Vancouver Canucks player David Booth is getting quite a bit of negative attention after taking to Twitter to post photos and video of himself killing a black bear while he was on vacation in Alberta.
Animal advocates, and even some hunters, are taking a major issue with the fact that he was bear baiting, a controversial hunting practice that involves leaving food out to lure animals to a certain spot where they’re easier to kill.
Some take issue with the advantage it gives hunters, ruining the supposed “fair chase,” while others simply abhor trophy hunting altogether.
“It is even more difficult to find a moral justification for trophy hunting ― the killing of an animal to satisfy human vanity. There is a moral difference between killing for food and killing for pleasure. While an ethical vegetarian might argue that both are unnecessary, the latter plumbs the depths of immoral human behaviour through its selfishness, trivializing of nature and disregard for life,” wrote Peter Fricker, Projects and Communications Director at the Vancouver Humane Society, about the incident.
Bear baiting is legal in most of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, but not in British Columbia, where Booth lives. It’s also illegal in 18 states in the U.S.
In this case, Booth spent a week luring the bear to the kill spot before shooting him with a crossbow from way up high in a tree stand while he was out with guides from Twin River Outfitting. The plan all along was to show footage of the hunt on The Edge, a program on the Canadian hunting and fishing network Wild TV.
During the ambush he tweeted, “In Alberta trying to kill a few bruins. #unleashthefury,” followed by, “Just killed a Chara-sized bruin! 7ft black bear – 21in skull.”
There are no reports to indicate that Booth suffered from an epiphany that he is no greater, braver or manlier for having done so. Either way, the backlash came quickly and the video he posted to YouTube has since been taken down. There are, however, some who are defending his actions.
“There are people who get upset and they pick out certain aspects to push their own agenda,” said Lowell Davis of Alpine Outfitters in Alberta. “But it’s not an easy way to hunt. You have to be perfectly still. The slightest movement and the bear will go hunt for beavers.”
Wow. Sitting still and waiting. That does sound terribly difficult. Hopefully no one strained themselves during the whole ordeal. Still, others are defending his actions because, well, just because what he did is technically legal …and then there’s Ted Nugent, who also took to Twitter to express his admiration.
“David Booth the great NHL Warrior is a tru conservationist supporting the proven success of Canadian bear mgt. Godbless the wildlife hero,” he tweeted.
“David Booth is a self-professed, devout Christian — a fact he has also brought into the public realm through interviews with the media. He no doubt sincerely believes that his bear-baiting trophy hunt is not at odds with the Christian values of mercy, kindness and respect for Creation. Perhaps some genuine soul-searching would tell him otherwise,” said Fricker, who contrasted Booth’s actions with those of NHL player Scott Niedermayer who’s using his status as a celebrity to campaign to save the Great Bear Rainforest and speaking out about the need to protect grizzly bear habitat.
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