A petition to eliminate bear hunting privileges is back in California; here are 3 reasons why we cannot support it
One year ago, Hunt To Eat released a statement expressing our pleasure about the withdrawal of California S.B. 252 that would have banned bear hunting in the Golden State.
The removal was in response to the hunting community mobilizing to explain why the bill was ill-conceived and not the right choice for hunting in California. At the time, we also expressed the belief that the issue would arise again. So far in 2022, we have seen initiatives to reduce or remove bear, mountain lion, and bobcat hunting opportunities in Washington, Colorado, Arizona, and, again, in California.
On Feb. 17, the California Fish and Game Commission will hear Petition 2021-027, a request “to eliminate open hunting season for black bear until the Department’s bear management plan is updated.”
Therefore, Hunt To Eat would like to make our position clear once again.
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. Therefore, black bear hunting is consistent with Hunt To Eat’s approach to community, real food, and conservation.
Petition 2021-027, submitted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), identifies concerns related to a lack of reliable science around the status of black bear populations in California and cites specific threats to bears from climate change and wildfires. By centering its three pillars, Hunt To Eat continues to promote the societal and conservation benefits of the black bear hunt in California and believes that a full closure on the hunt is the wrong decision for hunters and black bears.
Hunt To Eat supports the continuation of the black bear hunt in California for the following reasons:
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.
California’s regulated bear hunt creates opportunities for ethical hunters. Some groups who oppose bear hunting point to moral arguments against the hunt. It is important to note that these groups represent their specific organizational goals and do not reflect the voting majority or a rigorous interpretation of the 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.
Under current law, black bears are classified as game animals. 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 degrees Fahrenheit.
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 percent of individuals from the black bear population, which is well within the limits of a sustainable hunt. In both 2019 and 2020, hunters killed fewer bears than the total quota. Black bear permits generated an estimated $1.5 million in revenue in 2021 for California wildlife management. Petition 2021-027 will undermine the role of wildlife managers to set sustainable hunting levels for the state.
Hunt To Eat strongly advocates for wildlife management based on the best available science. We recognize that accurately estimating the black bear population in California requires additional resources and efforts by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and call on that agency to enhance the quality and rigor of its monitoring efforts.
Black bear hunting is also a proven management tool to reduce human/bear conflict. 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 Petition 2021-027 in California and recent initiatives in other states 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.
Here are some actions you can take in your everyday lives to become responsible ambassadors of the hunting community:
- Continue to call and write your legislators to advocate for increased funding for wildlife research and evidence-based wildlife management.
- Contact state wildlife commissions to express your opinions about initiatives related to hunting, emphasizing what hunting means to you and your continued support for well-regulated hunting.
- Engage in respectful conversations with non-hunters that communicate why you hunt and your commitment to conservation.
- Join hunting and conservation organizations so they have the resources to respond to issues such as Petition 2021-027.
- Check out some of Hunt To Eat’s wild game recipes and cook someone a delicious meal!
Below is the original statement that supports predator hunting and approved the removal of California SB 252
At Hunt To Eat, we were pleased to hear the news that Senator Scott Wiener withdrew Senate Bill 252 (S.B. 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. S.B. 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.