Bears Not the Most Dangerous

Bears are powerful animals who deserve respect and warrant a dose of caution, but their reputation as a menace is far out of proportion with reality. One or two people may be killed by bears in a given year, but over that same time period 50 will die from bee stings, 70 will be fatally struck by lightning and 300 will meet their maker due to hunting accidents. A person has about as good a chance of spontaneously combusting as being killed by a bear.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of bears are killed by people each year, and no one is keeping track of how many are wounded, only to crawl off and die slowly without hospital care to pamper them back to health. 30,000 black bears are slain during legal hunting seasons in the US alone. Possibly another 30,000 fall prey each year to ethically impotent poachers seeking gall bladders to sell on the Chinese black market. Victims lost to that vile trade are eviscerated and left to rot, since bear meat is not considered a desirable taste treat. To make it palatable, backwoods chefs traditionally douse the flesh and offal with salt and grind the whole mess into sausage.

Why then, is it legal to kill bears when we have long since concocted a myriad of ways to turn high protein plant foods (such as soy, seitan or tempeh) into a perfectly scrumptious, spicy sausage, sans intestines? Clearly, the hunting of bears is nothing but a warped distraction motivated by a lecherous desire to make trophies of their heads and hides. But, dangerous and terrifying as they must seem to trophy hunters out to prove their manhood from behind the security blanket of a loaded weapon, they aren’t the “most dangerous game,” as the serial killer, Zodiac (an avid hunter who grew bored with “lesser” prey and progressed to hunting humans) divulged.

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The preceding was an excerpt of the chapter, “Bears Show More Restraint than Ursaphobic Elmers” from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport

Text and Wildlife Photography Copyright Jim Robertson

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