LETTER: Commissioners got it right with black bear vote

As a responsible black bear hunter and firm believer of hunting as a crucial component of wildlife management, I thank Commissioner Brooke along with Chair Robinson and Commissioners Burrows and Walsh for their nay votes on a proposal to allow for black bear tooth submissions in lieu of in-person bear checks in regions 2, 3 and 4.

Our fair-chase hunting heritage depends on our ability to remind and convince the non-hunting public that we’re doing it right.

We take a bear ID test proving we can differentiate between a black and grizzly bear.

We buy a license, abide by seasons, bag limits and quotas.

We pack out all the meat, fat, hide and head.

We present proof to wildlife managers that we didn’t unlawfully harvest a sow with cubs, or cubs, or the wrong species of bear.

We collect important harvest data which is used to set management regulations, ensuring that healthy populations of black bears remain.

And since tooth submissions aren’t used to denote sex or even species of bear, they’re an imperfect alternative to in-person checks. It would be unwise to unnecessarily eliminate some of the reassurances black bear hunters provide the general public that we’re doing it right.

Plus, the interactions I have with FWP staff provide more than just a data point; they allow me to get to know our wildlife managers, and allow them to get to know hunters.

It's worth noting that all three Commissioners whose regions this would have applied to — 2, 3 and 4 — voted against the proposal. Chair Robinson sided with them with her tie-breaking vote. That’s exactly how the regional representation of the Commission is supposed to work, and I was happy to see the good process — as well as the outcome — on this one.

Caleb Teigen

About Caleb Teigen

Husband/father first, on a mountain river or snow second.

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