‘Dead bears don’t learn anything’ — Biologists balk at notion hunting makes bears wary

Grizzly bear

It’s hard for a grizzly bear to learn anything when it’s dead.

That’s the take of two grizzly bear biologists in northwest Montana on the notion that grizzly bears will learn to fear man if the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming allow a limited trophy hunt now that the species’ threatened status in the region around Yellowstone National Park has been revoked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Last week, the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International asked to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to restore protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

In affidavits, several members of the two organizations said allowing a grizzly bear hunt would improve public safety as well as help the region’s economy and allow states to better manage the animals.

Safari Club International Idaho Chapter President Anthony Hafla of Idaho Falls said that hunting grizzly bears would limit the human-bear conflicts that now occur, especially during bow season.

“Grizzlies are smart animals and as soon as they figure out that man is dangerous, they will avoid such conflict,” Hafla said. “The overall outcome for the bears will be positive as fewer bears will be killed out of self-defense or from culling bears that have been involved in altercations with humans.”

Edwin Johnson, a 70-year-old outfitter from Gardiner, said he would welcome the opportunity both to offer guided grizzly bear hunts to his clients as well as hunt one personally.

“To me, this is a public safety issue,” Johnson said. “In 1996 and 2007, clients of mine were mauled by grizzly bears. More bears are becoming more aggressive. They need to be hunted so that they fear the scent of humans, rather than following as they do now.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Libby area grizzly bear management specialist Kim Annis has heard that argument before.

“If the argument is that hunting bears will teach them to be afraid of humans, I don’t understand how that would play out,” Annis said. “Bears are solitary animals. If someone kills one, it’s dead. It would have to stay alive to actually learn something.”

Annis said people have been hunting black bears forever and they still come around people. Alaska has allowed hunting of brown bears — which are called grizzlies in the Lower 48 — and there are still conflicts between bears and humans there.

“I don’t see where there is any evidence that bears learn to fear humans because of hunting,” she said. “If people want to be able to hunt grizzly bears as a trophy, that’s what they should say.”

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes grizzly bear specialist Stacy Courville said he couldn’t say for sure how bears would react to being hunted, but there is one thing he knows for certain.

“Dead bears don’t learn anything,” he said. “Unless there is a bear right there standing next to the one that got shot, I’m not sure how bears would learn anything about being hunted. … Intuitively, that doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Courville’s experience does tell him that grizzly bears are capable of learning to avoid unpleasant situations.

A cornfield surrounded by an electric fence near St. Ignatius has shown him that numerous times.

“We had bears that were patrolling the outside perimeter almost every night in hopes of finding a way in,” he said. “We had bears inside the fence that couldn’t get out. When they finally did decide to leave and the fence was turned off, they still hesitated before going through it.”

The female bear stuck inside the fence had two cubs with her. As the corn patch was harvested and it grew smaller and smaller, Courville occasionally saw her stand up and look around.

When the three finally decided to make a break for it, Courville happened to be there to watch.

“While mom barreled right through the fence, the two cubs hesitated when they got to the fence,” he said. “She was already across the county road before they even attempted to get through the fence. That was learned behavior.”

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New Jersey’s latest bear hunt may also be last for a while

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20171126_ap_5de4b22f54384a99b6cdb511068ad0d9.html

Bear Hunt

Protesters gather not far from a bear hunt check-in station at the Whittingham Wildlife Management Area in Fredon, N.J., in December 2014.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Hunters across New Jersey are making final preparations for the state’s next black bear hunt, which also may be the last one the state holds for some time.

While a formal decision won’t be made until next year, the hunt’s future seemed to be sealed on election night, when Democrat Phil Murphy – who has called for a moratorium on the hunts – won the gubernatorial race.

The state’s firearm-only season is scheduled for Dec. 4 to 9. It comes just weeks after 243 bears were killed during a six-day hunt staged mostly in northern New Jersey. The first three days of the last hunt were reserved for bow hunting, with bows and muzzle-loading guns allowed the final three days.

New Jersey resumed state-regulated bear hunting in 2003 after a ban that lasted more than 30 years. Another hunt was held in 2005, and in 2010 the state made it annual.

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WHY IS A HUNT HELD?

State wildlife officials have touted the annual hunts as an important part of controlling the bear population and minimizing run-ins with humans.

Black bears serve an important role in healthy ecosystems. They can travel great distances and disperse the seeds of many different plant species while feeding on fruits and berries. They can also clear out small amounts of vegetation while foraging, which opens up space for other plants.

But officials say there are concerns some may be going hungry due to the bear population density being too high.

Animal rights activists and other critics say the hunts are inhumane and unnecessary. They also argue that the number of bear-human incidents is down.

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FIREARM-ONLY HUNT

The firearm-only bear hunt will be held alongside the six-day firearm deer season. State officials have the option to extend the hunt to the following week if there aren’t enough bears killed.

Hunters must have a permit to hunt in one of the five bear hunting zones. They can obtain permits for two separate zones.

State wildlife officials have estimated that 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80.

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FUTURE HUNTS?

Officials expect state policy to change once Murphy takes office in January.

Murphy won the seat earlier this month when he defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who had called for the hunts to continue. During the campaign, Murphy said he would impose a moratorium on the hunt and criticized Republican Gov. Chris Christie for holding hunts every year since he took office.

Murphy says that before authorizing another hunt, the state needs a “fuller understanding and proof” that they work better than nonlethal options in the state’s long-term bear management policies.

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BEAR AS FOOD

Experts say bear meat should be butchered within hours of the kill. They recommend that people slow-cook it, marinate it or use is as a ground meat.

To help hunters and cooks with their food preparations, the state Department of Environmental Protection has a “bear cookbook” on its website. It includes information on how to butcher the bear and safely cook the meat, along with recipes including spiced bear tenderloin, sweet and sour bear pot roast, spicy bratwurst-style bear sausage and bear gumbo.

Many hunters also donate some or all of the meat from their kills to food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters through state and local programs.

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MOUNTED BEARS/BEAR RUGS

Once a bear is killed and checked in with state officials at designated sites, most hunters will head to a butcher shop to have the meat removed.

If they also want to memorialize the bear, their next stop is often a taxidermy shop, where the bruins are mounted or their hides are turned into rugs.

Some jobs can take a few months to complete and will cost a few thousand dollars, while some work will only cost the hunter a few hundred dollars.

Wyoming sets next steps for grizzly control

By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. October 4, 2017

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department plans to propose its plans for grizzly bear management — including potential hunting seasons — by April, the state’s chief game warden said Tuesday.

With newfound authority over Ursus arctos horribilis following its removal from the federal threatened species list this summer, Game and Fish will begin canvassing the state in November, to gauge citizens’ sentiments regarding the bear, Brian Nesvik said. Delisting gives Wyoming the ability to enact hunting seasons within federal limits.

Nesvik said the department will approach the public input process “not with any preconceived ideas or a proposal, but just with a kind of open mind.

“We would like to … go out and talk to Wyoming folk and hear what they want to see with grizzly bear management,” he told WyoFile. “Then, after we hear from folks, go to round two where we develop some proposals and take them back out again for some additional feedback.”

The first outreach is scheduled for regional meetings in the second half of November and the first week of December, he said. Proposals — which could include hunting seasons — would emerge for public comment in January.

The goal would be to put a plan in front of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for its April meeting, during which it typically acts on changes to hunting and other regulations, Nesvik said.

The chief warden said he hopes “science and the desires of the public can come together to do the best thing for the future of the grizzly bear.” But, he cautioned, “some people might be disappointed.”

“There isn’t anything we make decisions on or manage in this state that has an absolute consensus,” Nesvik said.

Federal limits would apply to hunting

As a precondition to delisting the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone ecosystem, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service required Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho to agree on a memorandum of understanding that would limit the total annual human-caused bear mortality —  including from hunting — and split the total number of authorized deaths among the three states. The MOU would allow Wyoming the bulk of the so-called “discretionary” mortality quota, at 58 percent. Montana would get 34 percent and Idaho 8 percent.

Exact numbers would be determined annually, based on grizzly population numbers, sex and age classifications, and other factors.

A Game and Fish Department review of grizzly bear activity in Wyoming in 2016 shows that 22 grizzlies were killed of the 40 captured for conflicts. Those euthanized were killed for “a history of previous conflicts” or “a known history of close association with humans.” Several were killed for being “unsuitable for release into the wild.” Those included orphaned cubs, bears in poor physical condition, or bears that caused worries about human safety. One death was inadvertent.

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Griz-conflict-captures-2016.jpg

The bears captured for conflicts with people or property in 2016 tended to be on the fringes of occupied bear country. The red border circles the primary conservation area, the black surrounds the demographic monitoring area. There were 40 conflict captures in 2016, Game and Fish reported. (Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

There were 223 “conflicts” between grizzlies and people, a category that ranges from attacks by bears — there were four people injured — to eating apples and chickens. Most of the conflicts occurred on the edges of bear country, according to the report of 2016 activity.

Grizzly bear delisting in the Yellowstone ecosystem represents “a huge success story,” said Dan Thompson, the Game and Fish large carnivore section supervisor. With restoration of the species in the ecosystem came “just an overall expansion of bears…the overall distribution of grizzly bears,” he said.

Debate continues regarding whether the expansion of occupied grizzly country is due to more bears or changes in the environment that drives them to seek meat — like livestock — farther from their core habitat. Regardless of the cause, “we’re starting to see potential conflicts with people,” Thompson said.

In fiscal year 2015, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department paid $457,516 for livestock and other property losses from grizzly bears, according to department data. The agency continues to wrestle with depredation by bears and to compensate ranchers for damage. The agency publishes a weekly grizzly bear update for those interested in keeping up.

The department spent an average of $2.06 million on grizzly bear conservation between FY 2012-2016, Thompson said. That includes a host of activities, from capturing to relocating, tracking, counting and so on.

Two lawsuits challenge Yellowstone delisting

Conservation groups sued after Yellowstone-area grizzlies came off the threatened species list this summer. Two complaints focus on the government’s decision to delist the Yellowstone population of bears while other populations remain in peril.

The future of Yellowstone bears themselves is uncertain, the suits contend. That’s in part because of climate change that critics say is driving bears farther from the core of the ecosystem as traditional food sources disappear.

Read a WyoFile story about worries regarding grizzly hunting

One suit pits the Northern Cheyenne tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and the National Parks Conservation Association against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and colleagues. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Native Ecosystems Council, and Western Watersheds Project filed another action.

“The [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service acknowledged that grizzly bears have shifted to meat in response to the decline in whitebark pine; that more bears die due to human conflicts during years of poor whitebark pine production; and that human-bear conflict mortality has spiked in recent years,” the Northern Cheyenne and their fellow plaintiffs contend. “But the Service did not address or evaluate the logical conclusion arising from these facts: that is, grizzly bears’ shift to meat has brought bears into more frequent contact with hunters and livestock and, therefore, caused the recent upsurge in mortality.”

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Griz-rangeGF-maps.jpg

Game and Fish illustrates expansion of grizzly range with these maps from 2010 and 2016. Debate continues regarding the reason for bears expanding their territory. Regardless, wildlife officials say chances for conflicts increase, conflicts they seek to diffuse with their Bear Wise Wyoming program. (Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

The Alliance and its co-plaintiffs made a similar claim. Conservationists have also complained, although not specifically in the lawsuits, that authorities have established boundaries where grizzlies will be tolerated based in part on social tolerance or acceptability. They say that interjects political bias into what’s supposed to be decisions based on science.

Game and Fish seeks to increase social tolerance, and support for grizzly bears in general, through an 11-year-old program called Bear Wise Wyoming, Thompson said. “It’s so vital to management of large carnivores,” he said.

In the parlance of bureaucracy, Game and Fish is “creating a social conscience regarding responsible attractant management and behavior in bear habitat.” Bear Wise seeks to raise awareness, reduce access to things like food and garbage, and educate people about both grizzly and black bears.

http://www.wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/BearWiseLOGO-Model-1-300x232.jpg

Game and Fish brands its Bear Wise Wyoming program with this logo.

Among the efforts undertaken by the program have been the free give-away of hundreds of cans of bear spray to licensed hunters. In Cody last year the effort was supported by Wyoming Outdoorsmen, Bow Hunters of Wyoming and Yellowstone Country Bear Hunters Association, Game and Fish said. One hundred cans of spray were given away in less than an hour.

A similar event in Jackson last month saw a line of some 30 or more hunters waiting before the 8 a.m. give-away began. With the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Game and Fish also has installed more bear-proof food storage boxes in campgrounds.

Game and Fish also seeks to protect those who travel into bear country as part of their job. It put on a workshop last year titled “Working Safely in Bear Country” in Park County that targeted national forest employees, among others.

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Game and Fish admits there is some resistance in sharing ground with grizzlies, including in the Wapiti and Pinedale areas. There, Game and Fish says, efforts are hampered by the lack of ordinances, regulations and laws, by seasonal residents, and by scant community organizations. Another factor is “decreased public tolerance for grizzly bears due to record numbers of human-bear conflicts and continued federal legal protection,” the report for 2016 said.

Game and Fish said it would announce the schedule of the November and December meetings soon.

8 Bears Already Killed in NV Bear Hunt

OCT 5, 2017 — Friends,

We are sad to share that since the Nevada bear hunt began on September 15th, 8 bears have already lost their lives to despicable trophy hunters.

Up to an additional 12 are slated to be killed before the season ends on December 1.

In the Spring, we will be calling on all of you to speak out against the Nevada bear hunt during the annual Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting to set the quota for number of bears to be killed in 2018. We will be demanding that the wildlife commissioners set a zero quota.

If you are wondering why we don’t simply ask for the hunt to come to an end, the reason is that the Nevada bear hunt is mandated in NV law. The law was made to protect the “rights” of those who want to slaughter animals for fun, despite Nevada’s small bear population of just 3-400 and despite the fact that the majority of Nevadans oppose trophy hunting. We hope to circumvent the “necessity” for a hunt by asking for the hunt to continue…with zero bears killed.

We are pleased to share that many individuals are rising up against the bear hunt. Alongside No Bear Hunt NV, CompassionWorks International held a very successful and well-attended protest in Reno, NV on September 16th that gained ample media coverage.

Also, having successfully raised the funds, in the next two weeks we will be distributing a postcard encouraging residents to be “bear smart” to 15,000 homes in the Tahoe basin where human/bear encounters are frequent. We hope this will curb encounters that result in bears being relocated or killed.

Finally, here in Nevada we are suffering from the tragedy that occurred just days ago in Las Vegas. Unbelievably, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are continuing with their plan to host the annual conference of Safari Club International in Las Vegas next January/February. To host a vile group of “thrill killers” after what Las Vegas has just endured is beyond the pale. Please join us in speaking out against Safari Club International (the world’s largest group of trophy hunters) and their conference in Las Vegas by signing this petition: https://www.change.org/p/las-vegas-convention-and-visitors-authority-stop-supporting-guns-and-killing-ban-sci.

Finally, we are grateful to all who donated to our postcard campaign. If you would like to support our efforts to hold protests, petition for a zero quota, and do other outreach aimed at saving the lives of Nevada’s precious bears, please visit www.cwint.org/donate to make your secure, tax-deductible donation online.

Thank you, as always, for your friendship and support, and for your care for Nevada’s wildlife.

For the Animals,
Carrie LeBlanc, M.A.
Executive Director
CompassionWorks International

Miley Cyrus joins call to close ‘loophole’ on grizzly bear hunt in B.C.

Popstar Miley Cyrus is back in B.C. politics, this time joining the call for a full ban on grizzly bear hunting.

This follows a decision from the BC NDP to stop the contentious grizzly bear trophy hunt in the province while allowing hunting for meat to continue.

READ MORE: Miley Cyrus visits B.C. to discuss wolf cull

But Cyrus, along with local conservation group Pacific Wild, says hunters are using that as a “loophole” and claiming they are hunting for food.

The campaign was released on Tuesday and it features the voice of the artist singing a chilling version of Teddy Bears’ Picnic over footage of an empty forest.

“Last year 300 grizzly bears were killed in B.C., let’s end the hunt before they’re gone,” reads the text at the end of the video.

WATCH: BC Greens says NDP plan to end trophy grizzly hunting isn’t a true ban

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has estimated there are 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C., and that about 250 are killed each year.

“The grizzly bear is the second slowest reproducing land mammal in North America, one that’s threatened throughout much of its natural range and habitat,” said Executive Director at Pacific Wild, Ian McAllister, in a release.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP government stopping contentious grizzly bear trophy hunt

The statement says over 90 per cent of British Columbians want to see a complete end “to this barbaric hunt.”

The ban on trophy hunting will take effect on Nov. 30.

This isn’t the first time Cyrus has been involved with a campaign in B.C., back in 2015 while on a trip to B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, she spoke out against the province’s controversial wolf cull.

Cyrus asked her Instagram followers to sign a petition to stop the killings, gathering thousands of signatures.

Poaching suspects left lengthy digital trail for investigators to follow

William Haynes and Erik Martin
William Haynes, left, and Erik Martin pose for a selfie in Haynes’ pickup truck. The image was sent from Martin to his girlfriend on November 19, 2016, according to case reports. In the back of the vehicle, multiple deer can be seen. According to case reports, the deer were illegally killed in Oregon and transported across state lines to Washington.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife case report

For individuals who apparently got a thrill by stalking and illegally killing wild animals, William J. Haynes and Erik Christian Martin did a poor job of covering their own tracks.

The suspected poachers unwittingly provided law enforcement officers with a huge cache of evidence, allowing Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators to build a massive case against them and five other members of an alleged poaching group.

Based on case reports reviewed by The Daily News, there’s little sign the men ever thought about getting caught.

Instead, the 23-year-old Longview residents are suspects in an investigation into the killing of more than 50 animals including deer, elk, bears and bobcats in two different states. Along the way, they left a digital trail of shocking evidence for Fish and Wildlife investigators to follow.

The painstaking task required two Fish and Wildlife officers and a sergeant, who spent a majority of the past winter and early spring diligently retracing the suspects’ bloody steps.

Investigators were also assisted by more than 30 officers from multiple agencies, including the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve used a lot of our manpower in this region in Western Washington to accomplish this case,” Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Brad Rhoden said in an interview.

Rhoden said he doesn’t want intense interest in the case to lead to a negative perception of honest hunters.

“I don’t want anybody to view the majority of our hunters in Washington as these types of individuals,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a sportsman out there who would say this is OK.”

Haynes is facing 61 separate charges in Skamania County District Court, including 26 charges of first-degree illegal hunting of big game. All of the charges are related to the use of dogs while hunting, which is illegal in Washington without a special permit that’s only granted in specific instances. Haynes was previously convicted of second-degree unlawful hunting of big game in Cowlitz County on Oct. 3, 2013. As a result, all of Haynes’ big game charges could be considered Class C felonies, which are punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Martin, who does not have any previous violations, is facing 28 separate charges for gross misdemeanors.

In addition to Haynes and Martin, three other suspects have been named in the investigation.

They are Joseph Allen Dills, 30, of Longview; Eddy Alvin Dills, 57, of Longview; and Bryan Christopher Tretiak, 31, of Morton. All of the suspects are awaiting preliminary appearance hearings in Skamania County later this month. Two female suspects were named in the case reports but no charges have been filed against them yet.

Dills, who has bear claws and dog paws tattooed on his left arm, pleaded guilty in Wahkiakum County District Court in 2008 to second-degree unlawful hunting of big game and second-degree criminal trespassing. He’s now facing 64 separate charges, including four first-degree unlawful big game hunting charges for the illegal use of dogs.

Had Haynes and Martin known that the contents of their phones would result in so many charges, it’s possible they may have opted not to document such a staggering number of alleged illegal hunting activities.

A mountain of evidence

Based on case reports, it’s not clear if Haynes or Martin thought twice before agreeing to allow two Oregon State police officers to look through their devices on December 3, 2016.

According to reports, the troopers had stopped the men after recognizing Haynes’ Toyota pickup as the same vehicle that appeared in several images captured by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife game cameras. The motion-activated cameras were set up in response to past illegal big game hunting activity in the Mount Hood National Forest during the months of November and December.

Upon questioning, Haynes and Martin confessed to illegally killing two buck deer and a silver gray squirrel, according to reports. The two men admitted to taking only the heads of the two deer and the entire squirrel back to a house in Longview, leaving the rest of the animals to rot.

At this point, Senior Trooper Craig Gunderson requested that Washington Fish and Wildlife Sergeant Brad Rhoden assist with recovering the illegally transported deer heads.

When Rhoden arrived, Gunderson informed him that Haynes and Martin had consented to having their cell phones searched. According to reports, it was at this point that the true scale of the ensuing investigation began to emerge.

An initial look through the devices revealed numerous photos of antlered deer skulls, dead bull elk, and — perhaps most disturbing — bear hunting with the use of dogs.

Gunderson seized the phones as evidence and obtained a search warrant to have a forensic analysis performed on the devices.

On Dec. 16, 2016, Rhoden met with Gunderson and several other officers to transfer evidence from the analysis.

The contents of Haynes’ phone provided hundreds of photos and videos documenting a pattern of brutal killings on more than 20 separate occasions.

In some cases, bears were still alive as Dills’ dogs gnawed on their flesh, Rhoden said.

Martin’s phone also held numerous photos and videos of the unlawful harvest of big game.

In addition to incriminating photos, videos and text messages, the evidence included crucial metadata which allowed investigators to pinpoint exactly where the illegal killings occurred using GPS coordinates.

Investigators could not have retraced the suspects’ steps if Haynes had not granted his phone’s camera permission to access its GPS location data.

“What was most difficult about this case is that we had to pore through so many records,” Rhoden said.

Signable Petition Demands Zinke to Reject HJR 69, Trump’s Bear Cub/Wolf Pup Killing Bill

Best to click on url:

http://www.environews.tv/world-news/signable-petition-demands-zinke-reject-hjr-69-trumps-bear-cubwolf-pup-killing-bill/

(EnviroNews World News) — PETITION WATCH: The Center for Biological Diversity (the Center) has launched an online petition via the Care2 platform demanding …

Signable Petition Demands Zinke to Reject HJR 69, Trump’s Bear Cub/Wolf Pup Killing Bill

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(EnviroNews World News) — PETITION WATCH: The Center for Biological Diversity (the Center) has launched an online petition via the Care2 platform demanding Department of the Interior (Interior) Secretary Ryan Zinke “deny any request by Alaska for predator control in wildlife refuges.” This, after House Joint Resolution 69 (HJR 69) was signed into law on April 3, 2017, by President Donald Trump.

The highly controversial bill rescinded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule (Refuge Rule) which defaults wildlife management on Alaska’s 16 national refuges to the Alaska Board of Game (BOG). BOG’s wildlife management plan includes what is know as the Intensive Management Law (IM) — a code that allows extreme predator hunting methods such as killing bear sows with cubs, shooting predators from helicopters, luring bears to bait stations and shooting them pointblank, using steel-jaw traps for bears and killing wolves with pups in their dens.

The Center writes in its petition:

President Donald Trump recently signed a cruel bill into law repealing protections for wolves, bears and other wildlife on Alaska’s national wildlife refuges. The law – rushed through Congress under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) — repealed an Obama Administration rule that prohibited killing wolves and their pups in their dens, gunning down bears at bait stations and shooting them from airplanes. And it’s all in an attempt to artificially boost caribou numbers to placate sport hunters.

So far, the Center’s petition has gathered nearly 29,000 signatures and is growing fast online. The Center also points out that it recently filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over HJR 69, which it says is “no ordinary lawsuit” because it challenges the constitutionality of the CRA itself, alleging the 1996 law violates separation of powers laws inherent to the U.S. Government.

Longlac man fined after shooting trophy bear; 760-pound animal was shot at the Longlac dump

Trophy bear was shot near Longlac in 2014.

The shooting three years ago of one of the largest black bears ever
harvested in Ontario has led to a stiff fine and the loss of hunting
privileges for a Longlac man.

Michael A. Gauthier was convicted after a trial in Geraldton this week and
fined $5,000 for hunting black bear within 400 metres of a waste disposal
site.

He was also fined $1,000 for possessing wildlife illegally, and received a
four-year hunting suspension. The bear was forfeited to the Crown.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Forestry, court was told that on September 13, 2014, Gauthier shot and
wounded a 760-pound bear within the Longlac waste disposal site. Several
hours later, he returned to the site where he dispatched the injured bear.

The MNRF news release refers to the animal as a trophy bear.

Skull size is the usual measurement for determining bear records.

The weight listed in the news release was the “dressed” weight, measured
after the internal organs were removed.

Ontarioblackbears.com lists the largest recorded weight for a black bear as
816 pounds.

However, the Federation for the Recognition of Ontario Wildlife says its
records show the heaviest bear ever harvested in the province was 780
pounds. It was shot by a hunter using a cross-bow in the Nipissing area in
2007.

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/longlac-man-fined-after-shooting-trop
hy-bear-707460

Vermont Bear Hunting Season Is Underway

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont‘s early bear hunting season is underway.

The early season bear hunt began Friday and runs through the beginning of the November rifle deer hunting season. The late bear season runs through the first nine days of rifle deer season.

A separate early season bear hunting tag is required to hunt bear.

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says the state has one of the densest populations of black bears in the country, with approximately one bear for every three square miles.

Bear are found throughout the state except for the Lake Champlain islands. They are most commonly found in the Green Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom.

Successful bear hunters are required to submit a bear tooth to the state so scientists can gather information about the population.

The HSUS goes to federal court on behalf of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears

Sixty days ago, The HSUS told Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that we’d see him in courtif his agency did not reconsider a wrong-headed decision to strip federal protections from grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We made good on that promise today.

Joined by our affiliate The Fund for Animals, The HSUS filed a complaint in the federal court for the District of Montana in Missoula. The complaint alleges multiple violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act – the latter a statute that provides a critical backstop to ensure that federal agency decisions are well-reasoned and that they properly evaluate scientific data.

Litigating this case in Missoula has special significance because it lies within the corridor connecting the two largest remaining grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). Before they were nearly wiped out in the early 20th century, grizzly bears numbered in the tens of thousands and roamed across much of the North American continent. ESA protections beginning in 1975 rescued grizzlies from the precipice of extinction. But the fact is that much work remains. The GYE population still numbers fewer than 700 grizzlies, fragmented populations are disconnected, and staple foods like whitebark pine nuts and cutthroat trout remain in sharp decline. Each of the last two years saw record numbers of bears poached, run over on highways, and killed by state agents in so-called “management actions” as the bears have been forced to range further and further outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in search of food.

There is clear scientific evidence to necessitate maintaining protections and continued federal monitoring for the grizzly bear population. But instead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has ignored expert data and conducted a tortured statutory analysis to turn over management of bears to states eager to align with the narrow interests of trophy hunters, ranchers, and other consumptive users of our nation’s shared natural resources. Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana have already begun the process of planning trophy-hunting seasons on bears, just as they have done after federal protections for the gray wolf were removed. Now, with federal protections eliminated for the Great Bear and hunting seasons looming, serious-minded scientists honestly wonder whether Yellowstone’s bears will ever again connect with populations in northern Montana and Idaho and establish a viable population of grizzly bears in the United States.

While the decision to strip protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears is rickety as a matter of law and science, it’s also wrong on economics and the values of America’s great majority of citizens. As I’ve argued in this context and others, grizzlies are more valuable alive than dead. They are responsible for bringing in tens of millions of dollars into local economies in and around the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The GYE states, acting through unelected and unaccountable game commissions, are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring the guides, photographers, hoteliers, and small business people whose livelihoods depend on live grizzlies. Recently, the newly elected government in British Columbia, relying largely on a concern for animal welfare and for the economic health of rural communities, pledged to bar the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the province by the end of November.

Delisting and trophy hunting this iconic species is more than just an attack on principles of conservation, science-based decision-making, indigenous rights, government accountability, and animal welfare. It’s an assault on one of America’s most iconic species, situated in America’s most storied ecological region. The HSUS is proud to stand with an enormous range of stakeholders to defend the grizzly bear.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/08/hsus-goes-federal-court-behalf-yellowstones-grizzly-bears.html?credit=blog_post_082417_idhome-page