Recent comments

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I am a naturalist of the Bear Clan Totem.
    I had a good cry over this.

    The blogging served to sound emotions.
    The karma of those involved will be swift indeed.

    Now we must take action to protect the bears.

    It is very disheartening to learn that you who have been most closely involved with this issue have pleaded repeatedly to no avail. Chris and Bill de Creeft, your comments are well taken that it this is a National Park and perhaps it will take the outrage of the Nation in general to affect a change. As you pointed out Bill, this land belongs to us - as well as it's natural inhabitants.

    In Haleakala National Park in Hawaii recently a moratorium was called on a commercial biking venture in that park in response to the resulting number of accidents.
    (see: http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2007/10/haleakala-national-park-officials-institute-moratorium-bike-tours)

    Surely, if we raise our unified voices now, we can affect some similar action.

    In Jim Stratton's article re: the formal request of August 2007 to decrease the limit of these majestic creatures allowed to be hunted and killed in Katmai specifically, there appears a graph chart clearly showing the decline in sightings and the increase in killing. This piece of information alone should stand as a testimony to the need to rethink these practices, particularly since it states on the National Parks Service website that the very presence of these wonderful bears, in large part, inspired the creation of Katmai Preserve to begin with!

    In addition to writing to Marcia Blaszak, as Chris suggests, (Thank You Chris!) I propose that we draft a letter as a representation of the general consensus of concerned American citizens and taxpayers, to be sent to:

    The National Parks Service
    Alaska Region of Parks Services
    the Outdoor Council
    Alaska Board of Game

    And to the congresspeople who represent each of us (who partake in this process).

    In this letter we will Demand a Cease and Desist or a Moratorium (or what ever language of the concensus fits)
    of these hunting practices until a sound and effective management policy can be established that is in the highest good of all.

    We can collect as many signatures as possible in a three to five day period and get the ball rolling right away!

    Are you with me?

    Jude

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    So far the outrage is white hot. Keep blowing on the coals people. This is the one case of gross mismanagement that might actually produce some heads on a platter and maybe even some real accountability to a mostly unaccountable agency.

  • Katmai Bear Hunt: Outfitter Says It's No Walk in the Woods   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Mr. Hamilton, I carefully read your story on the Katmai bear slaughter, and that's exactly what it is...a slaughter...even in the confines of the Alaskan game laws. However, I don't buy your sugar coated scenario what happened during this easy kill. You mentioned, there was "no mechanized vehicles" used during the hunt. So, therefore you (the so called hunters) drop kick the kill with relatively little ease, and with no intentions of bringing back the bear for it's meat, but only just let it rot in the open stream. Wonderful game tactics! Yes, my emotions run high on this tragic episode of ruse games laws that allows this kind of pathethic killing to continue. Not just in Katmai but else where in Alaska. I can remember stories about so called game hunters shooting bears from private planes...etc.. Alaska, in my estimation, only surrenders to the powerful fish & game lobby that allows and wants weak game management laws to be implemented...or not to be heavily enforced. From my close allies in the field of conservation have told me, it's not about game management in Alaska...it's about MONEY!

  • Katmai Bear Hunt: Outfitter Says It's No Walk in the Woods   6 years 41 weeks ago

    "Our management aims are for a high density of bears and we think we are achieving that." This is the typical bureaucratic gobbledegook we have come to expect from the career minded robots who staff the elite ranks of the NPS.

    I'm so glad you are meeting the goals of your management plan. You deserve a pat on your spineless back.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Thanks to all for your passionate comments-Ken and I along with many others have fought this for years through the agency channels to no avail - hopefully this public outcry will make a difference. PLEASE though lets redirect our ire from the hunters, of whom there are many good, ethical men and women who are as shocked and abhorred as we are that this is happening; we need to direct all of this energy to the agencies who can make a difference. The ADFG has it's hands tied-there are lots of bears in the GMU that this area is part of-it isn't a matter of bears being threatened as a species-it is this small population of very important, habituated bears where the problem lies. This has to go to the Federal level-this is a National Preserve-contact she is the Superintendent of Alaska National Parks, contact your congresspeople-let them know that you are not happy about the way this area is being managed-they may write back that this is a state issue-not true-while the state and the parks co-manage this area the parks has the final authority. It will be through these agencies that we effect a change-not by bashing hunters.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I would like to raise another question in regards to the agencies who seem "very comfortable" with the sound science that supports that the number of bears taken in this region (about 30 bears a year) is reasonable. One should remember that bears are extremely complex, intelligent animals, with a vast memory of how and when to access food sources. They state that biologists flew over this unit in August and counted a bear for every square mile, and that this density is "high." Bears are not necessarily resident creatures with a set home range- their location varies with a vast number of factors. For example, I know from working on the Katmai Coast this summer that there was a failure
    of many crucial fish runs, namely the pink salmon runs of july
    and August in dozens of river systems. The bears, especially the sows with cubs, and single, fertilized sows, did not get the calories they needed during the early summer. The high country lakes and rivers of the Preserve provide the last late fish runs and some of the most productive berry crops for the
    bears who need the calories the most. I beg the question,
    did the August survey of bear numbers represent a growing population, or an influx of transient bears who traveled long distances from the Katmai Coast and only 25 miles from McNeil River who were trying to compensate for food source limitations in other regions? Can we be sure? I beg managers to be extremely careful as grizzly bears have one of the slowest reproductive rates among terrestrial mammals. If we make a mistake and overharvest, it takes a long time for the populations to recover. These populations are too valuable for mistakes to be made. Is it worth the risk? I hope managers consider Chris and Ken's valuable anecdotal data that supports a drastic drop in bear numbers in the preserve. The issue of ethical hunting is a less viable point. This is an issue of overharvest through mismanagement. SHould hunters be killing single sows? Should there be a harvest cap on the hunt? Should the season be rolled back to mid october? Should the population survey techniques be scrutinized to the fullest degree? YES!

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Here is a link to an essay describing the deep seated roots of hunting and "The Changing Role of Hunting in North America Conservation." Of particular note, there is a description of the urbanite big game hunter, considered the largest pool of hunters today.
    http://www.cic-wildlife.org/index.php?id=18

    The dialogue about "The Changing Role of Hunting in North American Conservation" is worthy of greater public discussion.

    A very strong point in the article was made about the morality of hunting. It seems the hunting community recognizes the scrutiny for moral reasons. The article supports the endeavours of subsistence hunting but evades support for the trophy style hunting, even though it may be the largest pool of hunters today.

    A few figures below suggests the system isn't suffering from a lack of dollars from the community, and it would be hard pressed to announce a grand need for dollars from the Katmai region. The dollars from Katmai must be a tiny percentage, yet contrasted to the loss experienced these past few days needs to be more fully expressed. The morally questionable style of hunting, the insignificant economic gain, and the public unrest qualify as one big flashing red light.

    "Hunting and fishing license fees and excise taxes on firearms provide $2 billion a year in funding that is indispensable. Recent surveys show that influence has not diminished. The Government receives another $1.4 billion (1996) in state income tax revenue and $1.7 billion in federal income tax. In 1996 (a new survey will be out this time next year), the federal income tax revenue alone was nearly twice the 1996 budgets of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Biological Service and National Park Service combined! (Rob Southwick of Southwick Associates and Melinda Gable of Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.) "The combination of hunters to wildlife agencies' conservation mission are long, wide, and deep." No one has ever restored more wildlife. Hunters were and continue to be the force behind "the greatest environmental success story of the twentieth century," according to Valerious Geist and many scholars."

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I feel sick to my stomach. I've been there and I remember many of the bears' antics... as a matter of fact I wish there had been more activity. A lot of the bears were just grazing on sedges... like cattle. Several bears even walked up to us as close as 15 feet. The twisted logic of 'TROPHY' hunting needs to be dealt with in the higher courts and by people ceasing to be afraid to speak up.

  • Katmai Bear Hunt: Outfitter Says It's No Walk in the Woods   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Explain your interpretation of "illegal methods", and how they apply in this specific instance. Admittedly, killing permits were indeed issued for use during a specified time frame. And your executioners were by some legal statute operating within the limits of those contracts. However, the photographing, filming, or other manner of documentation of ANY activities that take place on public landsis well within the scope of legality. If you don't want to be on camera, take your actions into the private sector. In the chance that camera crews placed themselves between preditor and prey, as extreme as those tactics might viewed, those recording the activities did indeed have just as much LEGAL right to be in the area as did those trophy-hunting low-lives lacking in skills and ethics to conduct a reasonably equtible pursuit of they intended quarry. Don't for a moment confuse these specimens with truly wild bears. If you ever had the opportunity to stare down a wild bear at a range of 20 yds., your first instincts would NOT be engaging in a moment of awe and appreciation, rather it would be quickly locating a place to discard of your soiled underwear. Sport hunting indeed.........who you crapping'?

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I have watched this video and now that my nausea has subsided enough for me to type I am going to state some facts I honestly believe to be true.
    I live in Texas, but I was born in Alaska. I spend every available minute I have hiking our national and state parks, as I believe they are our greatest natural resource. I am also an outings chair with the Sierra Club. There are no hunters in the video, only a disgusting group of a subhuman species that are carrying weapons. This is no more of a hunt than ordering fish at a restaurant would be called fishing. I believe true hunters would find this as disgusting as I do. Sometimes calling attention to the inappropriate actions of others that share your interests can be very effective at stopping that inappropriate action. I am going to send emails to the editors of hunting magazines such as "Field and Stream", "Bowhunter", & "Outdoors" and send them a link to this video. I am going to ask them if this is the type of behavior they would like to be associated with their sport. I am going to send this link to everyone I know and ask them to send it to everyone they know. Then I am going to send emails to the National Park Service and ask them the same questions. Last but not least I am going to send a real old fashioned snail mail letter to Mary A. Bomar, Director National Park Service and let her know she is most responsible for allowing this despicable behavior on her watch.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    While it may appear on the surface that I jest, my person experience suggests that the most effective way to beat a system is to launch attacks from as many fronts as possible, and you can almost assure that one of the angles will meet with success. There are many avenues available to explore, and this is a rather bizarre alternative to be sure. But no less viable than resorting to PETA, public opinion, government agencies, other animal rights groups, international groups, ethical sportsmen's associations, preservationist and environmentalists, who might be appealed to regarding the issues of open season being launched in populace areas. Data would be useful regarding the historical status of this particular bear population, and the latest trends in the herd insofar as its stability, or lack thereof. Also, correlations need to be drawn and plotted between in relation to the hypothetical impact that elimination of a top preditor will impact the local ecosystem. These data should be readily available through land management reports and be easily verified by local animal biologists. What really raises my blood pressure is that all these efforts will be after the fact now, as it's too late to alter the immediate impact that this senseless massacre will have on the short-term ability of the species to recover its numbers. I understand that the article, states, Biology aside (there are many bears in this area), , but what are the specific numbers. "Many" is a relative term. And in most ecosystems, large numbers of one species are generally required to keep the system of checks and balances regulated amongst the entire system. Is there any information about specific numbers of killing licenses permitted for this particular season? As a result, what will the final tally be?

    I was troubled before. Now, I'm feeling ill. These are allegedly representative of my own kind allowing and partaking in this?

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Dear Chris, after reading Jim's letter to Marcia Blaszak i already had a very bad feeling. But now , after having received your mail and
    after having read your and Jim's articles i am realy feeling miserable and p.ss.d . A couple of days ago we were still watching all the photo's and the video that we took in Katmai and we were telling everyone this was the most beautiful experience in our life. Now i am not sure what's left of that feeling. Everytime i look at a picture now i just wander if this bear has been "slaughtered" in the meanwhile. Are we now part of this "slaughter" ? Is it because of people like us who make bears feel comfortable around people that those things can happen this way. Chris, i can only remember that you told me to look for eye contact with those amazing creatures and just let it come over you. . Now i just wonder if those hunters (if you can call them hunters in the real meaning of that word) also have eye contacts when they shoot bears from less than 10 yards. You must be a real man to do this. It's like beating children who cannot defend themselves. It really takes a lot of guts to kill bears like that. Brad Josephs comment realy proves this.
    If we , here in Belgium , already feel sad, mad, i do not know what we feel right now after having watched this video than i can imagine how hard it must be for people like you Chris and Ken , and all those who are trying to stop all this.
    Chris and Ken, we think of you and your struggle and we hope one day people will choose for "reason". (the only animal killing just for fun is the human kind !!!)

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    What's the problem? Plenty to go around,

  • The Consequences of the Legal Bear Hunt in Katmai   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Mike:
    I have been an avid hunter in the state of Alaska for over 40 years. The meat that I harvested for my family helped sustain us over the years and I greatly appreciate the fact that I have been allowed to do so. I, however like so many other true hunters and outdoorsmen am soundly against the killing of any and I mean any wild animal that cannot be or will not be consumed.
    The thought of taking of these big brown bears for trophy purposes only turns my stomach and it should yours too.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    First off, I fully support hunting of all animals in a sustainable manner.

    In my opinion, this is not, by any stretch of the word, hunting. This is the wanton wasteful killing of a habituated animal and must be condemned. Travel to another region where the bears are not accustomed to mankind and hunt bears.

    These degenerates should be named in public and beaten.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Beamis, may justice be swift. In my tribe we scalp them clean below the belt for such a terrible crime for killing sacred bear. Shaman justice is best punishment!

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    There are limits in sports and this style of sport has crossed into "no man's land". This may require a compromise this year, but it must make a distinct impact to get change started. The dialogues must begin. Keep writing and speaking and sharing and emailing and blogging. Social boundaries have been violated but made to appear legal by those in power, to make those decisions. Nothing is right if it's not right with a democratic society. It speaks volumes about who we are as a species, not just Americans. Every cell in this body is responding to the urgency to stand up.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Shamanic justice? I'm all for for appealing to higher authorities.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I suggest a multi-faceted approach. In most Native American lore, and from my studies it applies in this specific geography, the bear is a creature to be treated with the highest level of respect accorded to ANY of the Great Father's creations, and NEVER hunted, especially as a food source. Killing a bear, except under the most extreme and strictly defined circumstances is to bring unbelieveable bad fortune upon the slayer. While we're frittering away time contacting elected officials, NPS administrators and other governing bodies, how about contacting the Katmai, Denali, Inuit, etc. and asking for their particluar brand of intervention? There isn't a shaman worth his salt that wouldn't take up this cause. From what I understand, this local justice should be far more severe and swifter than the squeeky wheels of government non-action will be.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Beamis, let's keep the coals burning on this one. No one hangs loose on this one. Ms. Bomar it's your skin and hide now... in the courts. I can see these jerks laughing as they skin the poor animal. Yap! a big booze night for the jerks and you can hear them slurring in there slobber speech about the BIG KILL. John, I sense your anger and it's good as mine. I think your on to something about the Texan mentality of hunting. Remember, the Dick Cheney texas fiasco...safari land Texas style!?

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Mary Bomar can you read this? You had better be doing something about this shooting gallery of a bear slaughter real quick or you will have the wrath of the American public raining down on your head.

    Again what kind of stewardship is this?

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    This a dispicable practice. They are shooting habituated bears. There is no fair chase involved in such a "hunt". Hunting brown bears should be prohibitted in Katmai Preserve and the adjacent Park.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    This is not hunting--this is a slaughter. Many of these bears have become habituated to humans through their exposure to visitors at McNeil River Game Sanctuary. In good conscience, they should be protected. Clearly, when they leave McNeil River, the behavior they learned around humans there is just as shown in the video. They are not afraid of people. Some hunters have proclaimed to the Alaska Board of Game that the bears lose this behavior as soon as they leave McNeil. The videos document the truth. Katmai Park and Preserve should be off limits to bear hunting to prevent this slaughter and provide a sanctuary to these incredibly special bears. They are a world treasure.

  • Is the Bear "Hunt" in Katmai National Preserve Sporting or Ethical?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    I witnessed people doing the unspeakable and I will never forget it. This was a nightmare. While assisting Daniel Zatz, Chris and Ken Day, Scott Dickerson and Channel 2 Anchorage news on this disturbing trip, I saw what I knew had been happening for years, but didnt really grasp. This area serves as the late season feeding grounds for McNeil and katmai bears, mostly sows and cubs. The bears are all habituated to humans- they trust people. This "harvest" or slaughter acts as a population sink for the invaluable bears that constitute the booming bear viewing industry of the Alaska Peninsula. It is also cruel, unethical and inhumane.
    The bear that was killed in the video was a beautiful female
    who I assume likely would have had cubs next year. She was finishing up a good summer, and was very fat. She wandered right next to our camp several times eating berries, and slept in the bushes about 30 yards outside of our electric fence. This was valuable bear, much more valuable alive than dead. She was valuable as an individual. The bear viewing resource in this region is one of the most incredible wildlife jewels on the planet. Only when you make eye contact with such a bear and feel the mutual trust between you and the bear can you grasp how special and rare she really was.
    On the 1st we watched a party of 3 walk up to her as she carried a fish up the bank of the lake. She was oblivious to their presence until, at 20 yards or less, one man let an arrow go into her chest. The guide put two bullets into her before she disappeared into the grass and came our direction. She stood up and looked at us with a look of sheer terror 20 yards away before hiding in the alders. The guide found her and shot her 4 more times. We filmed and watched all this while set up 10 feet from our camp. The bear was killed 50 yards or less away. We then saw them gut her like a catfish, leaving the white carcass to attract more bears for the next day's hunt. I hope her hide looks good on someone's wall.
    We saw and heard at least half a dozen bears killed on the 1st. As soon as first light came bullets echoed across Narrow Cove and from Battle Creek. My heart sank deeper than ever before. From the air when we left we saw bears fishing and eating berries right next to the ominous tent camps, people were skinning bears, hunting parties stalked the hills, and white bear carcasses were floating in the lake. It was a massacre. It bothered me more than I even could have imagined. I hope this can be stopped.

  • Marketing Alaska's National Parks; Why Not All National Parks?   6 years 41 weeks ago

    Jim Stratton
    Alaska Regional Director
    National Parks Conservation Association

    One of the opportunities provided by the Centennial Challenge is to test ideas, like this marketing approach, and if it is successful, roll it out to the rest of the country. I agree that all parks could benefit from something like this....