Wolf Song of Alaska News

Katmai Bear Hunt Triggers Strong Response From Public

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / October 19, 2007



Trophy hunters are repellent

The gulf between what is legal and what is fair chase is as wide as the landscape of Alaska. Now, thanks to Daniel Zatz, this ugly unethical hunt for brown bears near a brown bear sanctuary is revealed ("Cameras show Katmai bear kills," Oct. 6).

Trophy hunters are repellent human beings, their guides even more so. Not an ounce of brown bear flesh will reach a table, but I can imagine the stories told back home about the "stalk" for this "dangerous" sow who spent the morning happily chomping on salmon 40 feet from photographers. To say the Katmai bears are not habituated to humans is just stupid. And hunting them ---- by any means ---- is repugnant. If some Neanderthal wants to kill a bear, let him go after a barren ground grizzly with a bow in Unit 13. Ride a horse. No airplanes the day before; no four-wheelers. That is fair chase.

---- Shelley Gill

You want fair? Hunt with a spear

I am puzzled by the debate over fairness in the Katmai bear hunt. Usually we have a human using a high-powered rifle against an animal that does not know the hunter is even there. It is unimportant whether the distance is 20 yards or 200 yards ---- rifle trumps teeth and claws almost every time.

The decision to hunt is an individual one, and I quit 30 years ago but do not condemn those who do so legally. So forget about how fair the hunt is. If you want fairness, let's see a guy with a spear go up against a bear who is facing him -- and no backup in a guide with a rifle standing by!

---- Bill McCreary


This is just like going cow hunting

I was born and raised in Alaska and now live in Florida. I was appalled after viewing the video of the brave hunters shooting a brown bear -- just like going into a pasture and shooting a cow.

Those Katmai bears are so used to people viewing them, it isn't very hard to locate and shoot one. The state of Alaska should be ashamed of itself for allowing these great animals to be shot for trophies, and those hunters should be even more ashamed of themselves for killing such a beautiful animal.

---- Bob Buchanan

New Port Richey, Fla.
Close Katmai to bear viewing

How far do the boundaries need to be away from the brown-bear viewing area? The open hunting area is 25 miles away from Katmai National Park. Does it need to be 30 miles? Or 40 miles? Do we need to tag each bear that enters the park to ensure they are not hunted at all? Maybe paint them pink like the Russian River bears and establish a rule of "no killing of pink bears in the Katmai area." Bears roam many miles. Maybe just cut off the entire Alaska Peninsula from hunting.

The answer is simple. To make the bears "wild," they must not be exposed to humans on a daily basis. Close Katmai to bear viewing, let the bears return to the "wild," and establish normal hunting regulations.

---- Ryan Carter


Katmai shooting was not hunting

I recently watched the video of bear hunting in Katmai. It was clear to me that these bears are habituated to humans and do not have the normal flee responses.

This was not a hunt; it was shooting fish in a barrel.

I do not oppose fair hunting, but this was the equivalent of a canned hunt.

---- Erin Hall Meade


Use a camera; spare the bear

Several years ago, my daughter and I visited Katmai National Park. It was one of the highlights of our lives. The bears, while not tame, were tolerant of us.

We have great trophies of Katmai bears ---- photos! My daughter and I were within 20 feet of a bear, not on purpose but because of a chance encounter. We got as close to the bears as did the "brave" hunters who killed the bear in the video. We left our bears for others to enjoy.

I have no problem with hunting or hunters as long as they do not waste the meat. And I admire hunters who use skill, not take advantage of animals accustomed to being close to humans.

What a shame!

---- Richard Loya

Lakewood, Colo.

Watch, don't hunt, wildlife

There is nothing ethical, responsible or sporting about killing a bear that had so much trust in humans that she allowed her killer to walk within 15 yards of her.

The Department of Fish and Game allows occurrences like these to take place because it profits from the killing of wildlife. Despite having to share the blame for such violence, the department has an opportunity to distance itself from the violence of hunting by promoting wildlife watching as a replacement for its hunting programs.

As interest in sport hunting wanes across the continent, nonviolent wildlife watching programs are showing explosive growth. They can support an economy that eclipses the current one dependent on weapons and violence.

By replacing the taxes on weapons and ammunition with similar taxes on outdoor-related equipment used by wildlife watchers, we can preserve and protect wildlife and the areas where they live, making the dependence upon the violence of hunting obsolete.

---- Joe Miele, vice president

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

New Paltz, N.Y.

Let's evolve past killing bears

My husband and I spent the summer camping in Katmai National Park. Reading about the bear hunt in the Katmai National Preserve makes me sick to my stomach. It is amazing how easily bears accept peaceful humans into their lives, but this unfortunately threatens an Alaska culture built on the domination of nature.

Bear viewing threatens the sport hunting establishment because when thousands of tourists a year walk peacefully with grizzlies, shooting them no longer seems so macho. The hunting video in the Katmai National Preserve teaches us that bear hunting has nothing at all to do with courage, stamina and masculinity.

Humanity, at least the best of it, is defined by the ability to learn, change, grow and evolve. Alaskans can continue to live with the outdated mindset of the 1800s, where everything non-human is a commodity to consume. Or Alaskans can see this as an opportunity to no longer define themselves by the number of animal skins hanging on their walls.

---- Jessica Teel


There are just too many bears

KTUU Channel 2 news or the guides with clients are not the issue when it comes to bears ---- it is the state. We have too many bears. With the abundance of bears, some would call it successful game management. Their high numbers raise the number that can be harvested, and it was a matter of time before the news grabbed a camera and showed how some bears are taken.

It is getting to be more and more of a challenge to "live" with bears as they are starting to walk through our village like dogs. Growing up, we rarely had this problem. The population is getting out of hand. When someone "living" with bears is killed or seriously hurt, then maybe the state will take corrective management action and less action against those who protect their lives and property from the overabundant bears.

Some people will be surprised that bears are a nuisance. They are not the people-stalking killers that some envision, but they are dangerous when you corner them in your shed or step between a sow with cubs, especially if you are a kid going to school.

Here on Kodiak, it is only the beginning of the bear problem. You can scare them off with bird shot to the rump, but sometimes that doesn't deter them. It is dangerous when you are not hunting to kill.

-- Jeff Peterson

Old Harbor


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