B.C. strengthens grizzly bear hunting ban with new regulations

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$1,000 reward offered for conviction of snaring culprit

Vancouver non-profit responding to a spate of deaths involving grizzly bears, wolves and moose

Conservation Officer Service photo One of several snares discovered in the Kitimat River Valley. Conservation Officer Service photo

A Vancouver-based non-profit is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for a series of illegal snaring incidents in the Kitimat River Valley.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals made the offer public Thursday (Feb. 8) afternoon. “These disturbing incidents need to be condemned by all, and our hope is that this reward will help bring more attention to the case,” said spokesperson Adrian Nelson. “Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Conservation Officer Service so that the individual or individuals responsible can be stopped and face the consequences for their actions.”

Earlier this week the Terrace office of the Conservation Officer Service appealed for public assistance in their investigation, noting charges may be applicable under the Provincial Wildlife Act as well as the Canada Criminal Code for cruelty to animals and mischief.

Evidence was found throughout the valley where heavy-gauge wire had been used in attempts to capture large animals.

“So far we have located dead grizzly bears, wolves, and coyotes with evidence that moose are being caught as well. It’s beyond my comprehension why someone would think it is acceptable to indiscriminately snare our wildlife in such a callous calculated manner,” Sgt. Tracy Walbauer had said.

READ MORE: Public’s help sought in cruel and prolific animal snaring activity

“That the person responsible for this has no regard for wildlife and the snares are poorly designed and illegal — those animals observed in the snares endured a great deal of suffering before death.”

The locations identified so far have been semi-remote but Walbauer was concerned there may be traps closer to human habitation.

In a telephone interview with The Fur-Bearers, Nelson said it’s been about two years since the association has offered a reward in this manner, but the seriousness of these incidents justified the action.

“It’s the waste of wildlife in this case,” he said. “It’s one thing if someone is out subsistence hunting, but in this case it just seems flagrant that someone is putting traps in the bush and not coming back to check them.

“And it’s the range of animals that’s really scary. To be honest it’s one of the worst [cases] that we’ve seen.”

Nelson added The Fur-Bearers have a good-standing relationship with the Terrace COS and is optimistic the reward will prompt public tips to assist in their investigation.

“We don’t see a lot of this stuff, on this scale, in that area,” Nelson said. “For it to show up like this is kind of odd…people live there and move out there for that connection to the wildlife, so this wasting of wildlife I think will irk a lot of people.”

Anyone with information on the snaring activity in Kitimat River Valley is asked to contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

READ MORE: Moose collisions prompt warning from Conservation

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals was founded in 1953, according to its website, with a mission to end the commercial fur trade and promote co-existence between humans and wildlife.

https://www.terracestandard.com/local-news/1000-reward-offered-for-conviction-of-snaring-culprit/

4 elk illegally shot and killed on private property without permission

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/4-elk-illegally-shot-and-killed-on-private-property-without-permission-1.4432517

The bodies of the animals were abandoned, while a fifth elk was wounded and left alive

By Andrew Kurjata, CBC News Posted: Dec 04, 2017 7:17 PM PT Last Updated: Dec 05, 2017 9:47 AM PT

Conservation officers near Hudson's Hope, in northeast B.C., are investigating after four elk were illegally killed by men shooting from a public road onto private property without permission.

Conservation officers near Hudson’s Hope, in northeast B.C., are investigating after four elk were illegally killed by men shooting from a public road onto private property without permission. (Conservation Officer Service of British Columbia)

Four elk have been illegally shot and killed on private property without permission.

The bodies of the animals were abandoned, while a fifth elk was wounded and left alive.

The incident occurred Sunday evening north of Hudson’s Hope, in northeast British Columbia, said acting Sgt. Brad Lacey of the Peace Region Conservation Officer Service.

A property owner in the area heard “a number of shots being discharged” at around 5:30 p.m. MST and went out to investigate, Lacey said.

The owner found a group of men shooting at the animals from the road and confronted them, at which point they got into their vehicles and left.

A limited-entry hunt for elk is currently occurring in the region, but Lacey said it’s not known if the men were licensed.

Investigation underway

Even if they were, he said, their methodology was illegal.

“Evidence at the scene would indicated that the hunt occurred on a maintained roadway, which isn’t allowed,” Lacey explained.

Additionally, the elk were on privately-owned land, and the owner did not give permission for the men to hunt there.

Elk in the region, which belong to the subspecies Rocky Mountain elk, are not considered at risk, but Lacey said it is still problematic for them to be killed without permission.

“There’s a public safety concern for any firearms being discharged on a maintained roadway,” he said.

Lacey said the dead elk will be maintained for evidence and then, “if the carcasses remain suitable for human consumption, they’ll be utilized by a local food bank.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the service at 1-877-952-7277.

First Nations hunters to be exempt from B.C. grizzly ban

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-ends-grizzly-bear-hunt-calls-it-no-longer-socially-acceptable/article37367514/

The Globe and Mail

A sub adult grizzly bear chases down a salmon near Klemtu, B.C., on Aug. 29, 2015.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

British Columbia is banning grizzly-bear hunting with the lone exception of First Nations hunters, who will be allowed to hunt the bears for food, social, or ceremonial reasons. The policy drew praise from B.C. environmentalists and threats of legal action from hunters.

The province’s environment and forests ministers announced the ban on Monday, saying they were acting on the basis of a program of consultation with stakeholder groups, the public and First Nations, most of whom recommended a ban to protect the bears.

“It’s no longer socially acceptable to the vast majority of British Columbians to hunt grizzly bears,” said Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. The government estimates there are about 15,000 grizzlies in the province.

The move follows, and effectively expands, an August commitment to end the trophy hunting of grizzly bears and stop all hunting of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Mr. Donaldson told a news conference he did not expect that the continuing First Nations hunt would kill many bears, suggesting there are less than 100 hunters who use bears for food. He said about 250 bears were killed a year by resident and non-resident hunters.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said he welcomed the ban because he supported an end to the “barbaric practice” of hunting the animals. He said few members of the First Nations community are involved in hunting the bears.

In response to a question from The Globe and Mail, the forests ministry said First Nations guides would not be able to facilitate access to grizzly bears for non-native hunters.

Mr. Donaldson said the government would look at transition measures for businesses affected by the ban, including easing businesses into the effort to observe grizzlies as opposed to hunting them, but provided no further details.

Joe Foy of the Wilderness Committee environmental group called the measure “tremendous news” that sets a global example. “This is worldwide news,” Mr. Foy told reporters after the government announcement, declaring British Columbia one of the world’s great hopes to hold onto the species.

“Some nations still allow trophy hunting for big beautiful creatures. This is a word out to the world that says times are changing and changing because so many creatures are on the decline. We’ve got to start to look out for them, not kill them for fun.”

However, Mark Werner, vice-president of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C., whose members are involved in hunting grizzlies, cougars, wolves and other animals, said from Kamloops that the New Democratic government has abandoned rural British Columbia with the ban – a move he said will affect hundreds of jobs.

“This isn’t done. We know where they stand. We’re looking at legal options,” he said. “This will end up in the courts.”

Scott Ellis, executive director of the outfitters association, said he expected the government move will negatively affect about 100 B.C. family businesses.

Provincial Environment Minister George Heyman said the ban will be enforced by conservation officers, although he acknowledged they are “understaffed” and the issue of resources is being assessed as part of the process leading to the next provincial budget in February. “I won’t preshadow the federal budget, but we’ll be happy to talk about it at that time,” Mr. Heyman said.

In remarks addressed to hunters, Mr. Donaldson said the NDP knows hunting is important to many British Columbians. “This is not the thin edge of the wedge,” he said. “This is a specific species, an iconic species.”

Existing penalties for illegally killing grizzly bears will be applied under the new status quo. Under the Wildlife Act, tickets are $345. In what the ministry described in a statement as more extreme cases, a first conviction in court can lead to a fine of up to $100,000 or a one-year jail sentence.

__________________________________________

Also: Breaking news: British Columbia strengthens ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears

by Wayne Pacelle,
December 18, 2017 

Today, British Columbia’s New Democratic Party government delivered on its campaign promise and more by announcing a provincial ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears, even if the hunters involved claim they eat the meat of the animal. The NDP, in cooperation with the Green Party, ousted the Liberals in elections earlier this year, gaining a one-seat majority and promising to usher in a new series of policies, including some concerning animal protection.

The original declaration from the NDP to ban grizzly bear trophy hunting, but not meat hunting, won widespread praise, but it was viewed as having a questionable and unenforceable loophole. The government opened up a comment period, and the response was overwhelming: ban all grizzly bear hunting, because it’s essentially all for trophy hunting purposes even if someone chokes down some grizzly bear meat on pretense. Ecologist and scientist David Suzuki – along with a number of hunters on hunting forums – panned the idea that anyone hunts grizzly bears for meat, given the abundance of hooved animals in the wilds of British Columbia.

Under the prior Liberal government, B.C. had become the world’s grizzly-bear-hunting hub, with trophy hunters killing 250 of the great bears a year there, even within renowned provincial parks and protected areas and, most brazenly, in the Great Bear Rainforest, where Coastal First Nations have vehemently opposed trophy hunting of bears.

This is a signature win for animal protection groups (including Humane Society International/Canada, which worked for this outcome). Polling revealed that opponents of the practice include an overwhelming majority of residents of rural communities with strong hunting traditions. All of this is an emphatic reminder to the U.S. government and to our northern Rockies states not to proceed with a trophy hunt for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which may be enabled with the recent delisting of bears there from the ranks of threatened and endangered species.

It’s not just a moral issue, it’s also an economic one. Each year, thousands flock to B.C.’s lush forests to participate in grizzly-bear-viewing expeditions. The bear-viewing industry brings in 12 times more direct revenue to the province than trophy hunting. There are millions of people throughout North America and the world who’d pay handsomely for an opportunity to see grizzlies in the wild, while very few people wish to slay these bears as a head-hunting exercise. The economic potential of an industry built around bear watching is vast, while the killing industry is small and receding and also a threat to the larger wildlife-watching enterprise.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/12/breaking-news-british-columbia-strengthens-ban-trophy-hunting-grizzly-bears.html

 

Animal rights group hopes to appeal decision against judicial review of Wildlife Act

The fight is not over.

A year after the shooting of a baby bear, that’s what a group of animal advocates says after losing an attempt in court for a judicial review of the Wildlife Act.

The Fur-Bearers spokesperson, Lesley Fox, says the group is raising questions about Section 79, which states, “An officer may kill an animal, other than a domestic animal, that is at large and is likely to harm persons, property, wildlife or wildlife habitat.”

 Fox says while the group understands that a conservation officer has the authority to euthanize an animal if it poses a threat to public safety, they’re raising the question – what about when the animal is not posing a threat?

She explains, for example, an orphaned cub that was killed in Dawson Creek by a conservation officer last year because it was found to be malnourished, even while a rehabilitation centre was waiting to take it in.

“If lethal action isn’t necessary, and we argue specifically in this case with the little cub, there shouldn’t be lethal action and in fact, it should be the opposite. That every effort should be made to get these animals into care, to be evaluated by experts.”

READ MORE: Neighbourhood series: Being bear aware in the Tri Cities

“Certainly having an animal examined by an expert, or a veterinarian, who specializes in wildlife is a huge asset and let them determine whether or not it’s appropriate to rehab this animal. I think that decision needs to be taken out of the conservation officer service, and I think there needs to be sort of an independent third party expert or specialist.”

She says those wild animals should have every opportunity to be rehabbed and released back into the wild.

Fox says they’re investigating how to appeal the decision.

In a statement, the Ministry of Environment says that a conservation officer does not relish the thought of putting an animal down –  and that euthanization is a last resort.

It says conservation officers are guided by provincial wildlife policy, as well as their experience and expertise, to make decisions in the field every day; it adds the court decision affirms its understanding of the authorities granted to them under the Wildlife Act.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3920630/animal-rights-group-hopes-to-appeal-attempt-in-court-for-judicial-review-of-wildlife-act/

British Columbia’s hunting ban on grizzlies the latest in rapid-fire series of gains for animals

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/08/british-columbia-hunting-ban-grizzlies-latest-rapid-fire-series-gains-animals.html

by HSUS president Wayne Pacelle,

August 15, 2017

This week, British Columbia’s newly formed government, responding to the will of an overwhelming majority of the province’s citizens and following through on its own campaign promise, announced a ban on all trophy hunting of grizzly bears there, starting in November.

Under the prior Liberal government, B.C. had become the world’s grizzly-bear-hunting hub, with trophy hunters killing 250 of the great bears a year, even within renowned provincial parks and protected areas and, most brazenly, in the Great Bear Rainforest, where Coastal First Nations have vehemently opposed trophy hunting of bears.

This is a signature win for animal protection groups (including Humane Society International/Canada, which worked for this outcome), and for the more than 90 percent of B.C. residents who opposed trophy hunting. Polling revealed that opponents of the practice include an overwhelming majority of residents of rural communities with strong hunting traditions. All of this is an emphatic reminder to the U.S. government and to our northern Rockies states not to proceed with a trophy hunt for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which may be enabled with the recent delisting of bears there from the ranks of threatened and endangered species.

There is no justification for the cruelty of trophy hunting, and the utterly gratuitous nature of the killing. In 2015, the world watched in horror as a video showed a wounded grizzly bear thrashing in agony as she tumbles down a hill, her blood smearing the snow, while the men who shot her cheer the outcome. Other, similarly jarring videos, showing wounded bears suffering in agony while trophy hunters rejoice, live on YouTube for anyone to see.

It’s not just a moral issue, it’s also an economic one. Each year, thousands flock to B.C.’s lush forests to participate in grizzly-bear-viewing expeditions. The bear-viewing industry brings in 12 times more direct revenue to the province than trophy hunting. There are millions of people throughout North America and the world who’d pay handsomely for an opportunity to see a grizzly in the wild, while only a few thousand people wish to slay these bears as a head-hunting exercise. The economic potential of an industry built around bear watching is vast, while the killing industry is small and receding and also a threat to the larger wildlife-watching enterprise.

HSI/Canada has worked for more than a decade to bring down the trophy hunting industry in British Columbia and other provinces. More than 10,000 supporters of HSI/Canadasigned a letter to B.C. premier Christy Clark, asking her to ban the hunt, and HSI, with other partners, participated in the delivery of over 70,000 signatures to the B.C. legislature in April, calling for a ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting. While much remains to be clarified about the recent announcement, HSI is determined to work with the B.C. government to ensure that grizzlies are truly protected from all forms of trophy hunting.

This victory for grizzlies comes close on the heels of other notable wins wildlife in the past couple of weeks. Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that federal protections for wolves under the Endangered Species Act should be maintained for 4,000 or so wolves inhabiting the northern reaches of the boreal forests of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Also on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Endangered Species Act protections clearly extend to grizzly bears kept in captivity, even though those facilities also must meet the minimum standards of humane treatment set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act, as advocated by HSUS attorneys in an amicus curiae brief. On Friday, Illinois became the first state in the United States to ban the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling acts, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a landmark bill prohibiting this practice. And on August 1, the Czech Republic became the latest country to ban fur farming, a policy that, when it takes effect, will spare 20,000 foxes and mink from being raised and killed for the fur trade.

These are all indicators that the world is waking up to the plight of animals. Our task is far from complete, but these wins should stir the hopes of all of us who imagine a day when we recognize the rightful place of other creatures on our planet and treat them with respect and dignity.

Letter: Time to put a stop to B.C.’s grizzly bear hunt

https://www.pqbnews.com/opinion/time-to-put-a-stop-to-b-c-s-grizzly-bear-hunt/

  • Aug. 11, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Grizzly bears are very important to me and, as the polls show, are very important to a large majority of British Columbians.

I believe NDP Premier John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver made statements opposing the grizzly bear trophy hunt and in acknowledgement of the importance grizzly bear to the ecology and economy of British Columbia.

In 2001, the NDP government implemented a moratorium on grizzly bear hunting, but it was overturned after the B.C. Liberals took office.

In the 2017 provincial election, NDP and Green candidates pledged support to ban the B.C. grizzly bear trophy hunt.

I am part of the very large majority of British Columbians who applaud this position and who did not imagine that we would be waiting with bated breath to hear an announcement from the NDP government to immediately ban this hunt.

Grizzly bears continue to be hunted for no good reason, despite the fact that tourism revenue is far greater than that from grizzly bear trophy hunting.

I believe, as most British Columbians believe, protecting our wildlife is a smart investment in the future.

Ronda Murdock

Parksville

ACTION ALERT: GOVERNMENT ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON GRIZZLY HUNT POLICIES

http://thefurbearers.com/blog/action-alert-government-accepting-comments-grizzly-hunt-policies

10/04/2017 – 12:48

ACTION ALERT: Government accepting comments on grizzly hunt policies

The province is changing the way grizzly bears are hunted in British Columbia, and it’s your opportunity to let them know what you think about their policy papers, and what the future of grizzly killing will look like.

In August the government announced that all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest would end (not including First Nations), as would taking traditional trophies from grizzlies hunted throughout the province (but still allowing a hunt for “meat”). This now means that policies surrounding the hunting of grizzly bears need to change, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations is asking for public input.

Specifically, they are seeking feedback on:

  • Changes to manage the ban in hunting areas that overlap the Great Bear Rainforest;
  • Changes that will prohibit the possession of “trophy” grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes that will manage prohibited grizzly bear parts;
  • Changes to prohibit the trafficking of grizzly bear parts; and,
  • New reporting requirements for taxidermists.

We encourage everyone to submit their comments via email to grizzly.bear@gov.bc.ca, and if they’re residents of British Columbia, to copy their MLA. Here are our tips for writing a letter:

  • Keep it short and specific. You want to make sure your points are straight-forward and easy to read so there’s no mistaking your opinions, and that it isn’t confused with other, unrelated comments.
  • Be polite and mindful of language. You may feel a great deal of anger, sadness, or even hate over what you need to write. But when communicating with politicians and government bureaucrats, using hateful language, veiled or indirect threats, or cursing, your points can be more easily ignored, and sometimes even result in resources being redirected as a security measure.
  • Provide citations and links. It’s a lot harder to dismiss an argument if there’s clear evidence through citations to reputable documents or media, and links to existing policy or examples. Providing these makes your letter more impactful.
  • Request follow up. If you want answers, make sure your questions are clear, and that you expect responses within a certain time period. Remember that in the case of policy input there may not be any systems in place for responses, and to follow up with bureaucrats or politicians.

Sample Letter

It is my opinion that managing the hunting of grizzly bears and the harvesting and trafficking of the various trophies, parts, or meat of their carcasses cannot be effectively accomplished within British Columbia at this time. Without significant increases to the resources of the Conservation Officer Service and their counterparts at the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, there is simply no manner of ensuring any policy allowing for some harvesting of grizzly bear trophies, parts or meat. Additionally, long-standing questions regarding the models and research used to make policy decisions on grizzly bear hunting have not been answered (see recommendations from the Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest and the yet-to-be delivered report from the Auditor General).

How this will interfere with the thriving grizzly bear viewing industry is also not included in your policy papers – a critical oversight.

In conjunction with these vital issues on the conservation and science side, the lack of resources to properly manage the hunt, and the overwhelming shift in societal views on hunting grizzly bears, all grizzly hunting should cease in the province.

Signed

Your name and address


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End of the trophy hunt: Proposed B.C. rules on killing grizzlies leave hunters and activists unhappy

End of the trophy hunt: Proposed B.C. rules on killing grizzlies leave hunters and activists unhappy

The province, citing poll results, says it’s taking action because the ‘vast majority’ of people in B.C. take the view that grizzly trophy hunting is not ‘socially acceptable’

Under revised B.C. regulations grizzly bears can still be hunted, but only in restricted circumstances for meat. No trophy parts — hide, skull or paws — can be kept by the hunter.Getty Images

The hunter wearing the camouflage ball cap could barely contain his excitement.

He had just fired his bolt-action rifle at a grizzly grazing in the wilds of northern British Columbia, sending the bear tumbling down a hill to within 10 yards of him.

“Holy, Toledo!” the hunter says in a dramatic 2014 YouTube video of the kill. He flashes a wide grin and fist bumps his son and hunting guide.

“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve been wanting a grizz for a long, long time.”

Such videos could soon become a rarity after B.C.’s NDP government announced plans this summer to ban grizzly bear “trophy hunting” — hunting for thrills and bragging rights — and to restrict the harvesting of grizzlies only for meat.

But the proposed regulation, set to take effect Nov. 30, is drawing rebuke from all sides of the emotionally charged debate — hunters who say they should be able to take home mementos of their kills, guide outfitters who say their livelihoods are at stake and activists who say killing grizzlies for food should also be banned.

“The whole thing hasn’t been thought out,” said Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild, a non-profit focused on conservation.

Currently, B.C. residents can apply for permits to hunt grizzlies in certain designated areas under a lottery system. Those living outside the province can hunt grizzlies only after they have hired a guide outfitter.

The province says its motivation for ending the trophy hunt is not because the grizzly population is in jeopardy. According to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, about 250 grizzles are taken by hunters each year out of a “stable and self-sustaining” population of roughly 15,000.

Instead, the province, citing poll results, says it’s taking action because the “vast majority” of people in B.C. take the view that grizzly trophy hunting is “not a socially acceptable practice.”

Under the new regulation, it will be illegal for a hunter to possess “trophy parts” of a grizzly, including the skull, hide and paws. The province has not decided if it will require hunters to leave those prohibited parts at the kill site or require hunters to take them in for government inspection.

But in an open letter signed earlier this month, Humane Society International/Canada, the BC SPCA and numerous other environmental and animal-welfare organizations expressed concern that the trophy hunt ban will be difficult to enforce and that trophy hunting will likely continue “under the guise” of meat hunting.

“People do not travel hundreds or thousands of kilometres, pay tens of thousands of dollars, and risk their lives shooting at grizzly bears to put meat on the table. … Even if the head, hide and claws are left on the ground, or given to a conservation officer, the hunter will take away trophy videos, photographs and bragging rights. The bears will still be killed for sport,” the letter states.

As they called for a complete ban of grizzly hunting, the groups also disputed the province’s claim that the grizzly population is sustainable, saying the species is threatened in some regions due to human conflicts, habitat destruction and hunting.

They would prefer if the province threw its support behind businesses that promote grizzly viewing instead of hunting.

Meanwhile, the province’s guide outfitters worry the new regulation could put a big dent in their business.

“This is not a science-based decision; this is purely an emotional decision,” said Mark Werner of the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

Werner pointed out that while current regulations require hunters to harvest edible portions of black bears, they permit hunters to take home other parts of the bear, such as the head and hide. Why allow it for black bears but not grizzlies? It would be such a waste to leave behind those parts of the grizzly, he said.

Werner and other pro-hunting advocates said logging and other big industries do far more harm to the grizzly population than selective hunting.

If the ban proceeds, expect the encroachment of grizzlies into urban centres and attacks on hikers and campers to rise, they added. Sometimes, you need that “human fear factor” to keep grizzlies at bay, Werner said.

Neither the father-son duo in the 2014 YouTube video nor the hunting outfitter they hired, Love Bros & Lee Ltd. of Hazelton, B.C., could be reached for comment. But other hunters say the braggadocio depicted in the video is not representative of their behaviour.

Carl Gitscheff of Dawson Creek, B.C., recalled a grizzly hunt that he did with his 34-year-old son, Krostin, this past spring in the northeast part of the province.

“At this stage in my life, to be honest with you, I don’t care if I kill anything. I just enjoy the hunt. My purpose was to go with him and accompany him on his bear,” Gitscheff said.

But when they spotted a grizzly in the distance on the second day of their trip, Gitscheff’s son let him take the shot.

“He actually proved himself as the man and extended his compassion, his love, by insisting that I take it. … It was the gentleman thing to do, which really for a father, touched my heart in a way that’s hard to describe.”

The end result was a “picture perfect” one-shot kill.

Gitscheff said he harvested the entire bear and is in the process of tanning the hide.

“Upon my expiry, perhaps one of my grandchildren may hang it in their home and say this belonged to Papa,” he said.

“You’ll never see a picture of my bear on social media. If you walked into my home, you’ll never see that bear. It’s not on display. I’m not beating my chest over this animal.”

Comment: Why not a complete ban on grizzly hunting?

JUDY MALONE / TIMES COLONIST

OCTOBER 15, 2017 12:58 AM

I recently had the pleasure of visiting grizzly-bear country, inside the traditional Bute Inlet territory of the Homalco Nation.

Deep in the dense forest, with impossibly massive bears fishing the shores of a salmon-packed river, it was a page out of National Geographic. We saw nine grizzlies, including a female with her spring cubs, and a newly independent juvenile gamely trying to catch his lunch.

I come to see family and friends in your province often. I also come, as do so many from around the world, to see iconic wildlife in their natural settings.

Many of us deeply concerned for threatened wildlife were impressed when the people of B.C. made trophy hunting of grizzlies an election issue. When the new NDP government promised to end it, we looked forward to seeing that promise delivered quickly. The ban would be precedent-setting, with far-reaching implications. In a post-Cecil-the-lion world, people everywhere are agreeing that we will no longer tolerate the relentless killing of animals for what some people call sport.

Instead, the promised B.C. ban was both inexplicably delayed until after a full fall hunt season, then when delivered was incomplete. It was and is critically compromised by allowing the killing of grizzlies for meat. Safari Club International has actively interfered in this matter since the campaign for the ban began, even calling on rank-and-file members to crash and load media opinion polls and comments. But the reality is that while U.S. trophy hunters and local outfitters are angered by this ban, it is all too clear they see it as interference, and not as an end to the killing.

Your government has both dismissed science and insulted public intelligence by stating the hunt is sustainable and the ban was only in response to a shift in public attitudes. In a classic example of ethical doubling, Premier John Horgan once agreed grizzlies are struggling to survive habitat disruption and loss, and need our full protection.

Once elected, he then promptly announced a trophy hunt ban with a meat-hunt loophole big enough to drag a grizzly through. But the fact is that few Canadians hunt grizzly at all, and fewer still — if any — hunt grizzly for meat. Now, of course, many seem to have developed an appetite, or so they claim.

A public consultation period was announced, through Nov. 2. But the consultation is about how to manage the meat hunt, not if there should be a meat hunt. Now our media are headlining the results of a second poll. It shows what people asked for before the election and what they still want, is a complete ban. No hunting for trophy, for meat, no killing of any grizzly for any reason.

It shows something else. The public has been consulted and the answer is loud and clear. British Columbians and all Canadians are the key stakeholders on this issue. The people who elected your government want a complete ban. Polls have found that 91 per cent of British Columbians and 84 per cent of Albertans, including those living in rural areas, oppose trophy hunting.

There is no question these numbers would play out across Canada and elsewhere. It would certainly be tough to come up with another issue on which 80 to 90 per cent of people polled would agree.

A new report has told us that more than half of Canada’s wildlife species are dying off at an alarming rate. Trophy hunting is unethical, insupportable and an easily eliminated threat. Canadians and tourists stand with the citizens of B.C. We demand and expect the NDP government to oppose the killing of any grizzly for any reason.

 

Judy Malone of Toronto is a frequent flyer to British Columbia, and founder of Tourists Against Trophy Hunting, an international coalition of conservationists, ecologists, travellers, travel agents, writers and bloggers.