As predictable as the changing of the seasons, the world’s wealthiest animal-rights organization has returned to its favorite “hunting” grounds to spearhead an effort to ban all hunting of black bears. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a petition with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) asking the California Fish and Game Commission to ban all hunting of black bears. This attempt comes less than a year after legislation ending bear hunting in the state faced extreme backlash and was pulled by the sponsor.
Petition 2021-027 alleges that CDFW uses faulty science to justify black bear hunting and, further, that the species is in peril due to wildfires, climate change, poaching and, of course, regulated hunting. The petition is part of a newly launched campaign by animal-rights groups to pressure state fish and wildlife agencies to ban hunting of predators during the formal adoption process of hunting regulations.
Take Action! Sportsmen need to submit comments in support of bear hunting and demand that California stand by science-based wildlife management and the state’s own trained biologists, and as such, reject petition 2021/2022-027. Submit comments to FGC@FGC.CA.GOV.
It’s the same tactic we’re witnessing in Arizona, where HSUS, in coordination with Center for Biological Diversity and the Mountain Lion Foundation, are rallying their combined membership to submit comments opposing black bear, mountain lion and bobcat hunting in the state during the public comment period of their adoption of hunting guidelines for the next five years.
Likewise, the same organizations successfully leveraged a working relationship with Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and protectionist members of the state’s fish and game commission to end the spring permit-only black bear hunt there.
While directly pressuring state fish and wildlife agencies and commissions is a new tact, their objective is not. Since HSUS targeted mountain lion hunting in 1990, the animal-rights lobby has targeted the hunting of predators, along with trapping, repeatedly for elimination, including ballot issues banning cougar hunting and trapping, additional legislation further restricting, and repeated legislative attempts to ban bear hunting with hounds, which was finally enacted in 2011. Throughout all of these attacks on sportsmen, HSUS assured lawmakers and agency officials that their intent was not to ban all hunting, but rather just those that they feel are particularly inhumane or unethical.
While they previously campaigned “only” against bear hunting with hounds, they have now come clean and with this petition admit they really want to ban all bear hunting. To accomplish this, they’re throwing everything at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife while manipulating facts and figures to make their case using a circular argument. The success rate of bear hunters in California has decreased because HSUS eliminated the most efficient method when they convinced the legislature to ban the use of hounds for bears.
The bottom line: HSUS is counting on outperforming California sportsmen as they have done in the past. They’re flooding the agency with opposition to bear hunting in an effort to convince the commission that they must ban the hunt by questioning accepted science and leaning on it as socially unacceptable. Our only chance is for all California hunters to see this for what it has always been about: another step toward banning all hunting in the state. Sportsmen need to contact the commission in opposition to Petition 2021-27. This is a footrace to see who cares more, the anti-hunters who will lie and manipulate data to justify taking your rights away or California hunters who may not even hunt bears.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.