According to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the black bear population is sufficiently robust to warrant a hunt in spring 2022, including females with cubs. The WDFW Commission voted to negate the hunt for now.

The hubris from the voices at the meeting to protect “wildlife and ecosystems” argued the hunt is unnecessary. It seems unlikely, too, that killing 145 bears will significantly abate predation on fawn natural mortality; damage forest timber; or minimize direct human-bear conflicts — all reasons for the hunt.

Some commissioners had doubts about the research even though the scientists’ conclusions were compelling. Being concerned about the data is a legitimate issue, and not all policy decisions have to support science, but if they do, the science must be defensible.

So, what are we left with — violating the ethics of the commission’s mandate by not holding a hunt? A ‘no’ vote by the commission did not mean it ignored the science, as policies usually align with the majority view. And, just because science suggests it’s fine to have a hunt does not mean that it should be concluded. Perhaps the vote was an affirmation that this hunt is not necessary for bears, ecosystems or hunters’ cravings.

Howard W. Braham, Spokane Valley