Meet Donnie Vincent, A Bear Hunting Conservationist

Now that’s an oxymoron!

Black bear attack
A Canadian outdoorsman was attacked by a black bear. (Getty)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Donnie Vincent sleeps on the ground while he’s bear hunting. He uses his jacket as a sleeping bag and always keeps an eye out for wolves — he’s been hunted by them before.

Vincent is a hunter conservationist (yes, you read that correctly), spending weeks at a time in the wilderness tracking and hunting bears. His latest film, The Other Side, follows him on his journey to hunt grizzly bears.

In a recent interview with The Manual, Vincent opens up about what it means to be a bear conservationist. “Bears and conservation go very well together. Take black bears, who number in the million. Should you hunt them selectively, looking for old boars (male bears) who are not contributing to the population, you can open up resources for other bears. We kill cannibalistic bullies, as old boars kill cubs for food and so the female comes back and he can breed her. Killing bears can reduce stress on cubs, sows, food resources, and gives me an opportunity to engage in the wilderness and fuel myself with clean, lean protein.”

Vincent’s first memories include flipping through issues of Outdoor Life and absorbing everything he could about hunting and fishing, wildlife, and ammunition.

He didn’t want to be just a hunter; he wanted to be part of the wilderness. “Decades later I realized taking an animal’s life is serious business and there’s great sorrow that goes along with it. Men didn’t reveal that they had a sensuous or compassionate side and they never revealed insecurities about hunting. As I started engaging in hunting, I opened up to feeling — the rain on my face, the fear, being out of my element in a place I’ve never been, having become a sort of executioner in this idea of predator and prey.”

Vincent offers advice to those seeking a connection with the wild: “Start slow and find a good mentor. If you can’t, find a good library. Start doing little trips, even if you’re in the city.”

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