The province says it will introduce a ban on spear hunting this fall when it updates Alberta’s hunting regulations.
The news comes after a video posted on YouTube showing a man killing a black bear with a spear while hunting in Alberta sparked widespread outrage.
The 13-minute video, posted on June 5 to the Bowmar Bowhunting YouTube account, had been viewed more than 200,000 times as of Aug. 15. On Monday afternoon, the poster changed the video settings so it was no longer public.
The video shows a black bear approach a bait bin placed in a wooded glen. It runs away twice before returning a third time.
A man, identified as American hunter Josh Bowmar, throws a spear equipped with a GoPro camera at the animal, piercing its stomach.
The Minstry of Environment and Parks has asked Fish and Wildlife officers to investigate the incident to determine if charges are warranted under existing laws.
Alberta’s NDP government said work is well underway to update hunting regulations.
“The type of archaic hunting seen in the recently posted video of a hunter spearing a black bear, allegedly in Alberta, is unacceptable,” a statement from the ministry read.
Alberta’s big game regulations detail rules for hunting with firearms, bow and arrow, and crossbows, but do not specifically address the use of spears.
Todd Zimmerling with the Alberta Conservation Association says spear hunting is not necessarily cruel.
“The weapon of choice isn’t the issue, it’s how proficient somebody is with their weapon. So whether it’s spear hunting, bow hunting, rifle hunting, to make it an ethical, humane hunting experience means you have to be accurate with your shot and ensure that you’re killing the animal in a very quick fashion.”