Black Bear Hunting Ban

Benjamin David | February 2, 2021

SB 252, introduced by State Sen. Scott Wiener in California, has been withdrawn. The bill would have ended the hunting of black bears under the guise that it would protect the black bear population. It was uninformed, based on misinformation, and unsurprisingly is supported by pandering to the emotions of equally uninformed city dwellers. Scott Wiener is a democrat representing San Francisco, and has no business whatsoever telling the rest of the state how to live their lives.

The pandering of support for banning hunting calls black bear hunting inhumane, a pursuit of a trophy, a cruel sport, and detrimental to the population. Even the bill’s title, the ‘Bear Protection Act’ was misleading, and would have been a disaster for the bear population and the science driven management that currently exists to preserve future black bear populations.

Hunting IS conservation, and the anti-hunting statements above couldn’t be further from the truth, nor could they be more damaging to black bear conservation.

Put Up, Or Shut Up.

Hunting license sales, taxes on firearm sales, and taxes on ammunition sales provide the financial means for fish and wildlife biologists to study bear populations, set harvest quotas, and ensure future populations of black bear exist in California. Californian’s would need to find an alternate source of funding to study and manage the black bear population in the absence of hunting as a funding source. While California is good at deficit spending, even if they produced the money, management would still have to involve culling populations where black bear densities become too great. The legislation would ultimately lead to the killing of animals, purely for population control, if it did anything to manage it at all.

Hunter Responsibility

California hunters have happily carried the burden of black bear conservation on their shoulders for decades. Whether through financial support, or voluntary sharing of harvest information, like the returning of bear skulls to fish and game for aging and study, hunters have done what this bill disingenuously states it will replace. It does not replace a system that works, and is a fix for a problem that does not exist.

Inhumane?

Contrary to what the uninformed may tell you, black bears are not hunted for the sake of hunting, or blood sport. A black bear is harvested, and then eaten, just like the factory farmed meats that end up in a non-hunters refrigerator, but arguably with a greater appreciation for it, and no support for inhumane factory farming methods.

Bear meat goes into our freezers after a lot of work to return it from the field where we’ve invested a lot of time and effort to find, stalk, shoot, field dress, and pack out a bear.

Its a more difficult and honorable pursuit than a stroll down a Whole Foods aisle for factory farmed, oxygen purged meats, packaged in environmentally destructive plastic wrap and foam trays, from animals raised in heinous factory farming conditions.

When a hunter is fortunate enough to take a black bear and fill the freezer for his or her family, that animal IS a trophy. Not one that honors cruel intentions, blood sport, or size, but one of pride for having provided for his or her family. If a hunter has an opportunity to mount an animal, or respect every part of the animal by tanning the hide, it’s a reminder more akin to a photo on a wall, than it is to a youth soccer trophy for most goals scored.

Only the most woke and morally superior hypocrite could argue against the exceptionally respectful method of harvesting a black bear. Hunting does more for the preservation of its population than terrible legislation from those completely divorced from knowledge on the subject.

The Real Threat

Habitat destruction and terrible legislation, not hunter harvests, are the black bear population’s real threats. The habitat destruction to erect cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, create terrible urban sprawl and strip malls, highway development that destroys migration corridors, diversion of precious water sources to hydrate cities and golf courses built on top of coastal chaparral, and legislation against the hunting, are the real threats.

The notion that hunting is decreasing the black bear population couldn’t be further from the truth. Hunters have failed to harvest the quota set by fish and wildlife biologists for multiple years. Those quotas are scientifically based, and ensure a stable population for future generations.

Tip of The Iceberg

People like Senator Scott Wiener should keep San Francisco politics relegated to the bear-less population in the districts they represent, and let the successful management employed for decades continue to preserve the population of black bears for future generations. If you’ve been to San Francisco in the last decade, you’d rightfully think trash, a housing crisis, homelessness, drugs, and mental health issues would be enough for someone like Scott Wiener to address for a lifetime, but apparently it isn’t enough.

California hunting opportunities, as well as the Second Amendment have been under assault for decades. Bad legislation keeps getting passed, with public support based on emotion and misinformation. Just because the bill has been withdrawn, it does not mean the politicians are done. The state has banned the use of dogs for bear hunting, lead ammunition, bobcat hunting, and the sales of fur and fur products.

Its doubtful that the withdrawal of SB 252 is the end of the issue, and is likely to rear its head again in the future. When it does, be ready to petition, and let our law makers know they are just plain wrong.

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Written By Benjamin David
Benjamin is an avid outdoorsman with a wide range of experience hunting, fishing, climbing, and backacking. He brings his knowledge and experience, to Sportsman's Magazine, and is a major content contributor. Leave Ben a comment or question.

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