David A. Lien: Sportsmen back DOW
January 10, 2011
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.
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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