UPDATE 8/17: After global outrage over the below mentioned video, which has since been removed but rediscovered on Live Link, spear-hunting in Alberta, Canada has been banned.

A recent YouTube video showing a young man killing a black bear with a spear begs some important questions regarding the ethics of hunting and what hunters represent. One might wonder if our fascination with social media and braggadocio behavior might end up being the spear that kills tradition.

The handful of states that allow spears to be used in the taking of big game also allow baiting, which in itself, poses an ethical issue among hunters with a speck of integrity.

I watched another video shot in Alabama where a guy in a tree stand pretty much drops a spear on a black bear who’s eating what appears to be a bucket of bacon grease. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror ever again after despicable show of sportsmanship.

And I don’t much like the word “sport” when it comes to hunting because sport is not synonymous with killing. Sportsmanship however is a whole different thing. Give me a big enough rock and a jar of peanut butter and I could kill a bear too if he was under my tree stand!

Most non-hunters have a negative perception of hunting and I wonder why? Have we really reduced ourselves to that level? Maybe so.

In the first video, sneaking up to a fat, distracted (and most likely local) bear and sticking him with a GoPro mounted spear is only made worse by a disrespectful celebration and a lot of “back patting.” The word “Epic” is also used in the YouTube headline. Epic? Ask a real hunter about epic. Epic has nothing to do with success. Epic is spending a week hiking through snow and climbing endless ridges only to come home with nothing.

Epic is the pure joy that comes from using all of your skills, freezing your ass off, sitting on a mountain top waiting for first light, listening to the forest wake up and feeling grateful for the opportunity that only a few will ever have. Epic is and has always been about the hunt and not about the kill. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some “epic” hunts on YouTube and other social media sites.

But the ones that I consider worthy of posting represent the true tradition of hunting and what it means to be a hunter. This ain’t 10,000 BC and we need to ensure that we use the most humane methods of hunting and teach these methods to our kids. The last thing we need are a bunch of attention seekers waiting behind dumpsters with home made weapons. There’s a reason that the laws are in place. It’s not only to protect the game, but the person on the end of the weapon.

This could have turned out really bad for the guy on the ground and I’m not going to comment on how I feel about that. Aside from being a very lucky shot, it’s still an inaccurate depiction of ethical hunting and a sad day for a beautiful creature lured to his death. That’s not hunting folks. In the eyes of a true hunter, it is little more than killing for self-glamorization, “Likes” on a page and money. A wounded animal dies a slow painful death. Wonder if he thought of that while he was smiling into the camera . . .   

Photo credit: Youtube