Hikers, Hunters, and Trip Reports
In the past few weeks, WTA's Trip Reports section has seen a few reports from hikers on their adventures to Yellow Aster Butte near Mount Baker; not surprising, considering this is a fabulous late-season hike for fall color and wildlife sightings. Also not surprising, hikers are seeing black bears on this trail, sometimes frolicking in a berry patch, sometimes running from a gunshot.
We've heard from hikers who feel strongly that the sharing of black bear sightings on public forums like WTA trip reports can cost those bears their lives. Here's a recent comment to WTA from hiker Mike Collins:
Hunters carried out a black bear to the [Yellow Aster Butte] parking lot on Saturday, Oct 16. Hikers are not the only ones clicking into these reports. With posting and reporting of bears the writer might as well paint a target on them. Hunting is allowed in this area. Give the bears a break and avoid posting where they are. Let hunters go out and look for scat the old-fashion way to find where bears are. Don't let them double-click their way to the bears' location.
This isn't the first time we've received such a complaint, and Mike even urges us to warn trip report posters ahead of posting their reports that hunters may use their trip report for finding bears.
I should state that WTA has no position for or against hunting on public lands. We have taken steps in recent years to alert hikers to hunting seasons for their own safety, and we regularly post tips to help hikers stay safe during hunting seasons.
What do you think? Should hikers who object to hunting black bear refrain from posting bear sightings in trip reports during hunting season? Leave a comment and let us know.