On Sep 22, 2000, Nakoda, the alpha female of the Peter Lougheed wolf pack, was gunned down in K-country by an elk hunter looking for a momentary thrill. Nakoda left behind eight pups and her mate who all disappeared within weeks of her killing. Rather than having a healthy pack of wolves helping to control ungulate populations, we have 10 dead wolves and a trophy on someone’s wall, not to mention the danger associated with guns being allowed in a popular recreation area.
Let’s be clear from the get-go: I am not against ethical hunting, but I am unequivocally opposed to trophy hunting, hunting derbies, and making animals suffer needlessly.
All citizens of Alberta should have a say in the management of our wildlife, not just the 2% who hunt. They are a natural resource which belongs to the people of this province. As well, I believe there should be a public debate about guns and hunting being allowed in K-country. What better place to discuss these issues than among folks who are stakeholders in Kananaskis, namely the xc skiers who read this blog?
I understand immediately where someone is coming from when they invoke this big word that’s easy to mispell. Under the previous topic, “Momma grizzly bear speaks out,” Brad Nelson is disappointed that I would display the post from momma grizzly. He thinks it’s “a trite first person anthropization of a tragic encounter between a wild animal and a human.” I thought it was a creative and effective way to give my readers a perspective on this unfortunate situation that wouldn’t be available in the mainstream media, and that illustrates the inherent danger that our bears(and wolves) face because hunting is allowed in K-country. Indeed, a bear could attack a hiker, a fisherman, or a skier but none of these recreationists carry AR-10 rifles in search of a trophy.
Brad goes on to say, “using the event as a platform to argue anti-hunting views is offensive to me given the scope of this website.” The media, with millions of readers is brimming with stories about this hunter’s death, followed by hundreds of very insulting comments from people opposed to hunting. This event gives rise to some important questions that are relevant to readers of this blog, and we’ve had a much more respectful debate than what you’ll read in the Herald or the Sun.
I find it somewhat amusing when a reader tells me what the scope of this blog should be. To remove any uncertainty, this blog’s purview includes all issues concerning K-country and the implications of government decisions on my readers. To illustrate, I’ve raised awareness regarding many issues which are peripheral to xc skiers, but nevertheless, have some impact upon them. For example, there were many postings on here concerning the floods of 2013.
I imagine it makes trophy hunters uncomfortable to hear an animal speaking to them. I don’t buy the anthropomorphising shtick, because that is simply the tiresome argument among those who want to continue their exploitation of animals, and their attempt to shut down the debate. Animals undoubtedly can suffer and feel pain, as anyone with a dog will attest. Rejecting the fact that animals have emotions can make it easier for people to continue exploiting them without worrying about the ethical implications.
Over on SkiHere’s Facebook page, Liz responded to momma grizzly’s post, “One fall while hiking up to Picklejar Lake I was astounded as two hunters with rifles came walking down the trail. I thought: How can this be allowed?”
In a survey of hunters conducted for the provincial government in 2008, “a large majority of respondents (89%) were not supportive of trophy hunting, while 5% were supportive and 5% were neutral.” The above survey also lays to rest a popular myth that hunters are avid conservationists. “Only 14% said they contributed to groups involved in conservation activities and only 8% said they participated as volunteers in the area of conservation and hunting.”
Over on SkiHere’s Twitter, Wendy tweeted “I was shocked when I learned that hunting is allowed in K country”
The bottom line
There are risks associated with venturing into the wilderness, but that’s not a reason to ban everyone from grizzly country as Brad Nelson suggests. Go prepared and aware. The bottom line of momma grizzly bear’s argument is that guns in K-country present a danger to the grizzly bear population, as is so aptly illustrated by the defensive shooting and killing by Joe Lucas in 2008.
Jim Pissot wrote in the Calgary Herald, “traveling quietly, alone, and focused on something else in bear country has its consequences. Hope that some day SOON, “experienced outdoorsman” will mean someone carrying — and knowing how to use — bear pepper spray.