My moral compass is generally pretty rigid. I can’t say I see things in stark blacks and whites, but I have a pretty good idea of what constitutes appropriate behavior, whether it’s in my personal life or my observations of the larger world.
So I’m a little confused by my reaction to news that the pending Colorado state-record black bear was shot in its den. According to news accounts the hunter, Richard Kendall, tracked the massive bear to a cave, then crawled in the den and shot the bear. While I admire his nerve, my question is one that a lot of Coloradans are asking: Is it ethical to shoot a bear in its winter bed?
It’s not illegal. Colorado has no language in its regulations addressing the issue. And I have no details about whether the 700-pound bear was already slumbering in hibernation or whether it was still wide awake and feisty. But legal or not, it is an ethical gray area.
So I put the question to you. Would you shoot a bear in its den? And is it appropriate to suggest that the behavior is similar to shooting a roosting gobbler off its limb?
Let me know what you think? Is this hunter getting unduly criticized, or should he have left the bear alone and waited for the spring to kill it?