The Humane Society of the United States has asked Kentucky’s governor to stop the state’s remaining 2015 bear hunts, but the Sportsmen’s Alliance is having none of it.
The hunting-, fishing- and trapping-rights organization recently sent a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear urging him to dismiss the animal-rights group’s plea to halt the hunt and leave management decisions to biologists who manage wildlife through data and science.
“At the end of the day, this isn’t about management or harvest quotas,” Adam Wright, the Sportsmen’s Alliance’s associate director of state services, said in an article on the group’s website. “It’s about their desire to stop bear hunting entirely. It wouldn’t matter if a single bear was the quota; the Humane Society of the United States wouldn’t approve. And they won’t be satisfied until all hunting is stopped everywhere.”
In the letter, Kathryn Callahan, Kentucky state director for HSUS, makes an emotional plea to the governor to stop the hunts. The group made the request because Kentucky bowhunters killed 22 bears, including 10 females, during the 2015 archery hunt. The state had set a quota of 10 bears or five females.
“Because the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has taken a conservative approach in implementing their bear seasons, the exceeded quota does not pose a threat to the viability of the bear population,” Wright said on the website.
The state plans to go ahead with its three remaining bear seasons: a rifle hunt with a quota of 15 bears or five females, a two-part dog season with a quota of five bears and a youth season with a quota of five bears.
Biologists estimate that Kentucky has about 700 bears, and the Sportsmen’s Alliance pointed out that killing fewer than 50 animals — the total from archery season and the three remaining quotas — would not adversely affect the population.
“The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has done an expert job managing the state’s bear populations using data and science as it pertains to proper habitat balance, reproduction rates, bear range and resource requirements, as well as mortality rates that include hunting and non-hunting related deaths,” the website said. “We’re hopeful this emotional and unsubstantiated ploy that is driven strictly by the agenda of a radical animal-rights group will rightfully be rejected by Gov. Beshear.”
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Brian Lovett, Realtree's news blogger, has been an outdoors reporter, writer, magazine editor and book author for 27 years. Spring turkey hunting and autumn waterfowling take up most of his outside time, but he also enjoys fishing, deer hunting and upland-bird hunting. Lovett lives in Oshkosh, Wis., with his wife, Jenny, and their retriever.