* The stoning and killing of a young black bear in Yosemite National Park by members of a Boy Scout troop raises disturbing questions ("Criminal Probe Targets Scouts in Bear's Death,"Aug. 17). The Humane Society urges law enforcement authorities to take appropriate action if the stoning is determined to be an act of cruelty rather than self-defense.
There can be no questions, however, about the motives of other people who are killing bears in California. Starting in late August and running through December, trophy hunters will kill more than 1,500 bears for the animals' heads and hides. It is the largest bear kill west of Minnesota.
It's primarily done by hound hunters, who use dogs to pursue and tree bears. Hunters then shoot the trapped bears out of trees. It's the sporting equivalent of shooting a caged bear at a zoo.
Sorrowful incidents like the stoning of the Yosemite bear should prompt us to examine our values as individuals and as a culture. It should prompt us to eliminate the legalized cruelty to bears perpetrated by hound hunters throughout California.
Vice President, Humane Society