Bear-hunting with a spear: An ethical kill?

As many of you may know, an American hunter by the name of Josh Bowmar killed a bear in Canada. The internet freaked out over it because he killed this black bear with a spear and filmed it with a gopro.I am not a hunter and I am mildly against hunting. I made a tame, anti-hunting comment/question here and ignited what could arguably be the biggest firestorm TTAK has seen yet. Now is not the time for me to expound on my views of hunting other than to say:

World lay off of Josh Bowmar!

Seriously, the guy killed a bear. I think most of the protesting around Josh’s method is actually a protest against hunting itself. If he did something illegal then go after him. However,  as of the writing of this article, it looks to be a legal kill.

If you kill something in an unusual way (even if its legal) be prepared for the uneducated fall out. Heck, even if you kill something in the usual way (rifle), like when Walter Palmer took a lion in Africa, people freak out. Dylan Mayer of Washington harvested an octopus with his bare hands and the guy got death threats. People complain when you do not give the animal (what some believe to be) a “sporting chance” yet when you do people still object. Gun, spear, or thumb haters are going to hate.

Some would say that using a spear is unethical. Let it be known, that spears have been a common, if not the dominate, method of hunting by humans since their have been humans. The province Josh was in has not banned it (but probably will now). Also, I have seen at least one hunter with solid reasoning argue that the kill is cleaner than many bow-and-arrow kills.

Keep in mine it worked. The animal died relatively quickly and Josh found it – which is better than many deer hunters do. It has got to be at least as ethical as taking a 700-pound crocodilian (love that word) with a .22. No one protests when that happens multiple times per episode on Swamp People.

I would be lying if I was 100% OK with the whole situation. There does seem to be a bit of sadism with this particular kill but I am not Josh or God and it is still legal. I think attaching a gopro to the spear itself was a bit overboard. However, as a hominid and spear owner I will state that the guy killed an animal that kills other animals and even attacks humans from time to time. The smarter creature won that day and that for many is the problem.

What are your thoughts? Was this an ethical hunt?


  1. Mark says:

    It was absolutely an ethical hunt. I had no issue with it.

    I did, however, have an issue with him posting a video of his post-kill woo-hooing. It was both childish and disrespectful.

  2. Personally, I think it is MUCH more of a sporting chance for the bear in this instance! Bears are very capable of KILLING you, and especially when wounded!

    Spear hunting requires a much closer range to hunt than even a bow hunter needs, and most bowhunters hunt in relative safety high in a tree. Some bowhunters, I believe,…may have a guide standing by with a firearm, “just in case” to defend the bow hunter should the animal charge.

    This guy was ON THE GROUND facing a good size Bear,…ON the Bear’s Home Turf! Geeze,…only jumping on the Bear’s BACK and killing it with a knife would be more dangerous.

    Nope,…it was legal,…..but I will also object to the rooting at the end,…..but suspect that was adrenelin kicking in so I’ll cut him a pass on that.

    Joe T

  3. Oh,…I forgot to mention I don’t believe the spear entered in the stomach area, as someone objected to in the writing on the video. It appears to me to be a center of body hit, well above the stomach area. Possibly a liver or kidney strike,…not sure of course but the hunter would know. In any case I suspect the Bear “bled out” rather quickly,…as the spear has a very WIDE spread to the blade edges. A large wound for sure!

  4. Robert Hansen says:

    Personally I wouldn’t take an animal with a spear, but I have no problem with Under Armour making a business decision to terminate the sponsorship. That’s their choice and they don’t have to agree with all forms of hunting, just like customers have the choice to stop buying their wares.

  5. Roger says:

    It’s absolutely ethical. In fact, as a spear hunter, I feel it is more ethical than using a gun.

    If you object to “the sadism of X” but it the act itself you really just object to seeing it.

  6. Bungameng says:

    Is wounding an animal and leaving it for a whole day to die in agony ethical?

    Not in my world, notwithstanding whether you do it with a spear or a rifle.

    1. Matt in FL says:

      leaving it for a whole day to die in agony

      Citation needed.

      The bear was hit by a spear with a blade longer than your foot and wider than your hand. It didn’t live for a whole day; I’d be surprised if it survived more minutes than you could count on that same hand.

      Deer will routinely run 50-100 yards before dropping when shot with a bow, and nobody decries that. I personally saw a deer run about 25 yards on pure adrenaline, and when it was gutted, it had basically no heart left. It was just hamburger. But it still didn’t drop on the spot.

    2. NO MORE UA says:

      The bear made it 60 yards, which means it probably died relatively quickly. A bear can cover that distance in a matter of a few seconds, it didn’t just decide to lay down right there because it was tired, the bear died within minutes. This can, and does happen with many animals shot with archery equipment, and sometimes even with a rifle. They left it lay because chasing a wounded bear is an absolutely awful idea in a low light situation, they played it smart and came back in the morning. Get a clue.

      No more moving the goalposts here, first the SJW’s tell us to man up and meet an animal face to face with no guns…now we do and it’s still unethical.

  7. Rob says:

    I say good on the hunter. He is doing what he loves in a legal manner. Some people (or companys) have a hard time thinking outside the box. Tell the native tribes in africa, australia, the amazon, and other such places that hunting with a spear is unethical. They have been doing in for thousands of years. All hunters should support this harvest no matter their weapon of choice. And just as we have a choice to our weapons, we also have a choice to buy or not buy products from under armor. .

  8. stuartb says:

    It’s interesting to compare the response here to the similar (same) question on TTAG that came up today. Seems a shared post would have been fun to mix the views a bit better and expose more of the TTAG crowd to the more refined airs of TTAK?

  9. Yes its a ethical kill, no different in killing a bear with a bow, or gun… As long as you kill the bear to eat it and not let it rott its all good in my books.

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Bear-hunting with a spear: An ethical kill?

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