Fair chase hunting: Moral? Ethical? Hunter preference? We also look at core issues related to the future of hunting such as hunting ethics, huntereducation, the public trust of wildlife, and the North American Model of Wildlife Management.
Fair? It's not meant to be. It's meant to appeal to emotion to get people to vote a certain way, and I'd think it would be very effective. Of course it would be possible to make video giving the view of CA bear hunting folks presented in such a way as to sway opinion in the opposite direction and if combined with enough repetition on the TV you could pretty much assure yourself that an anti bear hounding measure would never pass in CA. All that's needed is money and the will. Robb Cadwell
Except for the piece on the starving dogs, it's pretty much spot on with what I have witnessed.
Robb, just what would the "CA bear hunting folks" present that could counter some of the brutal realities of hound hunting? I imagine you're suggesting talking points without footage. Because any footage of the end result -- a treed bear being shot from from a high branch -- is shocking enough to sway most non-hunters against this practice. In terms of the "fairness" of this video, you need look no further than YouTube where hunting groups post their own hounding videos. There's nothing extreme in what I see here, based on the reality of the sport.
Hound hunters have single handedly wiped out a large population of black bears over a 4 year period where we live. 4 and 5 truckloads of "party hunters show up on weekends, drink all night, then run 20 - 30 hounds through our valley. They often don't have tags so they'll just run the bears for a mile or two until their dogs tree the bear, then they just collar the dogs and walk away. With the strange, late winters we've been having lately, we're assuming those bears starve to death after "stress burning" off their winter fat, which has been proven to be the case in other areas. All the hunters I know refer to them as "Cheaters". We've had bear hunters in our valley for decades and they actually stalk and "work" the bears towards their partners. It's hard, rough terrain walking at high altitude. The bear population's been stable for years. Now they're gone. No new scat anywhere this past year.We need those bears to break up the deadfall as these droughts worsen and beetles keep killing our pine trees. Fire suppression is a big issue in the upper Sierra now. These hounders are lazy cowards. Fair Chase.... no way.
Our experience with hounding in Vermont has been that we have a higher population of bears than ever and fewer negative human/bear encounters. Because we have a long inefficient hunting season and the hounders limit their kill mostly to adult males or bears causing damage, our bears have learned to stay away from people most of the time. So, even though it is counter intuitive, running bears with hounds lets us live with a lot more bears than places like Colorado and the national parks when hounding and hunting bear respectively is not allowed.
Anonymous #3 asked me how I'd make a video advertisement in support of hounding. A good propagandist could make eating live kittens seem humane and compassionate, but ultimately making pro bear hunt propaganda advertisements is just as wrong as the anti advertisements because we should not be managing wildlife by referendum, period.In our state we invest millions of dollars to hire and equip the most educated, trained, and dedicated wildlife professionals to be had. The waiting list to get on with our division of wildlife is very long and very competitive. I'd much rather they make those sorts of decisions because they know much better than you or I what is the best way to manage black bears. Our wildlife professionals manage our bear population very carefully and adjust the number of tags allowed in each unit to try to keep populations at desired levels. None the less a few units have overpopulations and even with generous tags we don't seem to be able to make a dent in them. If we had hounding those numbers could be brought down to where we want them. Every year we waste untold thousands, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars having rangers haras and often kill black bears. I'd much rather they were doing public outreach like some of those great education programs they do for kids. With hounding instead of spending extra money we'd be making it from licenses. One of the finest books ever written by an American is about a bear hunt amongst other things, It's by William Faulkner called The Bear. Bear hunting with dogs is that deep in our culture.I don't hunt with hounds, and I don't bait or trap. I'm not smart enough or committed enough, but I certainly respect and admire those who do and I certainly know of no hunter who would ever call such people "cheaters". Robb Cadwell