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[pct-l] Re: Shooting Problem Bears

At 11:57 AM 11/20/02, Tom Griffin wrote:
>Why can't the Yellowstone solution work at Yosemite--too many
>stupid tourists?

Bears are smart. Deer are less smart. They both seem to react to being
hunted the same way.

Here in San Diego, we don't have too many problems with bears (but we do
have a couple of problem bears near Julian, about 30 miles south of Warner
Springs......) but we have lots and lots of deer.

Hunting is allowed on the USFS land, but not the State Park land. On
opening weekend of hunting season, the deer population of the surrounding
USFS land all seems to migrate to the State Park.

In reality, I think what happens is the deer on the USFS land learn very
quickly to fear humans, so we don't see them any more. The deer on the
State Park land (only a few miles away) don't learn to fear humans, so we
still see them.

Since fairly stooopid creatures like deer can figure out ways to deal with
hunting and the complicated rules of hunting seasons and administrative
boundaries, bears would figure it out quicker.

When bears learn that encounters with humans are painful or fatal, the
bears will stay away. It wouldn't take them very long to learn.

Right now the bears have learned that encounters with humans mean easy
food. The "bear can" effort is trying to teach the bears that encounters
with humans have no consequences (like no food). The best for both bears
and humans would be for the bears to assume that encounters with humans
hold negative consequences, like pain or death. This might require hunting,
or at least harassing, the general bear population, instead of just killing
problem bears.

Since there are a fairly small number of bears and they are the permanent
residents, and there are a huge number of human visitors, and most of them
are rare visitors (and ignorant) it makes more sense to train the bears. We
can't avoid training the bears at all: Just our being there is going to
provide some sort of training. Perhaps it is time the land managers tried a
more active approach. Training bears to avoid humans would be better in the
long run for both the bears and the humans.


Brick Robbins

I don't have time to participate in arguments:
I barely have time to instigate them