I have never been one to shy away from controversy. So let's talk about Josh Bowmar and his video of himself killing a bear with a spear. First, let me say, I have no issues with the method of take. The kill, arguably, could have been every bit as humane as using an arrow from a compound or traditional bow. Also, I do not view baiting of bears as an unethical practice.

All of that being said, I do find myself questioning the wisdom, ethics, and perhaps maturity, of Bowmar's decision making. In the original video Bowmar (a competitive javelin athlete) says "that was the longest throw I ever thought I could ever make". Later in the video it becomes apparent that the animal was hit in the gut (hence the fact I said it COULD have been humane earlier). So perhaps taking that "longest throw" was not the most ethical decision. Not every shot is perfect and sometimes you take the opportunity you get, but if one is hunting with a spear it might be prudent to hold out for a better opportunity. In the video Bowmar also points out repeatedly, almost bragging, that he did not have any "backup" and that there were not any shotguns in the area of the kill. For his safety, the safety of his wife who was filming, and the ability to put an animal out of its misery I, again, seriously question the wisdom and ethics of that decision. (It's worth noting that a firearm was carried by a guide during the retrieval of the bear the following morning).

In one interview, with Wide Open Spaces, Josh said in response to the backlash "What is going through my mind right now is just utter disbelief..." To which, honestly, I have to call bullshit. We live in the age of Cecil the lion, and Harambe the gorilla. We live in the age of safe spaces. You are in "disbelief" that there was backlash? Did you think that you would be given an award? If you are truly in disbelief as to why some people are upset about this, then you may need to pull your head out of your fourth point of contact, equally as much as PETA needs to pull their head out of theirs... We live in a time where the facts don't matter. Whether the animal suffered for 30 seconds, or an hour, or 20 doesn't matter.

Here is what matters: Presentation. I have no issue with the method used to kill this bear, I'd love to commend it if it had been a clean kill. But the real problem with this video is the presentation. I get it, you "just did something that nobody in the world has done killed a bear, on the ground, with a spear, on film..." You aren't a superhero. You didn't just defeat ISIS. You killed a bear by hitting it in the gut with a spear. Then you jumped around and waved your arms like a 10 year old on his birthday or like a football player after the Super Bowl. I can't speak for all hunters, but I don't think that the jumping around was the best example of a hunter who has respect for the life he took. I get it, I have felt the adrenaline, even given a few high fives. But if hunting as a sport is going to survive in the age of Cecil, Harambe and the Keyboard Warriors then maybe we need to keep the high fives and jumping around to a minimum. Particularly if there are plans to release a video on the Internet.

To any hunters who feel like we are under attack and that Under Armor dropping the  sponsorship of Bowmar's wife is an example of that, here is the thing: you are right. We are under attack. The public does not understand what we do or why. Which is why we need to be putting our best foot forward at all times. We, as hunters, represent each other through our actions in the field, our pictures, and our videos. Bowmar gave the anti-hunting crowd ammunition, an activity I'd prefer that we avoid.


YouTube seems to have taken down the original video posted by Bowmar. A link to the entire video is below at Outdoor Hub, as well as a link to the interview I referenced with Wide Open Spaces.




Here is what Canada had to say:

"...it was about himself." 


What does respect look like in the field? 

What does respect look like in the field? 

What does respect look like in the field? 

What does respect look like in the field? 

Stay tuned. Good luck. Be safe.