Thursday, 8 October 2009

Difference between Anchorage and Fairbanks #293

In South Central AK if you legally and lawfully harvest a brown bear in the view of others, and it's news in the Anchorage Daily News.

In Fairbanks, if you do the same, it's an average day on Chena Hot Springs Road.

All joking aside, the bit about shooting from the road is devilishy hard to prove. Unless there's video of the men shooting from the road, or a trooper witnesses the event himself, it's just the word of a very upset wildlife viewer against two hunters. If there were multiple parties who saw it, a DA might have a case. Though, again, it's hard to weigh the testimony of a group who is (understandably) upset that the bear they were watching was shot right in front of them, as they have incentive to lie.

Another problem comes from differing expectations as to fair-chase. Fair-Chase is the idea that a human shouldn't have an undue advantage over the animals they're trying to catch. Expectations vary wildly from rejection that any fair-chase is possible (typically from people who oppose hunting on moral grounds), to people who put a high burden on the hunter (e.g., rifled hunts are unethical, but bow hunts aren't), to a whole mish-mash of what hunters consider acceptable equipment (ATV okay? High powered scopes? Electronic predator calls?). There are a whole group who reject the idea of fair chase entirely, arguing that it is a hold over from European trophy hunting; that if you're hunting for food, no advantage is less acceptable than the alternative (i.e., not getting the food).

With the increasingly urbanized nature of America, the more strict interpretations of fair-chase will probably win out in the long run. The morays are definitely shifting towards stricter ideas of what acceptable human-game interactions are. That's not to say that moral interpretation is the more correct one, but more to say that in the future, it will probably be viewed as the most correct thanks to the changing moral zeitgeist.

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