Monday, February 01, 2010

Bang Bang Bear

The State wildlife officials are once again planning on opening up San Luis Obispo County to trophy hunting of bears. The plan showed up again last year but enough people protested that officials went back to do a study so they could justify the hunt. (Initially the argument was the county was so overrun with black bears, bears coming out of cupboard, flooding the streets, pulling a reverse Goldilocks and moving into everyone’s houses like an unwelcome Auntie Ninny Com To Visit, that we all needed to grab our guns and start blasting away just to reduce the varmints to a manageable level.

But the study showed a stable population of about 1,067 bears in the county and, as the Jan 31st Tribune reports, as many as 50 bears could be “taken.”

“The area of the county proposed for the hunt is bound by Highway 1 on the west and Highway 58 and the Salinas River on the east. . . . “ “If approved, the bear hunt would be concurrent with the deer season and would frun from Sept 11 to Dec 26. nonlead bullets would be required to protect California condors from lead poisoning.”

Further, the Tribune reports, “The biologists say hunting could reduce the number of nuisance encounters between bears and people.” although the proposed bear hunt wouldn’t target nuisance bears. Any old bear ambling around the middle of the wilderness could be shot.

Wildlife groups point out that the bear population is stable (unlike deer that often need to be culled so as to not overburden their food supply), the habitat of bears is declining as population pushes into their territory, game warden staffing is down, thereby making monitoring nearly impossible, and if the problem with bears is nuisance bears, those can be targeted by wildlife officials so a wide-open hunt isn’t needed.

The public can get more information and/or offer public comment at

For me, this story is so typical of human nature. Wildlife is increasingly under threat from loss of habitat due to human sprawl. And global warming will bring even more lethal changes to all manner of wild things. Indeed, if the idea is to kill bears, just wait a while and a whole species of them will be wiped out entirely when the polar ice packs are gone.

In short, we are endlessly awash in death; two wars, pandemics, tsunamis, floods, hundreds of thousands dead in Haiti. Daily, the world is simply filled to the brim with death, with even more promised in our future. You’d think that would be enough to satisfy us. But no, apparently not. We still have a small group of “sportsmen” lobbying hard to be able to go kill bears in the empty wild places of this county just so they can display a dead bear head on their walls as a “trophy.”

Isn’t it amazing how much some people need to kill things for no real reason at all?


Mike said...

I will be so happy when grizzly bears are re-introduced to the Valley of the Bears... once all the poor people have to move away when they can't afford a sewer...

Yup, let's bring back them good ol' days before the white man kild all dem bars... and pooped in the magic sands...

Mike Green said...

Think of this.
Where would the cow be if it wasn't tasty?
Probably on an endangered list for sure.
The chicken?
Same as a DoDo.
A good argument can be made that some regulations pertaining to "wild" food actually decrease the populations of some of that food items.( and yes, what we are talkin about is bear meat here)
A good study of this inverse reality of plants and animals has a very good book in Polan's Botany of Desire.
The question is:
If bear meat is so tasty that folks will spend the necessary effort to get it, and it seems that the native flora can provide sustenance to a growing population, why is a cattle ranch different than a bear ranch?
Is BooBoo better than Flossy?

Sewertoons said...

You mean to say that these hunters intend to EAT these dead bears, not just throw their pelts onto the floor and stuff their heads and nail them to the walls?

Not just shoot them for fun and let them rot like the buffalo?

To follow your logic Mike Green, we like to eat crow? No shortages there.

Mike said...

...just how many permits are going to be issued for SLO County...???

10, 100, 1000, 1,000,000...???

Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"just how many permits are going to be issued for SLO County...???"

Tribune says the new plan is to issue 50 bear permits a year. The study showed a stable population of 1,067 in the county now. That number would rise or fall, depending on environmental conditions, i.e. fire, drought, loss of habitat, drop in deer population or food supply & etc.

The question I find so interesting is why go kill bear in the back country in the first place? I can certainly see having trackers take out maurauding bears (or tranquilize them and haul them further back country) but other than that, what's the point? Sport? What's sporting about sneaking up on a bear and killing it (at a safe distance) with a high-powered rifle? Or chasing it up a tree with a pack of dogs and shooting the frightened creature from a safe distance. What's the point? If the joy is in the stalk, bring a camera. If the "sport" is in the stalk, see who can get closest to the bear without getting mauled. Or start up a new sport, the old Dan'l Boone Ba'r Wrestling Contest.

If course, if the joy is in the killing, that's my original question: isn't it strange how much in love with killing some people are.

Toonces Sez:"You mean to say that these hunters intend to EAT these dead bears, not just throw their pelts onto the floor and stuff their heads and nail them to the walls?"

Tribune uses the term "trophy hunting." I'm sure some hunters do eat bear meat. But I don't think the hunters lobbying for an opened hunt are doing so because they are protein starved or are so impoverished that they are in desperate need of this meat to feed their starving families. I'd be willing to bet that if F&G trackers were allowed to sell the "nuisance" bears they have to kill, that would likely satisfy the needs for people desperate for the taste of bear meat. Or, heck, sell (donate to charity for a fund-raising BBQ) the road kill bears, which is what I think was done some time back for a bear killed on Cuesta Grade.

And Mike's comment re cow/bear. Meat is meat. We don't cringe at killing dogs (millions a year at dog pounds) but cringe at eating their flesh, which is an awful waste of protein when you think of it. And we happily kill and eat cows with nary a cringe. Cow/bear/dolphin/whale/dog/deer/goat/buffalo, etc. You're right. Meat is meat.But we don't refer to killing cows as "trophy hunting."

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

From what I understand swine are at least as intelligent and trainable as dogs.

I've heard some say that they don't name the farm animals they intend to eat to avoid bonding with them. They say it's hard to kill or send to slaughter an animal you've named.

Alon Perlman said...

I met a wise fellow in a Bar in Baywood who once killed a bear, didn’t recon to ask if he ate him too, wouldn’t see why not.

I’ll try to get it back on LOCAC Agenda
Chances of poaching decimating a small population, are real. The population is stable now. If the state biologists determine that culling is truly biologically necessary, then why not utilize Hunter’s paying to collect trophies (or on call fee for a chance at a un- relocateable nuisance bar). Odds are that enforcement will cost more than fees collected.

Churadogs said...

Alon sez:"If the state biologists determine that culling is truly biologically necessary, then why not utilize Hunter’s paying to collect trophies (or on call fee for a chance at a un- relocateable nuisance bar)."

One of the problems in "culling" bears is you hafta do it right time, right place, right bear. Otherwise, if you just have hunters going out will-nilly shooting bears, they may not take out old bears, sick bears, maurading bears, but will kill alpha/healthy breeding stock bears, thereby overall weakening the bear pool genetically. Not a good idea with a small core population.

Mike said...

Are Ann's comments based on any facts or just an emotion...??? Is Ann a state (or otherwise) biologist...???

I've been a hunter and don't recall anyone running around will-nilly killing anything... unless you count the drunks from LA and they couldn't kill anything except each other...

Alon Perlman said...

Actually I'm with Ann on this Mike, not the holy grail of vegiterianisem, just the overall small numbers.
Although nature provides sufficient challenge, even for an apex predator that NOT Culling from the weaker side will not be as harmful as simple effects of breeding group Isolation.
Can go into it more.
Though the bears don't necessarily recognize state borders. (so if Nevada is continuing to supply from a large healthy stock, along a long state border, it is different than if California was an island).
Given that the population is small, It would have to be done, non randomly, in the way that the biologists determine. so the hunters would have to hunt in specific areas and if several bears are killed in close geographical proximity, then that area would need to shut down, since the breading population would be affected.
It has more to do with the Apex predator and large territorial range. Deer are different.
That's why a nuisance bear program, would require an on call list etc... the fees would have to be high. Out of reach for most traditional hunters.

Mike said...

It's not nearly as easy to bag a bear (or even a deer) as you might believe...

...and very few, if any, will be taken south of Camp Roberts/Hearst Castle...

I'm not taking side, but there seems to be a lot of emotional hand wringing by those who have never eaten anything wilder than a Harris Ranch steak... or a head of Salinas lettus... Ever been fishing... or just buy it nice and clean in plastic wrap...???

Hunting is not as bad as some activists would like to convince the rest of the world... (there activists against almost everything... mosquitos?)

Alon Perlman said...

Not easy to bag, but so fun to hug!

Back to the Bar
So I asked the wiser man;
Didja eat the Bar?
And he said. Of course, I wouldn’t have killed him if I didn’t intend to eat him.
official site for Bear USGS Data, Go to the link and review the video beneath

Better Understanding Grizzly Bears to Better Protect Them
(caint they write any betterer then that?)

More here
(What would we do without U)

Churadogs said...

Hmmmm, maybe we need a recipe for bear stew here.

Mike said...

From the kitchen of my friend, Sarah Palin


4 pounds bear meat
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup beef broth
4 bay leaves
2 pounds red potatoes, diced
1 pound fresh mushrooms
5 carrots, sliced
2 turnips, cubed


In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oregano, salt and pepper. Place bear meat in the bowl a little at a time and coat well.
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Fry the bear meat until browned. Let drain on paper towels.

Fill a large Dutch oven with 2 to 3 quarts water. Add bear meat, onions, beef broth, bay leaves, potatoes, mushrooms carrots and turnips. Cook on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water as needed.

Nutritional Information:

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 539
Total Fat: 28g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 600mg
Total Carbs: 20.1g
Dietary Fiber: 6.3g
Protein: 51g

Alon Perlman said...

Needs Curry

Churadogs said...

What? No moose?

Mike said...

That's another receipe, one just does NOT mix the two... and besides, it's too darn difficult to bag a moose in Los Osos... unless it's at the Moose Lodge bar...