Wildlife expert: ‘Woke’ politics to blame for Leavenworth bear attack

Oct 24, 2022, 3:11 PM | Updated: 3:15 pm
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), a mother bear charged a woman out walking her dogs in Enchantment Park along the Wenatchee River on Saturday, a few blocks south of US Route 2 and the Cascade mountain town’s Commercial Street.(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A woman is recovering at a Wenatchee hospital after she was attacked by a bear in a downtown Leavenworth park Saturday morning – and one local wildlife expert says “woke” politics is partly to blame for the encounter.

The incident, according to The Outdoor Line host Tom Nelson, is connected to “touchy-feely, nonsensical woke wildlife management putting the public at risk.”

Washington wildlife agents kill black bear that hurt woman

“Public safety is no longer a priority in Olympia, it seems,” Nelson told The Dori Monson Show Monday.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), a mother bear charged a woman out walking her dogs in Enchantment Park along the Wenatchee River, a few blocks south of US Route 2 and the Cascade mountain town’s Commercial Street.

After the woman was rushed to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, a WDFW team enlisted the help of a Karelian Bear dog to track down the mother bear before the team killed it. Her two 9-month-old cubs were found and taken to a PAWS wildlife rehabilitation center, according to WDFW.

“This is a complete tragedy on both sides. Nobody wins,” Nelson told Dori’s listeners.

“Encounters like this,” he continued, “are avoidable.”

This time of year, Nelson pointed out, is when bears “pack on as much as they can because they’re coming into hibernation. Their feeding drive is at a premium. Unfortunately, the lady got between a sow and her cubs, and that provoked the protection response.”

The likelihood that bears like these would be foraging in a town park with a playground, ball fields and kids fishing pond would be far less if lawmakers and voters weren’t “making political decisions about biological situations for political considerations,” Nelson continued.

Over the past 15 years, Nelson explained, bear populations have increased as state laws restricted spring hunting season and eliminated the use of hound dogs during designated bear hunting seasons.

And yet, Dori noted, the state’s own Karelian Bear dogs were used when taking down the mother bear over the weekend. “That seems hypocritical to me,” Dori added.

Nelson agreed.

“All they’ve done with regard to hounds is privatize this,” Nelson said. “Before, you had hunters that loved their dogs. It’s amazingly difficult to hunt [bears] without the help of our four-footed friends.”

“So, now, we as taxpayers have to pay for this activity rather than have the hunter – who is buying tags and licenses – providing money for the state,” he continued.

Meanwhile, Nelson told Dori, “There’s another tragic situation. [The bear’s surviving cubs] now have to live in some animal foster care.”

This wouldn’t be happening, Nelson said, “if we were able to hunt as we have in the past.”

Listen to Outdoor Line host Tom Nelson explain to Dori why Leavenworth bear attack could have been avoided

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Wildlife expert: ‘Woke’ politics to blame for Leavenworth bear attack