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Josh Bowmar Spears Alberta Black Bear In Deleted Video

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CALGARY — The Alberta government says an online video showing a black bear being killed by a spear is unacceptable and it plans to ban the practice.

The video posted in June on the YouTube account of Josh Bowmar, who runs an Ohio-based fitness company with his wife, set off a deluge of outrage before it was made private.

By the time it was removed from public view on Monday it had garnered more than 208,000 views.

The 13-minute video shows the man launching a spear — with a camera attached — at a bear from 11 to 14 metres away and captures his jubilant reaction when the animal is hit.

"I just did something I don't think anybody in the entire world has ever done and that was spear a bear on the ground on film. And I smoked him."

"He's going down. I drilled him perfect. That was the longest throw I thought I could ever make," he says, raising his arms in the air and smiling broadly.

"I just did something I don't think anybody in the entire world has ever done and that was spear a bear on the ground on film. And I smoked him."

The hunter and two others are shown retrieving the bear the next morning. The animal's internal organs are seen spilling out of a large wound in its side.

Commenters on YouTube were livid. At least one threatened to do to the hunter what he did to the bear.

Twitter users called the bear's killing sick, inhumane, shameful and disgusting.

The video credited John and Jenn Rivet — who run a hunting outfitting business in Swan Hills north of Edmonton — for organizing the hunt. They did not reply to requests for comment.

'Archaic' practice

Alberta Environment and Parks spokesman Tim Chamberlin called spear hunting an "archaic" practice.

"Work is well underway to update Alberta's hunting regulations. We will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall as part of those updated regulations," he said in an emailed statement.

"In the meantime, we have asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate this incident to determine if charges are warranted under existing laws."

josh bowmar spears bear
Hunter Josh Bowmar is facing criticism for spearing an Alberta black bear. (Photo: YouTube)

Bowmar said he was surprised by the reaction to the video. He said spears have been used for hunting since the "dawn of man" and the notion that the method is inhumane "couldn't be further from the truth."

He said the spear blade he used was 13 centimetres wide and about 40 centimetres long and penetrated the bear more than 60 centimetres deep.

"The bear I speared only ran (55 metres) and died immediately, that's as humane and ethical as one could get in a hunting situation on big game animals. Trust me, no one cares more about these animals than us hunters, especially me," he said in an emailed statement.

He added that if he just wanted to kill, he could have shot the bear from half a kilometre away without it having a chance to escape.

"If I didn't care about the humane killing of this bear, why did I spend years preparing and practising, becoming extremely proficient with a spear to make sure I could harvest this bear ethically?"

He also said the animals he hunts are not wasted.

"If they're able to make a good shot, then it can be an ethical kill."

"In fact, it is even against the law to waste the animals hide from the animals. We also eat the meat from our harvested animals including bear. On top of tasting amazing, it's extremely nutritious for our bodies."

Todd Zimmerling, president of the Alberta Conservation Association, said he can see how the images in the video, which he has not seen himself, would be upsetting to some.

He said if hunters follow the law and are skilled enough to ensure a "quick and clean" kill he has no concern — regardless of the type of weapon.

"If they're able to make a good shot, then it can be an ethical kill," he said.

"I certainly don't want to see a whole pile of people run out there starting to throw spears at bears just to try it. That would be an issue."

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