 am #1646092
John NausiedaBPL Member
According to today's paper bears are having a tough year in most of the West .
http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2010/09/poor_berry_crop_pushes_hungry_bears_near_humans.htmlSep 16, 2010 at 8:18 am #1646100
Michael LBPL Member
While urban sprawl is happening. The regrowth and reintroduction of bears back into their habitat is what we see in TX. They had pretty much been hunted out a long time ago, but are now showing back up.Sep 16, 2010 at 8:22 am #1646104
>fighting land developers would go a whole lot further than poo-pooing bear hunters.
Have to agree with you here, mate. It's what I do most frequently, especially around Perkins Observatory, which I have devoted the last 25 years trying to save.
StargazerSep 16, 2010 at 10:02 am #1646128
@michaeltn2Locale: Northern Virginia
I guess the land development that took place in order to provide your homes, workplaces, etc. was OK, it's just bad for those other people that came after you.Sep 16, 2010 at 10:12 am #1646130
>I guess the land development that took place in order to provide your homes, workplaces, etc. was OK, it's just bad for those other people that came after you.
Look. mate. My observatory was built in the middle of nowhere – on purpose — in 1923. There wasn't another building within four miles. I live 20 miles away, on purpose, so as not to participate in the end the life of my beloved institution.
_Everybody_ came after us. I don't mind development. People need places to live, etc. I just mind it when folks move into the country to escape the city and drag all the evils of the city with them. If you want city life, live in the city. Don't ruin the wilderness or a farming area by exporting your city conveniences. Or, in other words, you can't have it both ways.Sep 16, 2010 at 10:13 am #1646131
Chris WBPL Member
One look at the housing market and abundance of vacant new construction says we're developing more than we need. Same goes for businesses. Do we really need a Walmart in every square mile?Sep 16, 2010 at 10:16 am #1646132
W I S N E R !BPL Member
Michael, are you suggesting something or just arguing for arguments sake? I.E. limited vs. unlimited growth, no regulation vs. regulation of development in certain areas, etc.,
Obviously the land we currently live on has been developed.
But that does not by default mean that we rush ahead with all development in all places completely unchecked.
The people of a given region should have a say in what happens in their region.
Some will be on the side of developers. Some will not.
It's called democracy.Sep 16, 2010 at 10:24 am #1646135
@carlbeckerLocale: Northern Virginia
I would agree that we are far more dangerous than black bears or any other animal. Black bears can be very dangerous and those that get used to humans probably should be destroyed. IMHO the best thing to do is keep them afraid of humans. Hunting is one way of doing that, the bears that stay away or hide survive. As long as the meat is used and the population is not depleted then I don't have a problem with the hunter's or dogs. Personally I don't hunt or feed wildlife, I do like to see and photograph wildlife when ever I get the chance. I have not been to Dolly Sods in a long time. Great place!Sep 16, 2010 at 10:33 am #1646137
One thing not mentioned is the natural order of life. Before humans, the plants, animals, birds, fish, and entire species came and went. Populations grew and died, and nature took care of itself. If a particular species got out of control, eventually the natural order of things brought it back down.
But now we're here, and we "decide" when a population is "too many" because it doesn't jive with how we *think* nature is supposed to be. Or it doesn't jive with our political, economical, or personal motivations.
All the time I keep hearing of how we need to keep the coyote and wolf populations under control so they don't kill so many deer. Its not the deer we're protecting, but the hunting industry! Lawmakers couldn't give a rats Ass about the deer, but they do care about their constituency (and their pockets).
The human race is no longer in a balanced coexistence with nature; it's rather more of a zookeeper.
We're the only species that has the ambition to do what we please without regard for anything else on the planet. And unfortunately, we have the resources and unchecked population growth to continue to do that.
Instead of controlling so many other populations, I'd go so far to say that we need to focus on controlling our OWN population!Sep 16, 2010 at 10:42 am #1646138
>Instead of controlling so many other populations, I'd go so far to say that we need to focus on controlling our OWN population!
As Isaac Asimov wrote,
All of the problems of the world can be summed up in three words: Too many people.
In fact, one of the reasons that I hike is to get away from my miraculous and wonderful (no sarcasm here) compatriots on the planet.
Don't get me wrong. I love people. I love them even more if I can get away from them and their mini-malls occasionally for a few days.
StargazerSep 16, 2010 at 10:45 am #1646140
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Would I hunt bear? No. But some folks like to. While I might not like that they do it is their legal right to do it. It is licensed by the state.
If a person doesn't like it, well then complain to your elected officials. Simple as that.
But you might be shocked to find out how few tags are issued a year in states with bear hunting. Not many overall.
OTOH….using dogs for hunting bothers me considerably. Many states that is banned.Sep 16, 2010 at 10:53 am #1646146
Yep, I'm not a fan of bear hunting with dogs. For those of you who don't know what that entails, here ya go (at least this is how they do it in northern WI:
Bear hunters drive around the forest roads with their dogs in their truck. The best scent dog is usually is perched on the hood of the truck. When it picks up the bear's scent, it starts barking like crazy. The rest of the dogs are let out and they run through the forest tracking the bear's scent. Then, the hunter's turn on their equipment that tracks the radio-collard dogs. If the dogs find a bear, often the bear will run up a tree to escape the dogs. This is called "treeing" the bear. The hunters show up soon after, via their radio-tracking equipment. They stand under the tree with the bear in it, and, well, you know, fish in a barrel.
I've even heard of some bear hunters who basically torture the animal. They either leave the dogs under the tree, barking at the scared bear for hours, or they call off the dogs and wait until the bear begins coming down the tree. then they let the dogs loose again. One guy I've heard of does this, but jabs the bear in the butt with a big stick as well.Sep 16, 2010 at 1:18 pm #1646187
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Ignorance is mostly what I hear in this thread.
Hunting with hounds is probably the most physically
demanding hunting sport. Trying to keep up with dogs
while running cross country for several hours in hot sun
or snow is much like running an endurance race while
carrying a pack full of gear. There are few places so
roaded you could track your dogs by truck. Tracking collars
are banned in many places, so to find your dogs you have
to listen for their baying, and try to keep up.
A prime coonhound can bring $5000, so you don't want to lose one.
The pressure is on, so it is tough to pace yourself.
Trailing bears with dogs has also been found useful in
keeping bears away from habitations and roads, in the
end keeping them safe.Sep 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm #1646198
Hikin’ JimBPL Member
@hikin_jimLocale: Orange County, CA, USA
Yuck. Pretty sad when someone is deliberately cruel like that to an animal. I imagine that it's a small minority of hunters that would do that.
I worry about hunters since there are hikers that are shot from time to time by careless hunters. Thankfully, that doesn't happen often, but I'm always more than just a little bit nervous during deer season.
Black bears, at least here in California are not in short supply. I'm not a hunter myself, so hunting is a bit of a turn off for me, but I don't think the hunting that is occurring is threatening the existence.
Interesting trivia: The black bears here in the Los Angeles area (and points south) are not native to the area. They were introduced by hunters.
HJSep 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm #1646203
I'm not saying there's not a physically demanding aspect of bear hunting, but where I am, there are many, many roads, old logging trails, and fire lanes where trucks can drive. You're usually not more than 1/2 mile from one of these. One time I saw some guy driving down the road with his radio antenna (for the dogs) in one hand pointed out the window.
Maybe its more sporting in other areas, but I personally don't like the way its done in my area.
However, as you said, David, this does keep bears more afraid of humans, which keeps them safer, and less prone to assaulting us gram weenies out on the trail.Sep 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm #1646205
Yes, I'm quite sure the majority of hunters are responsible. But, as with anything, there are the careless people who shoot at anything that moves. This is when people and other animals get maimed or killed.
My dad was out deer hunting once and ran across a deer that had one leg blown off. What does this mean? Some guy was out there lobbing bullets at either an inappropriate range, under inappropriate foliage cover, had inappropriate equipment, or inappropriate skills. Or any combination of the above. Yes, mistakes happen, but it is beyond me how you could miss that bad with the scopes and rifles we have today.
I'm really not against hunting at all, as long as the proper care and skill is exercised.Sep 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm #1646246
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
On hound hunting and bear baiting with dogs – it was outlawed in 1996 in Wa state by an overwhelming majority of the voters. Not a bad thing overall. It did even the playing field a bit more for the bears. Bear season still goes on – just altered. You cannot use dogs for cougars either.
It is interesting that WV still allows dogs. The law I mentioned above shows that while society accepts hunting they do see a line that was crossed in cruelty to the hunted.
In the summer 2003 I witnessed a group of campers using their dogs to harass a black bear and reported it. And they were ticketed for it.
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