Commentary by Mac Olsen


First it was Cecil the Lion over in Africa, and now it’s about a bear hunt in northern Alberta.
Anti-hunters are all fired up on social media about a hunter who used a spear to kill a bear earlier this year.
The Edmonton Journal had a story about Josh Bowmar, who came up from the U.S. to northern Alberta for the hunt. Bowmar posted a video of the hunt on
As quoted in the Journal story:
“‘I just did something that I don’t think anybody in the world has ever done,’ an elated Bowmar tells the camera after launching a spear about 10 to 12 metres into the side of a mature black bear that had been attracted to a bait bin.”
The story continues, “‘I can’t believe that just happened … He’s going down, I drilled him perfect. That was the longest throw I ever thought I could ever make,’ Bowmar tells the camera.”
The story goes on to say that Bowmar was surprised about the reaction to the video and he offered a response to The Canadian Press in an email.
“The bear I speared only ran (55 metres) and died immediately, that’s as humane and ethical as one could get in a hunting situation on big game animals. Trust me, no one cares more about these animals than us hunters, especially me.”
The video has been taken off The Journal story published some negative comments from social media users, including threats to Bowmar’s life.
The Journal story also says the Alberta government will be amending the provincial hunting regulations to ban the use of spears in hunting.
For my part, I’m a rifle and shotgun hunter. I don’t think I’d use a spear for hunting.
But nor am I going to condemn Bowmar and other hunters who do use them. So long as the spear makes a quick, clean and ethical kill, it should not be banned from use.
Just like bow, crossbow or rifle/shotgun hunting, those who use spears have to practice with their choice of weapon, to ensure that they make the quick, clean and ethical kill.
If they don’t practice and unnecesarily harm the animal, then they can be rightly condemned for their action – and ostracized, too.
But to the anti-hunters, I offer a message to you that I found on Facebook: Don’t hate what you don’t understand. Getting unnecessarily fired up over a video posting of a bear hunt with a spear just shows your ignorance.
It confirms to me why hunters have to promote their message of the benefits of hunting and that we also emphasize quick, clean and ethical kills of all big game animals.
Everytime some anti-hunter starts stomping up and down over something they don’t like, they merely demonstrate blind ignorance and close-mindedness, and make futile gestures like threats against hunters.
And despite the Alberta government’s plan to ban spear hunting, don’t be surprised if the Bowmar video controversy doesn’t create even more interest in this form of hunting.