At Hunt To Eat, we were pleased to hear the news that Senator Scott Wiener withdrew Senate Bill 252 (SB-252) that would have banned bear hunting in California. The withdrawal of the bill is good news for hunting and conservation in California; however, there is reason to believe that the issue will arise again, in California or elsewhere. Therefore, Hunt To Eat would like to make our position clear.
Hunt To Eat is built on three pillars: community, real food, and conservation. Those three pillars inform our perspectives and guide our responses to important issues faced by the hunting and conservation communities.
The black bear hunt in California is consistent with Hunt To Eat’s approach to community, real food, and conservation. SB-252 proposed to amend California’s state wildlife management laws and implement a full ban on bear hunting. The bill would have undermined the values that Hunt To Eat’s pillars promote and eroded the societal and conservation benefits of the black bear hunt in California.
Hunt To Eat supports the continuation of the black bear hunt in California for the following reasons:
- California’s hunting regulations are effective at creating opportunities for ethical bear hunters. Some groups who oppose bear hunting point to moral arguments against the hunt. It is important to note that none of these groups identify credible issues with the hunting regulations or an appropriate interpretation of science.
- Bear hunting is a long tradition in North America among both Indigenous and settler hunting communities. These communities continue to practice this tradition in a respectful way that celebrates bear ecology.
- Under current law, black bears are classified as a game animal. Therefore, bear hunters are required to retain meat from hunted bears. The black bear hunt is not a trophy hunt; it is a well-regulated, traditional hunt that has tremendous community benefits.
Hunt To Eat supports law-abiding and ethical hunters who participate in a healthy and ecologically supportive outdoor activity in California.
- Black bear hunters eat the meat from animals they bring home. Black bear meat is among the most protein-rich game meat and makes for some of the most delicious and nutritious wild game meals.
- Black bears provide a range of usable parts, including fat that can be rendered into oil, meat, and bones to cook into game stock. Black bear meat is a great source of amino acids, protein, healthy fats, and a range of minerals and vitamins, including iron, riboflavin, and thiamin.
- Black bear meat, while a carrier for trichinosis, is delicious and safe to consume if the meat tests negative for trichinosis or is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F.
Hunt To Eat supports black bear hunters who bring home valuable game meat to feed their families, making some of our favorite wild game meals.
- Black bear hunting is a regulated and sustainable activity in California. By conservative estimates, hunters remove only 0.03% of individuals from the black bear population, which is well within the limits of a sustainable hunt. SB-252 would have undermined the role of wildlife scientists and managers in setting sustainable hunting levels for the State based on a comprehensive landscape-level management approach.
- Hunt To Eat strongly advocates for wildlife management based on science. We support public engagement and democratic access to wildlife and recognize that not all groups will agree with all wildlife management policies, but that a balanced consideration of the best available knowledge will produce strong decisions.
- Black bear hunting is also a proven management tool to reduce human/bear conflicts. Through their participation in the hunt, black bear hunters contribute to an important effort to promote coexistence between humans and bears.
Hunt To Eat supports the efforts of wildlife researchers and hunters who provide critical information to wildlife managers. As ethical hunters, we are proud to participate in a strong wildlife management system that supports both ecosystems and human communities.
What Can You Do?
Hunt To Eat is built on an appreciation for a diverse and inclusive hunting community that celebrates the outdoors and healthy wildlife populations. We encourage active and respectful debate about wildlife management and as a company, we advocate for issues that are supported by science, are sustainable, and have demonstrated benefits to communities and conservation.
Issues like SB-252 will continue to arise. It is important that we continue to promote community, real food, and conservation so that we are prepared to address future issues such as SB-252.
Here are some actions you take in your everyday lives to become responsible ambassadors of the hunting community:
- Engage in respectful conversations with non-hunters that communicate why you hunt and your commitment to conservation.
- Continue to call and write your legislators to advocate for evidence-based wildlife management.
- Join hunting and conservation organizations so they have the resources to respond to issues such as SB-252.
- Check out some of Hunt To Eat’s wild game recipes and cook someone a delicious meal!