Heal Our Planet Earth
Anti Trophy Hunting
Anti Trophy Hunting
Wilderness Committee Educational Report

Vol.15 - No.13, Fall 1996

The following debate between Anthony Marr, WCWC's BET'R Campaigner, and a typical B.C. bear hunter. A composite drawn from actual meetings and radio talks shows in communities across B.C. during Marr's road tour.

TBH - Typical Bear Hunter
AM - Anthony Marr, WCWC's BET'R campaigner

TBH: "Your campaign is based only on emotion. There is no biological basis or reasons behind your demand that bear hunting ends"

AM: "Although we believe that the killing of bears for pleasure (recreational hunting) and for vanity (trophy hunting) is morally indefensible, we also have biological reasons for wanting to end the sport hunting of bears in B.C. Grizzly bear populations are declining and the species is now listed as "threatened." Although black bears are not yet considered 'at risk', population estimates are extremely variable and poaching is increasing. Four out of seven of Earth's bear species are already endangered. We must start to protect our bears before they, too, are in such dire straight as, say, the Asiatic Black bear."

TBH: "You are challenging our right to hunt. This is wrong in principle."

AM: "I am concerned about the bears' right to survival. I am focusing on all threats, including habitat loss. I am also challenging the long-standing Oriental tradition and 'right' to use animal parts for medicine, an effort that hunters support."

TBH: "You are lumping us law-abiding hunters in with lawless poachers."

AM: "Do you indulge in bait hunting? (Editors note: putting out food so that those animals attracted to it can be shot at point blank range.)"

TBH: "Of course not. It is illegal, and not right."

AM: "Baiting is legal in Washington state. Does that make it right there? The issue is not one of simply law, which changes with the thinking of society, but what is right given the current precarious state of wildlife on this planet."

TBH: "Hunters are the only true and effective conservationists."


AM: "According to whom?"


TBH: "Former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, for one."


AM: "Theodore Roosevelt predated the environmental movement by nearly half a century and lived at a time when wilderness dominated the planet. People now dominate the planet and many species have been driven to extinction. Today, conservationists fight to protect wildlife for its own sake, not for theirs."

TBH: "Hunters go after older, breeding-age animals. It's a good way to control population." (Terrance Standard - July 10)

AM: "Unlike other predators, who go after the weakest prey, thus genetically strengthening the prey species, hunters go after the most magnificent specimens, thus weakening the species."

TBH: "If you get rid of hunting, there'll be a bear population explosion."

AM: "Natural biological controls, such as food shortages, lower birth rate and intraspecies competition and predation will keep the population level steady."

TBH: "Why target legal hunters when poachers are the culprit?"

AM: "As far as the bears are concerned, hunters and poachers are all bear-killers. We target both hunters and poachers as well as traffickers and habitat destroyers to ensure that bears will survive over the long term."

TBH: "You should go after the Asians and their use of bear parts, not us hunters."

AM: "Check out the media coverage of our BET'R Campaign over the last year. We have confronted the Asian community's use of bear parts long before the inception of the Ban Bear Hunting Referendum Initiative, and will continue to do so after the Referendum Initiative ends."

TBH: "Hunting is not killing; it goes way beyond that. It's a form of communing with nature. I can't expect you to understand."

AM: "Hunting is not killing? Some humans may buy that argument, but not the bears. It's not necessary to kill in order to appreciate and enjoy nature."

TBH: "Hunters are the anti-poaching field force. We are the eyes and ears for the conservation officers."

AM: "Relying on hunters to watch out for poachers is like letting coyotes safeguard sheep from wolves. We need to add more conservation officers, but there are also other hunters, hunting deer and moose for example, who can keep a watch. Further, without bear hunters, poachers will be much easier to spot, since anyone seen killing a bear or possessing bear parts would be a poacher."

TBH: "Bear hunting is the only hunting with a spring season. Without us bear hunters, there'll be no one out there watching out for poachers during this season when the bears are coming out of hibernation and are so vulnerable."

AM: "Yes, there will be-hikers, campers, mushroom pickers. They now easily outnumber bear hunters a thousand to one. Also the spring bear hunt is so ecologically unsound that 42 of 48 lower U.S.A. states have banned it."

TBH: "WCWC pulls numbers out of a hat. (Morning Sun - July 31) They're playing with figures fast and loose." (Times-Colonist - June 20)

AM: "All WCWC figures are quoted from published writings of internationally recognized bear research authorities, with references given, whereas hunters tend to quote the highest populations estimates available, and the lowest poaching estimates made by some B.C. government employees."

TBH: "Banning bear hunting is WCWC's first step to banning all hunting."

AM: "We have made may public statements to the contrary. In WCWC's 16 years of conservation work, it has always supported subsistence and food hunting as well as aboriginal hunting and trapping rights."

TBH: "Many interior and northern towns economically depend on hunting."

AM: "Bear hunting is only a small percentage of the total hunting activity. Additionally, there is a far greater potential for generating local jobs and revenues through eco-tourism than through the sport hunting of bears."

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