Hunter seen killing bear with camera-mounted spear will not face charges
Warning: The text and video in this article contains graphic content
The U.S. big-game hunter who posted a video of himself killing a bear with a spear in Alberta will not face charges, according to a spokesperson for the province.
The Alberta Justice and Solicitor General said an investigation into the video uploaded to YouTube by fitness and hunting enthusiast Josh Bowmar on June 5 found no evidence that existing laws were broken, in a statement Tuesday.
In the 13-minute video, a black bear is seen circling a baited area as Josh Bowmar crouches with a large spear equipped with a camera.
Bowman throws the weapon javelin-style at the bear from between 11 and 14 metres away.
“He’s going down. I drilled him perfect,” said Bowmar into the camera. “That was the longest throw that I ever thought I could ever make.”
Rock and roll guitar riffs play as the spear-mounted camera shows the weapon spiralling into the bear’s chest. An out-of-breath Bowmar brags that the hunt was done with no blinds, no backup, and no shotguns within miles.
“I got mad penetration,” said Bowmar, as he examines the spear’s foot-long tip.
He fist-bumps his cameraman as they follow a trail of intestines to the dead animal.
The provincial spokesperson’s statement went on to call spear hunting “archaic,” and said it was “unacceptable.”
Alberta's hunting rules do not prohibit the use of spears. The provincial spokesperson went on to say that Alberta is looking at changing its hunting regulations, with a ban on spear hunting expected in the fall.
The widely-shared video sparked outrage online that extended beyond animal rights advocates. Some hunters called Bowmar’s use of bait unsporting. Others found his boastful on-camera performance disrespectful.
Athletic apparel brand Under Armour ended its sponsorship of Bowmar’s wife Sarah earlier this week. She runs a hunting and fitness business with her husband in Ohio.
Bowmar was surprised by the reaction to the video, saying spears have been used for hunting since the "dawn of man" and the notion that the method is inhumane "couldn't be further from the truth."
"The bear I speared only ran (55 metres) and died immediately, that's as humane and ethical as one could get in a hunting situation on big game animals. Trust me, no one cares more about these animals than us hunters, especially me," he said in an emailed statement last week.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Edmonton