Alberta is reportedly considering a ban on bear hunting after a graphic online video that has caused outrage. It shows a hunter throwing a spear and striking a bear. He later celebrates when he discovers the bear is dead.
Josh Bowmar is an Ohio fitness trainer and former All-American javelin champion. He said he spent several years preparing for this type of hunt, which happened earlier this year. Canadian authorities are now investigating whether the 26-year-old broke any laws, reports CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.
The 13-minute video shows Bowmar ecstatic after spearing an adult black bear in the woods of Alberta, Canada.
“I just speared a bear!” Bowmar said in the video.
The bear was
lured with bait, and Bowmar’s spear equipped with a small GoPro camera. The bear’s
remains were recovered the next day.
“I mean, this got full penetration,” Bowmar said.
The video, which has since been made private, caused outrage on social media and drew criticism from animal rights groups. In response, the Alberta Environment and Parks department reportedly called spear hunting “unacceptable” and asked authorities to investigate.
“The reason I’ve been filming my hunts I think since I was like 14 is because I always wanted to have my own show,” Bowmar said on his YouTube channel.
“I don’t think killing an animal should be entertainment,” said Johnny Sain, who writes about conservation and is an avid hunter.
“There’s a spiritual experience. You are stepping inside the circle. … And that triggers all kinds of primal emotions… but I don’t know if that’s something that needs to be shared with the general audience,” Sain added.
In a statement to CBS News, Bowmar said: “The bear I speared only ran 60 yards and died immediately, that’s as humane and ethical as one could get. Trust me, no one cares more about these animals than us hunters, especially me. If I just wanted to kill, why not use a rifle and shoot the animal from 500 yards away with it having no chance to escape. If didn’t care about the humane killing of this bear, why did I spend years preparing and practicing, becoming extremely proficient with a spear to make sure I could harvest this bear ethically?”
“That’s the way humans acquired meat for many, many years before gun powder, before the bow and arrow. So the weapon is effective,” Sain said. “The question comes down to: ‘Is the person handling the weapon effective?’”
The Alberta Environment and Parks
department has reportedly promised to ban spear hunting later this year. The practice
is already illegal in Ontario. Laws varies across states in the U.S.