Dr. Greg Jungman: About hunter and bear safety
I would like to announce the upcoming hunter education class, and talk a little about the bear that was killed by the Parks and Wildlife officer near Crestone in the San Louis Valley.
Our fall class, taught by Joe Holland, officers Shannon Schwab and Sean Sheperd and myself, starts Sept. 8, with the final session Sept. 22. This is an internet class, so we will meet on the 8th from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Buffalo Mt. room at the County Commons for the first portion of the class. Students will then go online and complete the class or complete a workbook of self study, and we will do the shooting and testing portion Sept. 22. Cost is $10, and you may email me at email@example.com or (970) 468-6139 for any additional information.
While announcing this class, and having a bear in my yard this past weekend, I could not help but reflect on the situation with the bear being killed last week. You have probably all seen the news about the local residents concerns that this might not have been the offending bear, understandable concern for the two young cubs, and private property rights and how they interact with public and livestock growers safety.
I certainly do not have all the facts, and it looks like a variety of stories have been presented by the news and who they interviewed, but as I see it the residents who are most upset also carry the most blame. It seems to me that when residents decided and then acted as if this bear was tame and – as several residents claimed – would not hurt anybody, this bear’s fate was sealed, as were its cubs. In my mind, they killed this bear, the officer just had to be the instrument of that death. As these powerful wild animals become less and less afraid of people, the risk of a serious incident keeps rising until it is inevitable.
As unfortunate as this incident was, the lesson for all of us is to treat wild animals as wild, enjoy them from a distance, and protect and enhance their habitat when ever we can.
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