This post is an opinion piece, done to express my disappointment in Under Armour as a company and make clear my intention to stop purchasing any of their products.
For those of you not familiar with the controversy, it began when on June 5, 2016, Josh Bowmar, posted a YouTube video, showing him successfully hunting a bear with nothing but a spear.
The hunt was conducted in Alberta Canada around May 15, 2016. By all accounts, the hunt was perfectly legal, and all appropriate permits were obtained and applicable regulations followed.
The video has since been taken down due to death threats from “peace loving” animal rights activists, but it features the hunt, filmed by Josh Bowmar’s wife Sarah. The hunt took place in a forested area. A bait pile was used to lure the bear to the location. Bait piles are legal in some jurisdictions, and not in others, both in Canada and the US. It was legal in the area of this hunt. Bowmar, who was standing on the ground, waited until the bear was approximately 20 to 30 feet away from him (my approximation based on the video), and speared it with a spear which he threw at that distance. He registered a near perfect lung shot. Reportedly, the bear ran for about 60 to 70 yards before dying.
By all measures, the hunt was legally and ethically conducted by a skilled and well trained and prepared hunter.
Almost imediately, the usual uproar rose up from anti-hunting groups and people. Numerous of false facts were manufactured, including allegations that the bear was trapped, that it was a cub, that it was left to suffer for an extended period of time, etc., and hilariously, that Josh Bowmar is somehow a “coward” for facing a bear with nothing but a spear.
Of course, none of that is accurate. The bear was legally hunted. It was not trapped. The animal died less than 70 yards from the area where it was speared. The bear was an adult, measuring 7.1 feet in length. For those not familiar with hunting, large game animals, particularly bear, rarely drop where they are shot, even when a high power rifle is used. The adrenaline rush typically propels them to run for a notable distance before collapsing. Under normal conditions, a hunter would not pursue immediately, but give the animal a chance to stop and die without being disturbed, only then beginning the tracking process. There is nothing in this hunt which would distinguish it in ethical terms from any other hunt, taking a bear with a bow or rifle, other than the melon-sized balls required to get that close to a bear with nothing but a spear.
Anyway, all that was background for the actual reason for the post.
Not long after the video went viral, an anti-hunting activist from Illinois started a Change.org petition, seeking to have Under Armour pull their sponsorship for Sarah Bowmar, Josh’s wife, who is a hunter in her own right. The petition gathered 4,000 signatures.
Shockingly, Under Armour caved, and pulled their sponsorship, even openly condemning the hunt itself.
For those of you who do not hunt, Under Armour is a large producer of hunting gear. For that reason, their lack of loyalty to the hunting community and their speed in caving to anti-hunting lynch-mob mentality perpetrated by a small group of people who don’t know the first thing about hunting or conservation efforts, is alarming, disheartening, and deeply disappointing.
For a company to punish the wife of a hunter because he conducted a legal and ethical hunt, in a manner which our ancestors used for millennia, is very upsetting to me. As such, I will no longer purchase any new Under Armour products. I encourage all people in the hunting community to do the same.
I truly hope that hunters can come together on this issue. Unfortunately, as a community, we are horrible in terms of coming to each other’s defense, even in the most clear cut cases. We turn on each other at the drop of a hat, and in a desperate attempt to show the anti-hunters (or perhaps to convince ourselves) that we are one of the “good hunters” and gain their approval; we stab other hunters in the back. Everyone defends their chosen, specific style of hunting, and then dismisses every other style as “not real hunting”.
The irony of course is that anti-hunters couldn’t care less about how you hunt, how ethical you think you are, or how readily you sell out other hunters. They simply want an end to hunting because somehow, in their minds, it is more ethical to raise an animal in captivity and electrocute it to death on a production line, than to shoot a fully grown animal in the woods. Or, that chemically castrating whole populations of animal is morally superior to allowing sport hunting for conservation reasons.
The only good part of this most recent batch of contrived, flavor-of-the-week outrage, has been that anti-hunters have finally come full circle in their critique of hunting, revealing the disingenuous nature of the usual arguments that are levied against hunters.
See, typically, anti-hunters claim that they are outraged by the lack of sportsmanship when it comes to hunting. People who hunt with rifles are attacked because hunting with a rifle is too easy, and “real hunters” use a bow. Bow hunters are attacked because bow hunting is too easy, and if you were a “real hunter”, you would be going after the animal with a knife. Literally, a week ago I had that argument with a guy regarding wolf hunting, who was explaining to me that a “real hunter” would go after the wolf with a knife, because using a rifle is just extermination. Well, here we have a guy killing a bear with nothing but a spear, from about 20 feet away, on the ground. So, are those same people happy? Nope! Now all of a sudden, it turn out (according to them) that real hunters use rifles because it is more humane. Hmmm…
Of course, these are people who know nothing about hunting or conservation efforts. They don’t know the first thing about what it takes to complete a successful hunt, what it takes to kill an animal, or how to maintain a balanced ecosystem. Most importantly, they maintain their moral superiority by remaining willfully ignorant of the way their own food gets to their table, or how ecological balance is maintained. The arguments are disingenuous. They are just a tool designed to eliminate hunting. Thankfully, this hunt by Josh Bowmar, and subsequent contrived outrage, has brought that to light, more clearly than ever before.
I strongly believe that we as hunters, need to stop the Uncle Tom routine, exemplified by the disappointing actions of Under Armour, and come together as a community.
A Change.org petition has been started, asking for the reinstatement of the Bowmar sponsorship. It already has 7,627 signatures. You can view and sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/under-armour-bring-back-the-bowmar-s-demand-under-armour-to-quit-cowering-to-anti-hunters Whether or not the petition has any effect, I have signed it because I believe in the message it sends.
Lastly, big congratulations to Josh Bowmar for his impressive achievement. I have nothing but respect for anyone who is willing to face off with a bear holding nothing more thatn a spear. I am very happy for him, and wish him and Sarah many more successful hunts.