Alberta to Ban Spear Hunting After Bear Video Sparks Outrage
The Alberta provincial government plans to ban the practice of spearing wildlife after a video posted online showing an American killing a black bear with a spear sparked outrage.
The video was posted in June on the YouTube account of Josh Bowmar, who runs an Ohio-based fitness company, and shows him killing the bear on a hunt in northern Alberta. By the time it was removed from public view on Monday it had garnered more than 208,000 views.
The 13-minute video shows Bowmar launching a massive spear — with a camera attached — at a bear from 11 to 14 meters (36 to 46 feet) away and captures his jubilant reaction when the animal is hit.
“I just speared a bear!” Bowmar says on the video. “He’s going down. I drilled him perfect … I smoked him.”
He later says he got “mad penetration. That’s a dead bear.”
Commenters on YouTube were livid. At least one comment threatened to do to the hunter what he did to the bear. Twitter users called the bear’s killing sick, inhumane, shameful and disgusting.
Alberta’s Environment and Parks department issued a statement, calling the spear hunting an “archaic” practice. Spear hunting is already illegal in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
“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,” a spokesman 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.”
Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, welcomed Alberta’s plans to strengthen the law to ban spear hunting.
“Our attitudes toward animals evolve for the better, and there is more antipathy for acts of cruelty like the one from Alberta,” said Pacelle. “At one time, cockfighting and dogfighting were legal. Then we got our act together as a society and forbade these practices as depraved, archaic and inhumane.”