The180

Spear hunter defends spear hunting

The Alberta government says it will ban spear hunting, after a video of an American spearing an Alberta bear caused plenty of outrage. We talk to a man who doesn't see what all the fuss is about. Mike Blanchett says it's no different than rifle hunting, except that it's much more satisfying.
U.S. hunter Josh Bowmar poses with a bear he killed with a spear. (YouTube)
Listen9:08

The Alberta government promises to outlaw spear hunting, in response to a widely-shared video of an American impaling a black bear on an Alberta hunt.

The video, posted in June, shows hunter Josh Bowmar luring the bear with a food barrel, and throwing the spear into its side. The bear, still impaled with the spear, runs into the forest and dies some time later. Bowmar recovers the bear the next day.

The kill was criticized by environmental and wildlife advocacy groups, and the Alberta government called it "archaic" and "unacceptable." But Bowmar is not the only hunter to take down an Alberta bear with a spear.

Mike Blanchett is a guide in Cold Lake, Alberta, and started hunting with rifles. He then moved on to bows, and now uses a spear. In this interview, Mike explains to 180 host Jim Brown why he started spear hunting.

I like a challenge in life. Whenever I get good at something, I want to go get better. So for the past seven years, I've been spear hunting.- Mike Blanchett
Blanchett has killed five animals with a spear, and believes there's no ethical difference between killing an animal with a spear and killing an animal with a gun. 
Alberta hunter Mike Blanchett, who says he has killed five animals using a spear, defends the American hunter whose YouTube video prompted the Alberta government to say it will ban spear hunting. (YouTube)
It's the same old thing. They get shot, arrowed, speared, and they run off and die. - Mike Blanchett

In the video that prompted the Alberta government to ban spear hunting, Bowmar gleefully celebrates after successfully spearing the bear. To Mike Blanchett, it's easy for non-hunters to misinterpret the joy of a successful hunt. Mike says that viewers would have missed all of the planning, practice, and planning that led up to that moment.

When you've worked so hard for something, you put so much blood sweat and tears for something, you wanted something so bad, and you have the adrenaline going through you, words come out of your mouth you don't expect to say. I have all of my hunts on film, and I talk into the camera when I'm done, and I can't even speak sometimes. I'm just shaking.- Mike Blanchett

Click the PLAY button above to hear the complete interview with Mike Blanchett, and more on why he'd like spear hunting to remain legal in Alberta.

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