WARNING: This article and video contains graphic content that some may find disturbing.
The Alberta government says no charges will be laid against a hunter who was captured on video killing a black bear with a spear while hunting in the province. The video was posted on June 5 to the Bowmar Bowhunting YouTube account and was viewed hundreds of thousands of times before it was removed.
“As there is no evidence that any existing laws were broken, no charges will be laid,” Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Brendan Cox told Global News Tuesday.
The video shows American hunter Josh Bowmar throwing a spear equipped with a GoPro camera at the animal, piercing its stomach.
“The hunter possessed the valid non-resident alien black bear hunting licence and tag,” Cox wrote in an email, adding the hunt took place in a wildlife area where it is legal to bait black bears (the north side of Lesser Slave Lake).
“Spear hunting is not currently prohibited in Alberta.”
In the wake of the social media outrage, the Alberta government said last week work was “well underway” to update hunting regulations.
“The type of archaic hunting seen in the recently posted video of a hunter spearing a black bear in Alberta is unacceptable,” Ministry of Environment and Parks spokesperson Kyle Ferguson reiterated Tuesday.
“We will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall as part of those updated regulations.”
Bowmar said allegations that spear hunting is inhumane “couldn’t be further from the truth” in a statement sent to Global News last week.
The use of spears in hunting is not currently covered under Alberta Regulations. The rules for hunting big game in the province covers the size of arrows, methods of firing arrows, exploding arrow heads and the animal’s activity when it is being targeted. Spears are not mentioned in the guidelines.
With files from Emily Mertz and Jodi Hughes