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Theodore Roosevelt Wouldn't Have Okayed Shooting Cubs & Pups In Their Dens

The deadline for public comments is Sept 6. Follow the link below.

Photo Credit: NPS Photo / Neal Herbert

Remember this? News broke last May that the Department of the Interior wanted to allow hunters in Alaska to walk onto our National Preserves and shoot mama bears and their cubs at their dens. People were understandably outraged. Hopefully, you're still outraged.

The public commenting period for this policy was extended from its original due date and is still open until September 6, 2018.

Under the new policy, hunters would be allowed to take:

any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears.

Laughably, the purpose is to "expand access significantly for recreational hunting." We're not so sure that shooting cubs and pups over bait is very sportsmanlike.


Roosevelt's Hunting Ethics Gave Us the Teddy Bear

In fact, the greatest hunter of them all, Theodore Roosevelt, felt very strongly that the how in hunting was just as important as the what. Roosevelt's Boone and Crocket Club started advocated for a "fair chase" principle since its inception in 1887, but it wasn't until a hunting trip as president that the nation at large took notice.

In November 1902, President Roosevelt went bear hunting in Mississippi. Hunters at the time had been using traps of honey and whiskey. Bears would eat the trap, fall into a drunken stupor, and then the hunter would walk up and shoot them dead (not unlike artificially waking up a bear from hibernation and shooting the groggy animal as it exits). Roosevelt wouldn't tolerate such shenanigans on his hunting trip. When an exhausted bear had been tied up for him to shoot, he refused to kill the defenseless animal. To do so would have been the work of a coward, not a sportsman.

The moment was captured in a cartoon. The cartoon inspired the nation. The Teddy Bear was born.


Leave a comment for the Dept of Interior.

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