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 www.dfg.ca.gov/news/pubnotice.
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?