Pursuing a bear with canines does nothing to protect the state’s wildlife.

(Utah Division of Wildlife Assets, through AP)

This 2017 {photograph} offered by the Utah Division of Wildlife Assets exhibits a bear signal.

In response to the Salt Lake Tribune’s June 7 article, “Bear seize case illuminates darkish aspect of pursuing wildlife with canines for ‘sport’”:

The story and the accompanying video are about an incident that occurred three years in the past in Grand County, the place a black bear was chased by a pack of 9 hounds till it dropped from exhaustion, unable even to raise a paw to defend itself from being bitten. The canines weren’t known as off for about two minutes. Then the bear was put right into a canine field and reportedly launched once more a few days later to be pursued once more.

Bear and cougar pursuit with hounds is authorized in Utah. Individuals who interact in it will not be after a kill, simply the joy of the chase. As well as, there are authorized hunts for these animals that usually additionally contain pursuing them with packs of hounds till they’re treed or cornered for a simple kill. There may be additionally bear baiting, which includes dumping a pile of smelly rubbish within the forest, then capturing the bear with an arrow when it exhibits up to take a look at the promise of a simple meal.

It was unlawful to not name the canines off instantly and to cage the bear. However was it honest chase? There isn’t a authorized definition of honest chase, however it’s often defined as searching that provides the quarry an affordable probability of escape. Does bear baiting fulfill this definition? How about pursuing bears and cougars with hounds? It’s true that typically the quarry will get away, however it isn’t simple to do, particularly when, as usually occurs, an animal will get chased repeatedly.

Does being chased by hounds hurt the animals? Clearly, it didn’t do that specific bear any good. And what if it was a lactating feminine with cubs? (The story doesn’t say it wasn’t.) It’s unlawful in Utah to knowingly pursue or kill a bear or cougar with cubs, however hunters can’t usually inform whether or not the animal being pursued is a lactating feminine till they catch it. The canines decide up the scent and nearly invariably convey the quarry to bay earlier than the hunter arrives. Virtually by no means is an enforcement officer on the scene.

Life within the wild is tough for bears, significantly in a drought when meals is scarce. The power funds is slim, particularly for sows with cubs. Will a bear struggling a calorie deficit from being chased grow to be extra susceptible to seek for a simple meal at a campground or cabin and find yourself hurting somebody? How are the bear and lion cubs affected if mother is killed or will not be producing sufficient milk? These are factual questions with ethical implications that needs to be addressed.

There are not any scientific research displaying that pursing bears or cougars with hounds, not to mention killing them usually hunts, is important for scientifically sound wildlife administration. As an alternative, there may be an abundance of analysis from the final 20 years displaying that, satirically, searching predators causes among the very conflicts with people it’s supposed to stop.

Regardless of this, a number of hundred bears and cougars are legally killed in Utah annually for sport and trophy. Then again, nobody has ever been killed by a cougar in Utah and solely two individuals have been killed by black bears in latest reminiscence — very hungry ones. These bears have been put down by the authorities.

Most individuals have by now come to worth wild animals as clever, sentient and emotional beings with their very own wants and pursuits. Maybe we might do properly to study to stay peacefully with them.

If a bear or cougar ought to grow to be a significant issue, it may be eliminated. However we should always not fake that always harassing them and killing them accomplishes any good past producing income for the Division of Wildlife Assets and giving enjoyment to a small variety of individuals.

Kirk Robinson, Ph.D., is govt director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy, Salt Lake Metropolis.

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