Sunday, November 23, 2014

delisting the grizzly bear

One big difference between Americans comes down to the environment. Righties often don't accept the reality of global warming and they don't like any endangered species act. The more extreme right sees it as a communist plot intended to take down the economy. People like me, more in the middle, see it as sometimes misused but in general important as nature is a balance-- lose the balance and uh oh. Of course, to the vast middle of America, it is not a factor in anything that they care about.

 Yellowstone grizzly that was digging for grubs (we think)
Most Americans today have never seen a grizzly bear in the wild. There are only a few places in our country where it would be possible. Some who have seen a grizzly died in the process; but most, like myself, found it to be a thrill that they never forgot-- while still understanding it's potentially dangerous business to roam their lands with them (however, a lot more people are killed by buffalo).

It's hard for me to believe anybody is into trophy hunting, which is what the article is about (actually, global warming and trophy hunting). I can relate to owning guns, killing an animal for food, but for a trophy... I just can't understand the appeal. I also could never have respect for someone who was into that-- not that they'd care.

Some hunt bear for the meat and that's a different thing that the trophy hunter. I have eaten bear meat. A neighbor of ours killed one and gave us some of the meat. I don't remember it as so delicious I'd want to repeat it-- but it was not inedible either.

I grew up in black bear country, the Washington Cascades, right on the edge of wilderness. I knew they lived nearby as when we'd go back to pick the summer's plums, we'd see their scratch marks on the trees as they shook down plums. We always made lots of noise to alert them humans were coming. My mother told of how she was walking to the back to bring home the milk cow and she saw an eagle, watched the eagle soar and then dive and only then see that she was being observed by a black bear. It ran off. Mostly black bears do although they can also kill humans if someone comes on them unexpectedly.

My husband was deer hunting in the Coast Range, back when we were a young family. He came upon a female bear who was as surprised as he was as she rose up on her hind legs and roared at him. Only then did he see the cub in the ferns. They ran off and he relaxed as he took his finger off the trigger of his 30-06. He didn't want to kill her and she didn't want to kill him.

Our little ranch is in black bear range. They have woofed at us from the brush to let us know they did not like us being there. They are why we carry a revolver on walks. They are why I quit carrying my little .38 on my hip and turned to the .357 with more stopping power. I always figured if a bear showed up in an aggressive mode, that maybe one shot to make a big noise would be the first but then I'd have to hope I made the second one good if the bear didn't take the hint. Bear spray apparently is not effective with black bears-- not sure of the why. My point in adding this is I am not someone who says animals never need to be killed. Raising sheep and cattle, I am well aware sometimes it has to be done. But for a trophy???

My experiences with grizzly bears come only from visiting where they live. The above photo is in western Montana. We were driving a gravel road when I decided I needed to use the bushes. We found a place that seemed good and I got out only to see a steaming pile of scat-- very big scat. I decided I could hold it and went back to the van. He took a look at it and said, yep, grizzly. That bear didn't want to see us anymore than we wanted to see it.

I've seen them several times in Yellowstone where they have less reason to be afraid of humans. It's always a thrill but I treat them with respect, always carry bear spray when walking trails, don't walk alone, don't try to approach too close when seeing one, avoid any appearance of aggression, and take a lot of photos when I get the chance. I also want them to stay protected because it is important that someplace in this country stays wild. It's what separates me from many righties...

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