My little son is due to make a small brochure about the polar bear according to his kindergarten teacher's arrangement.

He intends to name the brochure "Polar Bear: the Hunters on Ice".

I, however, think it somewhat inaccurate to call a polar bear a "hunter". The predatory ways of the ursus species are different from those of top feline animals such as tigers and lions which are more usually called "hunters".

I am unsure as to what the most correct way to refer to polar bears might be. "Preyers on ice"? "Arctic predators"? Is there something more appropriate to call them?

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    How do you define hunter? I just recently watched a movie on the Arctic, where a polar bear hunted down a female and two cubs over the course of several days and many miles of ice and water. – Jim Nov 5 '13 at 2:51
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    Preyer is no longer used. There are no examples of preyer in COCA. (It still appears as the name Preyer.) – snailplane Nov 5 '13 at 3:05
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    I'd make Bears plural: Polar Bears: The Hunters on Ice. – Jim Nov 5 '13 at 5:04
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    I agree that predators on ice is a valid expression, but if I heard it out of context, I'd think it was an ice show called Predators on Ice, because so many ice shows have titles that fit the template "____ on ice". (Don't let that stop you from using it, though!) – snailplane Nov 5 '13 at 7:25
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    @J.R.: Below a certain age OP's son wouldn't be likely to even know the word "predator". Given he has a kindergarten teacher, I suspect such words would simply be advertising the fact that he's probably not using his own words in the first place. – FumbleFingers Nov 5 '13 at 18:33

In this context, I can't think of any reason why I'd prefer hunter over predator, or vice-versa. Stay away from preyer, though. That's a rarely-seen word that sounds rather awkward, I think.

If the words were being applied to people instead of animals, however, there is a huge difference in meaning. If I heard someone say, "My neighbor is a hunter," I would assume that the neighbor hunts animals during hunting season (in the U.S., that would most likely be deer, but it could also be ducks, pheasants, or other wildlife). However, if someone said, "My neighbor is a predator," I would assume that person engages in some kind of unscrupulous behavior. One dictionary defines predator as: One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain.

Rest assured, though, in the context of polar bears on ice (or leopards on the savannah), there is no reason to fear such a misinterpretation. When describing animals, I think predator and hunter are largely synonymous and interchangeable.

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