Alberta officials to ban wildlife spearing following controversial black bear video

By Rob Gillies and
Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Associated Press

Toronto — The Alberta provincial government plans to ban the practice of spearing wildlife after a video posted online showing an American killing a black bear with a spear sparked outrage in some sectors.

The video was posted on the YouTube account of  Josh Bowmar, who runs an Ohio-based fitness company, and shows him killing the bear on a hunt in northern Alberta. By the time it was removed from public view on Aug. 15 it had garnered more than 208,000 views.

The video shows Bowmar launching a massive spear – with a camera attached to the shaft – at a bear and captures his jubilant reaction when the animal is hit.

“I just speared a bear!” Bowmar says on the video. “He’s going down. I drilled him perfect … I smoked him.”

Commenters on YouTube were livid. At least one comment threatened to do to the hunter what he did to the bear. Twitter users called the bear’s killing sick, inhumane, shameful and disgusting.

Alberta’s Environment and Parks department issued a statement, calling the spear hunting an “archaic” practice.

“Work is well under way to update Alberta’s hunting regulations. We will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall as part of those updated regulations,” a spokesman said in an emailed statement. “In the meantime, we have asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate this incident to determine if charges are warranted under existing laws.”

Bowmar said he reviewed Alberta’s hunting regulations in advance of his visit. He said there was nothing illegal about his hunt.

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, welcomed Alberta’s plans to ban spear hunting.

A year ago, an American killed a lion in Zimbabwe, infuriating people worldwide and invigorating an international campaign against trophy hunting in Africa. The death of Cecil the Lion unleashed an extraordinary outpouring of anger at Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who shot the lion.

Bowmar’s wife, Sarah Bowmar, a hunting and fitness expert who filmed the video, had been sponsored by Under Armor, which has a line of hunting wear. Under pressure, the company terminated her sponsorship.

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