Poaching is unsportsmanlike

Mar 07, 2013

The recent bear poaching investigation that nabbed 80 violators just goes to show that lawbreakers will ultimately be brought to justice. The four-year investigation “Operation Something Bruin” by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service was a worthwhile joint effort that was successful in uncovering more than 900 illegal bear hunting violations.

These perpetrators are being charged with things like bear baiting, illegal use of dogs, operation of illegal bear enclosures, and guiding hunts on national forest lands without the required permits. Not only are these actions illegal, they are unsportsmanlike and could hinder legitimate hunting for everyone in the future, including those who follow the law. There is a legal and regulated way of hunting bears in America, but that privilege could be taken away some day if people continue to poach the species.

We just can’t see the sport in luring bears with chocolate and shooting them. It is cruel to bait or trap and innocent bear, especially if it is undersized. While bear populations are improving, it wouldn’t take much to reverse conservation efforts.

It’s important for hunters to be educated on the laws as well as the reasons behind the laws. Some will face jail time and hefty fines for federal offenses for illegally hunting on national park land without a permit. People charged ranged in age from 19 to 63. We would hope the older and more experienced hunters would set a better example for future generations.

Hunting already gets a bad rap because some argue it isn’t a necessary way of life anymore. If hunters are interested in preserving the integrity and legitimacy of bear hunting, more self-policing needs to occur in the community.

Hopefully the results of this investigation will deter others from breaking the law and encourage more humane practices.