Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

Barbarism on the Rise: Hunting Mama Wolves and Bears and Their Cubs in Alask

Barbarism on the Rise: Hunting Mama Wolves and Bears and Their Cubs in Alaska



Arctic wolf. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

When I was in elementary school, I had a slingshot for hunting birds. To this day, I find it impossible to explain why I indulged in such unsavory behavior.

However, since those youthful days, I never hunted again with either a slingshot or a gun.

I abhor the killing of wild and domesticated animals. They have as much right as we do to exist without fearing hunters may kill them.

I know humans have hunted and killed animals for food. Such open season lasted for millennia. Hunting of wildlife for food is probably still alive in some form or another in most countries of the world.

Hunting for sport is another, even more vicious, kind of killing of wild animals. Affluent European hunters decimated Africa’s wildlife in the nineteenth century.

Hunting for sport is probably just as ancient as killing wild animals for food. Members of the ruling classes in the past and now convince themselves they have divine rights to target wildlife at their convenience and pleasure.

This cruel and perverse habit is especially strong in affluent societies, where people with money and guns give license to their pathological instincts in killing wolves, bears, lions, tigers and other wild animals.

Human footprints

This killing, especially of important large carnivorous animals, adds more unnecessary instability in an already destabilized natural world.

Humans have been leaving their bloody and destructive footprints everywhere in the planet for a very long time.

Their industrialized farming has been producing unhealthy food while generating climate change. The effects are thoroughly unpleasant: insects, birds and small animals are steadily being driven towards extinction.

The logging of the world’s forests, no less than factory farming, disrupts and breaks down ecosystems, all but eliminating biological diversity and degrading land and life.

The damming of wild rivers unsettles water life and pushes countless species over the cliff.

As if these terrible practices, which “civilized” people do routinely, did not produce enough disruption and violence in the natural world, humans have been ravaging the land for petroleum, natural gas, coal, gold, silver, and other minerals.

War against the natural world in Alaska

It’s this political madness and ecological tsunami, the horror humans have been sowing in every wild land of the world, including the forests, rivers, and lands of the United States, that sets the stage for an additional and unusually horrific practice about to start in the parks of Alaska.

The Secretary of the US Department of the Interior, a Trump appointee by the name of David Bernhardt, signed a final rule June 11, 2020, that allows a dark age killing of bears, wolves and their cubs.

This is barbarism triumphant under the guise of restoring the authority of Alaska to do as it pleases with our national treasure of wildlife.

Hunters will be filling buckets with bait to attract bears in order to shoot them.

This reminds me of a story a friend told me of a similar barbaric practice in Michigan. Owners of gasoline stations attract deer with large carrots. Drivers buying gasoline shoot the deer from the comfort of their cars.

Listening to this story I thought he was making things up. But, no, he assured me, he witnessed such shameful affair. This put me in a bad mood.

How could these people be so cruel, so stone-dead in their feelings and emotions? Where did they grow up?

The evolving cruelty in Alaska confirms my friend’s story. The roots of violence against wildlife are deep and widespread.

Local and tourist hunters will soon be killing bears, wolves and their offspring in the vast national parks of Alaska.

This is a gift of the Trump administration, which made it legal to hunt these persecuted animals during the denning season.

Imagine TV-like explorers-hunters loaded with war pistols and guns and high tech flashlights entering holes in the ground or caves to shoot mama wolves and bears and their cubs.

What a tragedy, a charade, and paradigmatic act of utter stupidity. Could we say this is hidden hatred of compromised armed people for the animal emblems of wild freedom? Are these hunters hunting their nightmares or civilization itself?

Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, criticized the Trump administration, but she failed to express the anger of a person dedicated to protecting the threated animals. She was too diplomatic in describing the extraordinary vicious turn of policy:

“Amid the global pandemic, the Trump administration is declaring open season on bears and wolves, through their sport hunting rule on national parklands in Alaska….

“National preserve lands at Denali, Katmai, Gates of the Arctic… [in Alaska] are the very places where people travel from around the world, in hopes of seeing these iconic animals, alive in their natural habitat. Through this administration’s rule, [officials of] such treasured lands will now allow sport hunters to lure bears with greased donut bait piles to kill them, or crawl into hibernating bear dens to shoot bears and cubs.”

Trump above all  

This shameful and uncivilized behavior does fit the pattern of Trump, his administration, and his Republican Party and evangelical supporters. They are operating as if in a conquered territory.

Like the French monarch Louis XIV, Trump said I am the state. I can do anything I want. There’s no climate change. Corporations are right about the environment and pollution. I will follow their guidance.

In about 3.5 years, he reversed the modicum of theoretical and real environmental and public health protection Americans enjoyed.

He put this national dangerous policy into effect in the glare of television and lots of additional publicity. Most large media gloated over the tragic spectacle of a president ordering the demise of America. Yet, for the most part, these national televisions and newspapers have been treating him like a king.

I did not see demonstrations by either environmentalists or public health experts or citizens concerned with the rising pandemics of cancer, neurological disease, and the extinction of species. Climate change, the giant among environmental threats, did bring thousands in the streets of Europe and fewer in America.

This means TV advertisements, business practices and propaganda, and poisons in the food, drinking water, and air have diminished the intelligence of Americans – and people throughout the world. Otherwise, it’s impossible to explain these suicidal tendencies.

I consider the threats to our health and the health of the natural world the highest priorities of any civilized society. And yet, in the US House of Representatives “impeachment” of Trump, these existential threats directly linked to the Trump administration were ignored.

This undemocratic politics explains why Trump feels at home with both the virus pandemic and, potentially, ordering the military to take over the country. Like any other billionaire, Trump feels contempt for democracy.

As long as soldiers are in their barracks, Trump wants to be reelected. He is pleasing trophy hunters and Alaska elites that aspire to the total control of public wealth.

It is possible, though hard to document, that the projected visit of the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., to Alaska for hunting mother grizzly bears and wolves and their cubs had something to do with the demolition of the slight protection these vulnerable animals enjoyed under previous administrations.

Trump’s son goes out of his way to kill wild animals. He even went to Mongolia where he hunted an endangered sheep.

The meaning of vicious hunting

The spectacle of the US government encouraging outrageous attacks on wildlife in Alaska tells us much more than the perverted habits of trophy hunters and the myopic and self-destructive politics of Alaska.

Killing animal mothers and cubs is an act of desperation. The killers have lost their humanity and a sense of living among other citizens under the rule of law. They have become what the Greeks defined as barbarians: people of incomprehensible speech and alien to civilization.

I like to think that Americans will have at least the sense of electing Joe Biden as our next president. His work will be much more difficult than I ever thought. He will be governing a country nearly unhinged by the Republicans, evangelicals, and their commander-in-chief, Trump.

Biden will have to tone down the Wall Street ideology of “me” for “us,” and, no less significant, embrace the environment and wildlife as foundations of our civilization.

Fight climate change and ban killings of mama wolves, grizzly bears and their cubs.

Letters: Allowing animal cruelty in hunting is a new low

Peter Kuper, PoliticalCartoons.com

Allowing animal cruelty in hunting is a new low

Re: “Banned hunting techniques revived,” June 10 news story

One may question how much lower can this present government stoop? The small article in Wednesday’s Denver Post may give many people yet another glimpse into the inhumane and deplorable policy change regarding hunting on federal land, primarily at this point in Alaska.

According to the article’s information, the president, Donald Trump Jr., the Safari Club International, Alaskan state leaders, and hunting advocates have succeeded in reversing the Obama-era restrictions on barbaric hunting methods. Two of the many cruel methods listed in the article are “using spotlights to blind and shoot hibernating black bears and their cubs in dens, and gunning down swimming caribou from motorboats.” Maybe we don’t need to question how much lower some human beings can go.

Linnea Wilkinson, Aurora

Trump administration opens Alaska’s national preserves to cruel practices like trophy-hunting denning bears and wolves and their cubs; proposes disbanding protections on Kenai Wildlife Refuge

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

June 10, 2020 0 Comments

The Trump administration has given trophy hunters the green light to commit some of the worst sort of carnage on 20 million acres of Alaska’s pristinely beautiful national preserves.

Under a new rule finalized this week, trophy hunters can, starting next month, kill hibernating mother black bears and their cubs in their dens with the aid of artificial lights, shoot wolf and coyote pups and mothers at their dens, use bait like donuts and meat scraps to attract brown and black bears, shoot vulnerable caribou while they are swimming (including with the aid of motorboats), and use dogs to hunt black bears.

This is yet another dastardly move from an administration that, from the start, has carried out a no-holds-barred assault on America’s—and the world’s—most precious wildlife. From weakening protections for native American wildlife covered by the Endangered Species Act to allowing trophy hunters to import the trophies of endangered animals likerhinos and lions, the Department of the Interior, under Trump, has consistently played into the hands of trophy hunters and other corporate interests to dismantle the progress we’ve made for wildlife over decades.

A lot of this, including the National Park Service rule finalized this week, has involved reversing protections for wildlife put in place by the Obama administration.

And they’re not done. Just today, the Department of the Interior proposed another rule, again to overturn the prior administration’s rule that barred baiting of brown bears on two million acres of public lands in the state’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Hunting of brown bears over bait is an extreme practice and biologists have been raising alarms about the loss of brown bear populations in Alaska.

We already know what the carnage sanctioned by these rule changes will look like. Before the 2015 rule, thousands of bears and wolves were shot from the air, killed over bait barrels, clubbed or shot in their dens and hunted down with lights at night. Many of these cruel practices professed to reduce numbers of iconic predators in order to boost prey species for hunters, but science has shown that nature cannot be manipulated this way without terrible results.

We have seen brown bear numbers across Alaska dwindle because of intensive management. State lands, where the egregious practices now permitted by the NPS rule are already allowed by the Alaska Board of Game, have seen sharp drops in wildlife populations. Alaska state officials should prefer their wildlife alive rather than dead because the tens of thousands of wildlife watchers who trek into the state each year put far more money into the state’s coffers than a handful of trophy hunters seeking to kill the animals do.

The Humane Society of the United States, along with a coalition of organizations, is currently in federal court defending the Obama-era NPS and Kenai rules. These changes are unlawful because Congress requires that the Department of the Interior conserve and protect wildlife in national preserves and national wildlife refuges. By opening season on the animals it’s supposed to protect just to appease a few trophy hunters, the agency—and this administration—have not only shown themselves to be extremely poor stewards of our public lands, they have let down a majority of Americans who would never sanction such cruelty against our native wildlife.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Pair of surviving Banff bathroom bears adapting to new wilderness home

Three black bear cubs found in a Vermilion Lakes washroom in April 2017 have been returned to Banff National Park. Photo by Parks Canada


From the bathroom to the backcountry, two orphaned black bear cubs rescued from a public restroom two years ago seem to have successfully re-established themselves in Banff National Park, officials say.

The two sisters were among a trio of three-month-old bear cubs mysteriously abandoned in a public restroom at the Vermilion Lakes rest stop in April 2017, and were sent to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario in hopes they could successfully be reintroduced into the wild.

Last July, the yearling cubs were returned to the Banff wilds, though within weeks one was killed and eaten by a suspected grizzly bear.

The remaining two, however, managed to avoid a similar fate and hunkered down in dens to hibernate over the winter months.

Blair Fyten, human wildlife coexistence officer with Parks Canada, said there had been some initial concern in the spring that the now two-year-old adolescents had met with an untimely end.

“When they came out of their dens in the spring, one of the collars went into mortality mode,” he said, noting the tracking collars begin emitting the specialized signal when they are stationary for more than six hours.

“A couple of weeks later, mortality mode went on on the second one.”

Orphaned bear cubs pictured at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario. ASPEN VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY FACEBOOK

While it took some time to get wildlife officers into the remote area, when they arrived they discovered the bears had managed to shrug off the collars and venture off, free from overt human monitoring.

The collars had initially been set to fall off on their own at the end of summer, but given the bruins were somewhat heavier than their wild counterparts due to their time in the sanctuary, it’s likely they slipped easily out of the tracking gear after losing weight while hibernating, Fyten said.

“We found the collars, but there were no signs of carcasses or predation,” he said.

“The good news is we think these bears are roaming around out there doing what bears do.”

The presumably surviving cubs remain tagged and officials hope they will eventually trip one of the many wildlife cameras that dot the national park to confirm the bears are indeed healthy and thriving.


Fyten said despite the positive signs, the duo still face an uphill battle, as do all young bears who strike out from their mothers for the first time.

“It is an age where they are out on their own but they are still somewhat vulnerable at two years old,” he said.

“When you look in a natural setting, a female with three cubs, it’s pretty rare all will survive.”

Fyten said roughly 65 black bears are active in the lush valley bottoms in Banff National Park, where they spend much of their days foraging for berries, which have seen a bumper crop this year.

The optimal conditions for bear feeding has also resulted in a bump in black bear sightings by humans this year, he said.

“It’s been super busy with all kinds of bear activity,” he said, noting grizzly bears, which tend to dwell higher in the park’s mountain rangers, have been quieter than usual.

“Last year we had a very good berry crop, so we’ve seen a lot of cubs getting kicked out by their mothers and trying to find their way.”


Wildlife officer who spared bear cubs denied return to job

Featured Image -- 11003

Jeff Bell <http://www.timescolonist.com/authors?author=Jeff%20Bell> / Times
April 20, 2016 06:00 AM

< http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/wildlife-officer-who-spared-bear-cu
bs-denied-return-to-job-1.2235136#story-carousel> Next
< http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/wildlife-officer-who-spared-bear-cu

Bryce Casavant’s actions last July came after the cubs’ mother was judged to
be too habituated to humans and was killed for twice raiding a freezer at a
Port Hardy-area home.
The decision not to kill the cubs led to Casavant’s suspension.
That sparked an online petition for his reinstatement that reached close to
310,000 supporters. The case attracted international attention, which
included comedian Ricky Gervais sticking up for Casavant via Twitter.
Casavant, 33, returned to work in late August in a different job at an equal
pay grade.
He said he and the government have reached an agreement that sees him become
a natural-resource officer with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural
Resource Operations, while at the same time pursuing a PhD at Royal Roads
“The province of B.C. is fully supporting me in my educational endeavours,”
he said.
The general duties of a natural-resource officer include enforcement and
patrol relating to resource-management laws, which can cover such areas as
the Wildfire Act, the Forest Act and the Water Act.
Casavant described the combination of work and school as “a different
He said he accepted the consequences after the action he took with the cubs.
“Generally speaking, people are faced with difficult decisions every day in
their lives and I made one, and I was willing to be held accountable
professionally and legally for that decision,” he said. “This is now the
outcome of that.”
Casavant said his PhD research will focus on “the social aspects of conflict
“I think there’s different social perceptions within society of predators,
and how that relates to the urban interface, how that shapes our prevention
and response measures,” he said.
“It’s not just conservation officers – you have a lot of police responding
to conflict wildlife throughout the province.”
The cubs, who have been named Jordan and Athena, were taken to the North
Island Wildlife Recovery Centre where they are doing well in the company of
other bears.
“It looks very positive,” said centre founder Robin Campbell.
Campbell said the pair will be released this year, likely in the summer or
“They’ll have transmitters on them so we’ll be able to follow them.”

– See more at:

Orphaned bear cub escapes wildfire with badly burned paws

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

By Published: Aug 4, 2014

WENATCHEE, Wash. — The newest victim from the Carlton Complex Fire is a black bear cub. Methow Valley homeowner Steve Love says his dog was barking and horse was prancing and snorting to sound an alarm. That’s when he first spotted the 6-month old cub hobbling up his driveway.

He could tell the cub was seriously injured but when he first approached, she made menacing sounds and he backed away. He was eventually able to toss her apricots from a tree and get her some water.

“Later in the evening, she was lying down making pitiful whimpering noises,” Love said. “I got about six feet away, sat down and talked to it in a soothing way, telling it things would be okay. It seemed to make it feel better. It stopped making the noises.”

The next day, a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer was able to capture the cub and transport her to Wenatchee. That’s where state biologist Rich Beausoleil picked up her care.

“They’re severe,” Beausoleil said of her wounds. “All four paws were 3rd degree burns. She has some burns to her face and arms and chest. Those were relatively minor and I think that will grow back. It’s the four feet we’re worried about.”

Dr. Randy Hein, an East Wenatchee veterinarian donated time and medicine. Beausoleil fed her a concoction of yogurt and dog food while seeking out long term help. He says he started with Sally Maughan of Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation who pointed him towards Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.

In 2008, the center rehabilitated a cub nicknamed “Lil Smokey” who suffered burns in a California wildfire. They agreed to take cub, which they’ve named Cinder, but there was the challenge of getting her there.


Group can’t bear hunt’s return

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson


By Brian Kelly, Sault Star

A Toronto-based animal rights group is taking a swing at David Orazietti for bringing the spring bear hunt out of hibernation after more than a decade.

The Sault Ste. Marie MPP, who was appointed minister of natural resources in February 2013, oversaw the hunt’s limited return with a two-year pilot program to eight Northern Ontario communities this year.

They were chosen because of a large number of bear and human incidents. Fifty communities passed resolutions wanting in on the pilot program. Orazietti calls the hunt’s return “an effective management tool.”

“I think we’re taking a very pragmatic approach, a very thoughtful and strategic approach in terms of this program,” he said, noting no questions on the issue have been asked by politicians at Queen’s Park since last fall. “I think we’ve reached a very effective and appropriate balance on this issue.”

Not so, contends Animal Alliance of Canada in a colour advertisement published in Saturday’s edition of The Sault Star and a pamphlet delivered to Sault Ste. Marie households last week.

“Orazietti tells people he did (the hunt’s return) for public safety reasons,” the ad reads. “But he knows that’s not true.”

The handout accuses Orazietti and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne for “flagrantly” tossing aside environmental and animal protection laws and regulations “to serve their single minded goal of getting re-elected.”

The Liberals, in power provincially since 2003, have a worse environmental and animal protection record than the federal government, Animal Alliance argues.

The group suggests scientists with Orazietti’s ministry told him the hunt wouldn’t reduce problems with bears and humans.

Orazietti counters the Liberal government’s decision for a targeted hunt, after it was quashed outright by the Conservatives in 1999, has plenty of backers including civic, police and education leaders.

Mayor Debbie Amaroso and Sault Ste. Marie Police Service Chief Bob Davies appeared alongside the MPP when he announced the hunt’s return to eight wildlife management units in November. There are 94 units in Ontario.

“We did it for public safety reasons,” said Orazietti. “I think it’s insulting to Northerners to have a special interest group based out of Toronto attempting to dictate policy for Northerners, people in our community.”

He argues Ontario has a “very healthy, sustainable” black bear population of about 105,000 and that similar hunts take part in most Canadian provinces.

“I’m sure their (Animal Alliance staff) kids go to school and are able to go out for recess in a safe environment where there are not 400-pound black bears roaming their school yard,” said Orazietti. “That’s not safe and that’s not something we should be faced with in our community either.”

With a provincial election nearing on Thursday, the MPP says most voters he talks to at the 1,000-plus doors he’s knocked on are glad the hunt is back in the Sault, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins. Some, Orazietti added, told him they would e-mail Animal Alliance to criticize its ad campaign.

Sault residents, he says, “know the realities of living in Northern Ontario (and are) fully aware of the potential safety risks of not effectively managing (the) black bear population well.”

“The number of people that are supporting what has been done here with our policy on this has been overwhelming,” said Orazietti.

Hunt opponents are concerned mother bears will be killed, leaving cubs orphaned and doomed to starve. Only male bears can be killed during the six-week hunt.

Its return doesn’t impress Josh Kerns either.

“There shouldn’t be an annual bear hunt to begin with,” he wrote on The Sault Star’s Facebook page. “Anybody who shoots animals for fun should be charged with animal cruelty.”

Animal Alliance is also critical of Ministry of Natural Resources for axing Bear Wise services including trapping and relocating problem bears.

Orazietti said packing up bruins and relocating them to the bush doesn’t work.

“It does not make sense to continue to operate the trap and relocate program when it’s not effective,” he said.

City police responded to several bear calls in the west end on Saturday. Locations include a business parking lot and housing complex on Second Line West, Nichol Avenue, Pittsburg Avenue and Edison Avenue.

Garbage and food sources shouldn’t be left out because they attract bears, police say.



Sport Hunter Who Murdered Mother Cougar Lauded by Press

Hunter kills cougar, rescues newborn kittens

Posted 5:26 p.m. yesterday

More on this
Baker City Herald

By JAYSON JACOBY, Baker City Herald

BAKER CITY, Ore. — The mistake was unavoidable, but Todd Callaway didn’t stop to worry about his reputation as a hunter whose integrity is beyond reproach.

He just wanted to save the three cougar kittens.

And he did.

Callaway, 64, is both a hunter and a retired wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Baker City office.

When he realized that the cougar he shot and killed on Thursday was a lactating female, he immediately started following the animal’s tracks in the snow, hoping to find its den and, possibly, kittens.

He found the den.

His flashlight beam showed three tiny kittens, each weighing about two pounds.

Callaway, who was hunting in the Lookout Mountain unit east of Baker City, called his former employer, ODFW.

The three kittens were taken to Baker City, where first a local veterinarian, and then Justin Primus, ODFW’s assistant district wildlife biologist, cared for them.

“(Primus) fed them every four hours,” said Brian Ratliff, the district wildlife biologist.

Ratliff estimates the kittens (also known as cubs) — two females and one male — are about two weeks old. Although their eyes were open, they were still covered with a film and the kittens were in effect blind, he said.

The kittens almost certainly would not have survived even one day without their mother, Ratliff said.

Cougars can have litters at any time of the year. Bearing young during winter can actually be advantageous for the cats, Ratliff said, because their main food source — deer — tend to be concentrated during winter, making it easier for the mother to find her own meals while nursing her kittens.

On Friday, Primus drove the three kittens to The Dalles, where he met another ODFW employee who transported the trio to the Oregon Zoo.

The kittens’ final home, though, will be the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, N.C., said Michelle Schireman, who has worked at the Oregon Zoo for 18 years and who also serves as the species coordinator for cougars for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Schireman said she works closely with ODFW veterinarian Colin Gillin in cases when animals are orphaned.

Gillin called her on Thursday after learning that the kittens had been rescued in Baker City.

Schireman, through her work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said she’s also in touch with zoos across the country and knows which facilities are looking for particular species.

In the case of the North Carolina Zoo, it had two male cougars in its exhibit, both about 18 years old.

One of the cougars died recently, and the other is in poor health, Schireman said.

“I had been in touch with the zoo and they were willing to take as many as three cubs,” Schireman said.

“Whenever possible I try to keep siblings together.”

She said the three kittens are in good health, and she expects they will be flown to North Carolina within a month or so.

“We’ve been feeding them every four hours, and when I came in for the early morning feeding today they looked really good,” Schireman said Monday.

Callaway was not allowed to keep the adult cougar because state law prohibits hunters from killing a female cougar that is accompanied by kittens that still have spots.

An Oregon State Police officer warned Callaway but did not issue a citation.

Ratliff said that’s not surprising because Callaway’s mistake was not only inadvertent, but also basically impossible to avoid.

The reason, Ratliff said, is that because the kittens are so young they had never left the den, which means there were no small cat tracks in the snow to alert hunters to the presence of kittens.

As for the adult female, it’s impossible at a distance to distinguish between a male and a female cougar, much less to determine that a female is lactating, Ratliff said.

Callaway said the cougar was running when he shot it.

After shooting the adult cougar, Callaway “did everything perfectly,” Ratliff said. “He did more than a lot of hunters would have done.”

Schireman said that during her 18-year tenure at the Oregon Zoo she has helped place 105 orphaned cougar cubs, counting the three from Baker County.

A majority of those animals were rescued in a state other than Oregon, she said.