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Three years ago, during the opening day of bear season I saw a black bear that was limping badly on three legs. The bear was holding his injured front leg up. The bear would hop more then walk. I passed up and didn't shoot this bear that day because

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  • Three years ago, during the opening day of bear season I saw a black bear that was limping badly on three legs. The bear was holding his injured front leg up. The bear would hop more then walk. I passed up and didn't shoot this bear that day because

    Three years ago, during the opening day of bear season I saw a black bear that was limping badly on three legs. The bear was holding his injured front leg up. The bear would hop more then walk. I passed up and didn't shoot this bear that day because he was an average size bear. I wanted to shoot a large four hundred pound boar seen on my trail cam photos. My hunting family and friends said I should do a mercy killing on that bear. The bear can't run or climb to escape danger so a huge bear could kill it. I already bagged three average size bears in the past and wanted a huge bear. What would you have done on that first day of bear season?

  • #2
    Had the bear been infected I would have shot it and presented it to a game manager for a new tag. (WI reissues tags in cases like this) If it was an old injury that had healed I would pass as you did.

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    • #3
      That's such a tough call. I know animals can survive some pretty horrendous injuries. I would think a front leg would be better hurt than a back one too. I know that deer and bear are different, but I jumped a fawn that was missing a front leg one early fall at the farm I hunt. As it ran, it was stumbling pretty badly and I thought about dispatching it then but didn't. I played that decision over in my head for the rest of that year until I saw a mature doe missing a front leg in the same part of the timber the next fall. I have seen her now for the last three seasons and it's hard to tell that anything is wrong with her until you see the missing leg. Maybe that bear you passed has now become another 400 pound boar.

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      • #4
        That's a tough call, and one I've had to make with deer a couple of times. For me it really depends on whether I think it has a chance of recovering. If I think it does, I will pass it, but if not, I would probably shoot it. But on the other hand, just to play Devil's Advocate, do we really need to be dispatching wild animals just because we think it would be "humane"? Nature by its very definition is not humane or merciful, so there is a legitimate argument to be made for letting things run their natural course in these cases. After all, wild predators and scavengers have to eat too. Not an easy decision, for sure.

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        • #5
          I think huntfishtrap has a good handle on it. We can make these decisions in either direction, but it isn't our job to direct Mother Nature.

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          • #6
            I always thought the right answer was to take it, but I'm no longer so sure.
            I mentioned to a neighbor a couple of months ago that I wondered how a particular old three legged doe in our neck of the woods did as tough as this past winter was. I had been keeping an eye out to take her down during archery the last two falls thinking that one difficult winter would be a starvation sentence for her.
            The neighbor informed me that he hasn't seen her out and about, but had her on his game camera with triplets this spring.
            I don't always know what I think I know.

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