Help save the lives of Utah’s black bears


UPDATE: January 6, 2015:  

Despite considerable public opposition, the Wildlife Board has approved all the proposed changes that will cause more suffering and death to Utah’s bears.

To read the article about this in the Salt Lake Tribune, click here.







Below is a sample email opposing Utah Division of Wildlife Resources recommendations for black bear hunt changes for 2015.


These proposed hunt changes will mean that more bears will be killed, and more orphaned bear cubs will be left to die.


When sending an email, please modify the wording to personalize your email and reflect your own views; please remember to be polite.


Please scroll down to the end for a list of email addresses for the Utah Wildlife Board.


Sample Letter:


Dear Members of the Wildlife Board of Utah,


As a Utah resident, I oppose the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources proposal for black bear hunting for 2015.


I am strongly opposed to the following:


The hunt scheduled for June 6 through July 2.




Hunting of bears with dogs.


Hunting of bears with archery.



I oppose these proposed hunts for the following reasons:


The hunt scheduled for June 6 through July 2.


Killing mother bears in the spring orphans their cubs who have just been born earlier that spring and who are still nursing. Allowing mother bears to be killed leaves their cubs to die a slow death by starvation or to be killed by predators. Bear cubs normally stay with their mothers for a year and a half, which means they are together until the next spring following the winter hibernation. Killing the mothers of any species is universally accepted as wrong.





Luring bears to their deaths with food is not a form of hunting. It does not involve a chase. It is a slaughter of animals.


Mother bears often leave their young cubs in trees or in their dens when they go to search for food. Killing mother bears, by bear-baiting or any other means, orphans their cubs.


Bear baiting is legal in only twelve states. Tom Beck, a bear biologist with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, has said that bear baiting creates “nuisance” bears. It teaches bears to look for food near sites where humans have been present; therefore it increases, rather than decreases, the likelihood of bear/human conflicts. Bear-baiting is unfair and counter-productive.


Hunting of bears with dogs.


Hunting bears with dogs harms both the bears and the dogs. It causes intense fear and stress to the wild animal, as well as leading to injury and/or death to either the dogs or to the bear, or both. It is a brutal practice that is excessively violent, cruel, and not worthy of being called hunting.



Hunting of bears with archery.


Even with firearms, it may require several shots to kill a bear.


With archery, the chances of leaving the bear injured, but still alive, to wander away and die a slow, lingering death are greatly increased. Causing extensive suffering to an animal is not an honorable or worthwhile activity.



Human/bear conflicts


200 – 300 bears are being killed every year in Utah.


There is no overpopulation of bears in Utah. According to the Utah Black Bear Management Plan, “Utah may have the smallest bear population of all the western states, except Nevada.”


An internet search for fatal attacks to humans by bears in Utah, in recent decades, turned up one single fatal case, and one case of an injury. (If there have been any others, please let us know.)


Education of the public is the optimal, non-lethal means of preventing bear/human conflicts. What educational programs does the DWR have in place and how is their effectiveness being measured? Have bear-proof garbage containers been placed near all camping areas? Surely, these should be the first steps before resorting to killing bears.


Bears pose no danger to human beings, provided the public is educated as to how to prevent bear/human conflicts. Therefore there is no need to kill bears, who are a natural and necessary part of the eco-system – certainly not as a first resort.


Depredation to sheep and cattle


The numbers of sheep and cattle attacked by bears are comparatively minute, and it is the ranchers’ responsibility to employ non-lethal deterrents, such as guard dogs, to protect their animals.



Why kill bears?


This leaves only one reason for killing bears: recreation.


Killing any animal because there is a “hunting opportunity” or because it is “fun,” simply is not an acceptable reason for depriving an animal, who belongs in nature, of his or her life. This principle is recognized in the statutory law of Utah. In addition, bears cannot be killed at any time of year without causing significant suffering to the bear (they are hard to kill) and without causing orphaned bear cubs, still dependent on their mothers, to die of starvation or predation – leaving orphaned animals to die does not meet an acceptable standard of human behavior.


Whether killing bears is called “hunting,” “harvesting,” “population control” or “recreation” — it is, to use the most polite terms possible, inhumane and unethical.


Please, in your function of safeguarding and protecting wildlife, do not approve the most egregious forms of this activity – killing mother bears in the spring, or killing bears with bear-baiting, with archery, or with dogs.


Thank you for considering these points.




Your name



Send your email to the Utah Wildlife Board:,,,,,,,,


Thanks for helping Utah’s black bears!

The Coalition for American Wildbirds


Photo: © Birdiegal717 |


For the complete list of Wildlife Board members and Regional Advisory Council members, click here 


To visit the website of the Coalition for American Wildbirds or for more information on 2015 proposals for black bear hunting, click here 


If you are not from Utah, your views can still have an impact, please do express them, and if you are not a Utah resident, please state this clearly.



Permission is given to reprint or repost this article, with credit given and a link to the original.








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