The tactics of state and federal wildlife officers in a multi-year undercover sting targeting bear hunters continue to come under fire.
By Bill Lea • Guest Columnist
In the article about the bear dogs attacking a camper’s dogs (www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/14952), Wallace Messer (a bear hunter whose dogs were not involved in the attack) begins by suggesting the blame for the attack should perhaps be placed on the victims — a strategy used time after time by defense attorneys and their defendants pleading innocence. Even if Kadie Anderson’s dogs had growled as a natural reaction to protect their owner — which Kadie vehemently denies happened — that does not justify being attacked by a pack of a dozen dogs. A forest user and her pets’ well-being were still jeopardized. The bear hunting dog owners should be held accountable just like any other dog owner would be in the exact same situation. Why should any small group of dog owners be given special status with a law that protects only them when every other dog owner in the state would be held liable?
Kadie Anderson was packing up camp after a night in the backcountry with her two Australian shepherds when the peace of an autumn forest waking up from a nighttime rain was decisively broken.
“A pack of hunting dogs came into the camp and attacked my dogs, almost killed my dogs, bit me a couple of times while I was trying to protect them,” recalled Anderson, an Ohio resident who at the time was camping in the Snowbird Wilderness Area in Nantahala National Forest.
Names of places throughout the Blue Ridge country pay tribute to the familiar wildlife of the region: Bear Wallow Stand Ridge, Beaverdam Creek, Buck Knob, Fox Gap, Wild Boar Creek, Coon Branch, Wildcat Cliffs, Possum Hollow, Polecat Ridge, Raven Rocks, Buzzard Roost, Eagle Heights, Rattlesnake Mountain, and so on.
John Baker (Little John) Cable Jr. is one of the prominent figures in Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders (1913; revised and expanded in 1922). He steals the show in Chapter 4 (“A Bear Hunt in the Smokies”), which most everybody — including those who don’t care much for other parts of the book — agrees is a fine piece of writing.
Hunters from all over the mountains came together last weekend to speak out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year investigation — one that presumably targeted bear poachers.
Some hunters in Western North Carolina are speaking out against the tactics used by undercover wildlife officers in a multi-year bear poaching investigation.
Orion the Hunter has taken to the late autumn skies. One of the loveliest and most easily recognized constellations will be stalking the heavens until he slides into the daytime sky early next spring. Astronomers believe the Hunter, in his present form, is more than a million years old and think he will continue to stalk the heavens for another couple million years.
A longer season, a higher quota, shooting over bait piles — these are just a few aspects of the state bear hunting laws the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is looking at changing to keep the ever-growing bear population in check.
To test the public’s reaction to possible widespread changes to bear hunting laws, the agency held a series of public meetings across the state. Last week at Haywood Community College, wildlife commissioners and staff faced a crowded auditorium — including both hunters and wildlife activists.
Shock waves rippled through the mountain hunting community last week as word spread of a sweeping undercover investigation targeting dozens of illegal rogue hunters.