Larry’s Hungry Horse News column this week ends with “On our current path, I fear increased confrontations with bears, with possible fatal consequences for bears and people. Wouldn’t a limited hunting season be a better solution for both bears and people? What do you think?” Read his full article here.
Congratulations, Larry. You found a topic that I care enough about to overtly editorialize in the NFNews. First off, the logic of this proposal escapes me. How will legally killing bears reduce the fatal consequences for bears? Hummmmm.
Next, if hunters are afraid of encounters with wild animals, then perhaps they shouldn’t be going into the woods. Killing things without putting yourself at risk is what video games are for. Instead of harvesting grizzlies down to a safer number (whatever that is), why not make carrying bear spray and proper training in its use mandatory for anyone applying for a hunting license? Such a regulation could almost certainly be effectively enforced at less cost than determining the parameters for a “limited hunting season.”
If residents are afraid of wild animals coming around their structures, then perhaps they’re not suited for living on the North Fork. In fact, some North Forkers with bear problems either passively or actively encourage bears to come around rather than taking proper measures, proactively driving them off, and/or contacting experts at FWP to deal with the problem. They’re just so darn cute.
Finally, what about the carrying capacity for people living and recreating on the North Fork? Although I have no statistics to back it up, observation says that every year there are more building projects, vehicles on the road, and people floating the river. When are we going to have too many people? Rather than restricting the number of bears, doesn’t it make just as much sense to restrict the number of people?
But maybe there are too many bears. I’m not a wildlife biologist so I’m not in a position to talk about carrying capacity. Perhaps knowledgeable people know better than natural selection what the North Fork carrying capacity is for bears. And perhaps from some perspectives there is good news in the illegal killing of a grizzly at Hay Creek. I’m just hoping that it’s not Patti or Betsy.
p.s., Sorry for the delay in posting this. I was busy making cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving at the Hall this afternoon. We hope to see everyone there.