T.R. Michels

T.R. Michels is a professional guide who specializes in trophy whitetail, turkey and bear hunts in Minnesota. He has guided in the Rocky Mountains for elk and mule deer, too. He publishes the Trinity Mountain Outdoors website at www.TRMichels.com.

It was only a Bear!

Posted by: T.R. Michels under Recreation Updated: October 1, 2011 - 12:51 PM

It was only a Bear!

People may argue that Hope was only a bear. But, she was arguably, the most famous black bear of all time, because of her presence on the internet. Because of the impact she had on young students and adults around the world, Because of the interest in bears, bear research, bear conservation, and conservation in general. And because of her trials and tribulations, as a cub. She, above all else, was a survivor, until her life was cut short by a hunter. Her contribution to the role of conservation, world wide, is inestimable.

If I had written a story for a book, or for film, as a medium for reaching the humanity of the world, championing the desperate need of conservation now, before we strip the earth of the trees we need for our own vital oxygen, and the loss of the beautiful flora and fauna of the wild places that are left, I could not have written a better script. She was born in struggles and turmoil - as we watched. She was coddled and played with by her mother - as we watched. She was abandoned by her mother, only to struggle and survive on her on in the harsh wilderness - as we watched, She was reunited with her mother, fed and played with once again - as we watched. She was there when her mother gave birth again – as we watched. And she played with her young siblings - as we watched. She was there when one of her siblings died – as we watched. Only to be killed before the age of two.,

The part of the story that has not been written yet, is that her exposure to the world (thanks to Dr. Lynn Rogers and his staff for their foresight), and her fame, was not in vain. Let us not forget what she meant to us, with the Hope (geez, even her name lends itself to a story or movie) that her death will bring about an awareness of the need for research, but more importantly conservation, on all continents and for all species. Please people unite in her memory, for the sake of conservation. Please join me on my two Facebook pages; "Protect Minnesota Research Bears" and "Citizens for Legislation on Conservation" (CLAC).

Thank you Hope, for all you have given us, and for all you have done for us. You certainly will not be forgotten.

And let us not forget (especially you Legislators) that it was the act of Dr. Rogers, that put internet cameras in the dens of some bears, and in and around their habitat - that is the reason for all of the publicity generated by Lily and Hope. Which, will, if you now allow it to continue, bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ely and the surrounding areas, and to the State of Minnesota. This is not just about research anymore, it is about conservation, and the economy of Minnesota. Why not, instead of restricting how much Dr. Rogers is allowed to do, help him, help the citizens and State of Minnesota.

Thank you Dr Rogers and Staff

 

Really?

Before I get into rest of this post, I’d like to first address the negative feelings several people have, claiming that you should not name a wild animal. Any of you who hunt whitetails know that we often name our favorite bucks, or any deer that has some special meaning to us or has a peculiarity. I just watched Midwest Whitetail on Channel 45, on which the hunter shot a nice 8 point buck named "Wishbone". He had named another buck in the area too, but I forget its name. In the area north of Kenyon, Minnesota several year ago, where I hunted and studied deer, the locals had a name for a massive, broad beamed 10 point buck, which I was actually able to pattern during my studies. Due to the fact that his antlers were semi-palmated they named him "Bullwinkle" for the moose from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show. As a guide from Minnesota to Montana to New Mexico and Iowa, I know that either I or the locals have named many animals, bears, mountain lions, deer and elk. For hunters in Minnesota to name deer, and then turn around and criticize researchers for naming their research subjects, is hypocritical.

The Loss of Hope

As Dr. Rogers and I contemplated the killing and death of Hope, I pointed out that some good might come of her death. It might generate enough interest and other feelings, in people from all walks of life, even hunters, that they might be able to convince the Legislature, Commissioner Landwehr and Governor Dayton. That some type of protection be granted to the bears the he is researching. The only other thing I could think of tht one migh put in the positive column, is the fact that the bear that was killed might hae been one that he had invested several years of research in, whereby he had a lot of previous data, but would not gain any future data.

As to, "What have we lost by the death of Hope", I don’t’ believe either he or I could list all of the negatives right now. Some of the questions Dr. Rogers had in mind for his research, and possible future research papers, are; would Hope and Lily compete for the attention of a male next spring, when Hope would be in breeding condition. How would Hope, Faith and Lily’s future cubs interact with each other? Where would Hope setup her own home range. Would Hope den with Lily and Faith this year, or would she seek out her own den, And so many more questions, that might never be answered, because the number of mixed aged bear families is so low.

The death of Hope has taken away the ability of the research community, and the public, the opportunity to learn so much about black bear biology n behavior. If nothing else, it is a very unfortunate death.

Hunters & The $5000 Jackpot

As far as I know no other research bears have been shot by hunters. That may be because no research bear gave a hunter the opportunity to kill it, But, I’d like to believe that those hunters who understand how important black bear research is, did not either set up in are known to contain research bears, which Dr Rogers tells me that the bear guides in the areas did not do, They purposely did not set up in or near areas known to contain research bears. All of those guides should be highly commended for their restraint. Or it might be that any hunter who did have a chance to kill a research bear, put his name in for the $5000 Jackpot, and did not jeopardize his chance of winning the $5000. In any case, Minnesota Bear hunters should be also be commended for not killing any research bears (wearing a collar). I’ve talked to the people who pt up the funds for the $5000 Jackpot. They ar3e deeply saddened by the death of Hope. But, as far as they are concerned, the Jackpot is still in effect, until and if a research bear is killed.

Thank you to Minnesota’s Hunters

As a hunter, I know how many hunters feel as the season end draws near. They feel that with time getting short, and all the time and effort they have spent scouting, putting out baits, freshening baits, and sitting in their stands, plus the money they have invested in a bear hunt, they sure would like to go home with a bear, for the meat, for a mount or for a rug. All I can say to them is, if you put in for the jackpot, or know someone who did, for the sake of every hunter who did put in for the jackpot, now is not the time to get antsy and kill a research bear. Please use all the restraint you can, and pass up all research bears. And thank you for doing it.

To the hunter who shot Hope, I'd real like to hear your side of tht story, so feel free to log on here and post it. I will not comment on it, except in a positive way.  

If any bear hunter has seen a radio collared research bear, and passed on it, plese log on here and tell us why you did not shoot it.  

May God bless all of you,

T.R.

 

 

 

 

 

On Another Note:

 

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