David A. Lien: Sportsmen back DOW


To the editor:

The phrase “fair chase” has a very specific meaning in the hunting world. The Boone and Crockett Club defines it as “the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big-game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.”

Last November, a Colorado “hunter” tracked a black bear to its den, where it was likely preparing to hibernate for the winter, then shot it in the den. Such an act, although not currently illegal, is an unfortunate example of excessively poor judgment and a complete lack of fair chase ethics, and Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers fully supports the state wildlife commission’s plans to draft a rule banning the hunting of bears in dens.

The Boone and Crockett Club was founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and his hunting buddies. Fifteen years later (when Roosevelt was president), after an unproductive outing for black bear in Mississippi, one of the guides ran down a bear with dogs, then dragged the creature into camp for Roosevelt to shoot. He declined in disgust, explaining the principles of fair chase.

Roosevelt understood that an ethical hunter is a person that knows and respects the animals hunted, follows the law, and behaves in a way that will satisfy what society expects of him or her as a hunter.

That was clearly not the case in this unfortunate bear-killing incident.

As Scott Limmer, a regional director for the Colorado Outfitters Association said, “We don’t go out and hunt bears in dens. It’s just not done.”

David A. Lien

Co-Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

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amandacarrico 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm not saying that the law should not be changed because I fully agree that it should because I fully believe in and respect the ethics and heritage that accompanies sportsmen. I just think that right or wrong, a person should not be harrassed to the extent that Mr. Kendall and his family is. It is my hope that when Colorado is drafting it's new regulation in this matter that they actually define "den" in it's drafting otherwise someone else is going to make an honest mistake. You are an intelligent person with a strong background. I appreciate your tactful and intelligent letter. "Bears, especially males, don't usually hibernate in caves," said Brian Bachman, president of the North American Bear Foundation, a hunting and conservation group based in Pillager, Minn. Tracking a large bear to a cave and even venturing inside the cave after the animal is considered fair chase, he said.


Colette Erickson 6 years, 2 months ago

Roosevelt couldn't condone hunting lions w/ dogs either. What is "fair" about treeing a lion, and then calling the "hunter" who can fly in and shoot it, as is commonly done? Sure do wish DOW would re-examine those regs. There should be just as much outrage over that practice as this bear travesty.


Frank Estey 6 years, 2 months ago

3canines, With you on the lion thing…Looks like the DOW is being reactive rather than proactive on the rules as a result, once again, they don’t think.


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