A bowhunter who was with a group that killed a three-legged bear in Alberta last week is defending the action.
Cameron Hanes first posted a video to his Facebook page last Monday, examining a black bear just killed while on a hunt.
In the video, he shows off the dead bear, which is missing the bottom half of one of its front legs.
"This is life in the wild, here," he remarks. "Lose the bottom end of your leg and you keep hammering."
Most of the dozens of comments left by viewers under the video are positive, congratulating Hanes on the kill, which Hanes said in the video he intends to eat.
But several people expressed their doubts.
"I don't know if I could've done it," wrote Richard Yozzo. "Such a survival spirit in that old boy...he kept hammering. No hating or whining, I know he will serve you well...just a little too personal for me."
But Hanes, who has written a book about bowhunting and is considered one of the most accomplished bowhunters in North America, defended the decision to take out the bear in a followup post on Saturday. He mused about the bear's future had it not been killed.
"I wonder what they thought would happen to the bear if we hadn't killed him? That he'd limp around on 3 legs forever and live happily ever after? Or maybe he'd live to see his 80th birthday and all his grandkids would come over for cake and he could tell them stories from the good old days?" he wrote.
The truth, he said, is much more sinister.
Hanes argued a couple of scenarios, including:
- If the bear's grandkids did come over he would likely eat them, "because it's what male bears do. It's called infanticide."
- The bear wouldn't have survived much longer "because a grizzly bear or a pack of wolves would have found him and with only 3 legs he couldn't climb a tree to escape so he would have been basically eaten alive."
Hanes also said killing Alberta bears helps conserve the province's moose population.
"They follow pregnant cow moose and when they give birth to their calf the bear kill and eat them," he wrote.
"Bear don't care about protecting the moose population, they will kill them all then move on to deer fawns. Man has always been part of the equation as we've always hunted."
Bowhunting black bears is legal during April and May in certain parts of Alberta, but requires a permit. According to Alberta Fish and Wildlife restrictions, it is considered unlawful to hunt black bears under the age of one year, or to hunt female black bears accompanied by cubs under the age of one year.
In an interview with Archery 360 last year, Hanes said hunters are not always seen in the best light, and that he's working to dispel myths about those who, like himself, hunt to feed themselves.
"It’s a big deal to take an animal’s life and it’s not like buying a steak at the grocery store. There’s so much reverence in that moment. "
To see some of Hanes' skills with a bow and arrow, watch our video above.
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