A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Bears to Humans: ‘Don’t Tase Me, Bro!’

Alaska to ban new wildlife taser

Polar bears are among wildlife to be protected from hunters with taser guns. Photo by USFWS.

Three months ago, at a gun show in Las Vegas, Taser International unveiled its new “wildlife model,” the Taser X3W. As if wildlife didn’t have enough to face from humans, now add tase-and-releasers to the list.

The state of Alaska, usually quite friendly to hunting of all kinds (including shooting wolves from helicopters), is drawing the line at tasers. In July it will be illegal for “sports” people to shoot animals with these guns. (It will still be OK to shoot animals in “self-defense.”)

Wildlife agencies will be allowed to use the guns for certain purposes.

Larry Lewis, of the Alaska Fish & Game Department gives the example of a moose who needed to get free from having a child’s swing seat around her neck. He said that a quick zap to remove it was preferable to anesthesia.

Humane organizations agree that in some cases it’s better for the animals than shooting them with anesthesia guns.
Lewis also described to MSNBC a case where he was trying to help two moose calves who’d fallen into a pit:

“Lewis, whose job title is wildlife technician, tried noisemakers and rubber shotgun pellets while trying to free two moose calves trapped in a pit, only to have their mother chase him and a trooper three times around a patrol car. Instead of using their handguns, the trooper pulled out his Taser and it actually worked well enough on the mom to temporarily scare her away. The men rescued the calves and reunited them with the mom.”

But bears are rarely aggressive toward humans. Most wildlife recognizes humans as quite dangerous to them. And with national parks now starting to permit visitors to carry guns, the last thing we need is “sporty” people running around the wild with tasers in hand, firing off at anything that moves.