Delisted grizzlies being reviewed

  • By Mike Koshmrl Jackson Hole Daily

Federal wildlife managers are looking into whether a court ruling jeopardizes the legality of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho’s oversight of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

The review of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s grizzlies traces to a July court ruling that found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in not assessing how “delisting” Great Lakes states’ wolves affects the canines in the rest of their historic range.

The agency took the same approach when it revoked Endangered Species Act protections for grizzlies this summer, delisting an isolated cluster of about 700 bears called a “distinct population segment.” But the bureaucrats did not have the luxury of reviewing the appeals court’s opinion, which kept wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan under federal control.

“What happened is we put the [grizzly] rule out on June 30th, and then the opinion came out about a week later,” said Hilary Cooley, Fish and Wildlife’s grizzly bear recovery coordinator.

“We had not received that opinion,” she said, “so this is new information for us that we need to consider. We’re taking a close look at it.”

The public is being asked to weigh in, with comments due by Jan. 5.

The process does not mean the final grizzly delisting rule is being opened again, Cooley said.

“I want to be clear: The rule is final, and it stands, and bears are delisted,” she said. “To say any more right now is pretty premature.”

Fish and Wildlife plans to make a decision on the matter by March 31. It’s unlikely the outcome would flip management of the region’s bears back to the federal agency.

“I don’t anticipate remanding the rule,” Cooley said.

Wildlife activists view the review as a dodge from complying with legal precedent.

“It seems like a pretty lame attempt to fix some fatal flaws that the Fish and Wildlife Service is now acknowledging exist in that rule,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney in Victor, Idaho. “The fact is that they’re taking this unprecedented step of collecting public comment on a rule that’s already issued.”

Independent of the Fish and Wildlife review, the courts will also determine whether the Yellowstone grizzly rule jibes with the law. Environmental activists, Native American tribes and other parties filed at least six lawsuits after grizzlies became a state-managed species, and the complaints weren’t filed until after the wolf ruling was issued.

Fish and Wildlife initiated the public review “in part” to cover its legal bases, Cooley said.

“The lawsuit’s key on this issue, and it’s information we did not have when we put the rule out,” she said. “But it’s also due diligence.”

The court that decided the Great Lakes wolves case found that Fish and Wildlife improperly “brushed off” the substantial loss of wolves’ historical range as “irrelevant to the species’ endangered or threatened status.” But the panel of judges did find that the general approach of delisting an isolated population complied with federal law. The analysis and execution, they found, is what was illegal.

The 515-page delisting rule for Yellowstone grizzlies mentions the Northern Continental Divide population — in the nearest grizzly recovery area, approximately 70 miles away — 48 times. The smaller and more distant Cabinet/Yaak, Selkirk and North Cascades populations are mentioned between six and eight times each. Federal managers and the courts will soon decide whether the analysis behind those numbers does the job. 

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‘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.”

NRA, hunting group say grizzly bear hunts needed for safety

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/nra-hunting-group-grizzly-bear-hunts-needed-safety-51380004

PHOTO: This undated file photo provided by the National Park Service shows a grizzly bear walking along a ridge in Montana. National Park Service via AP, FILE
This undated file photo provided by the National Park Service shows a grizzly bear walking along a ridge in Montana.

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The National Rifle Association and a sport hunting group want to ensure their members can hunt grizzly bears in the three-state region around Yellowstone National Park after the animals lost U.S. protections.

Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are considering limited trophy hunts for grizzlies outside the park in future years after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revoked the species’ threatened status in July.

Conservation groups have sued to restore protections, and now the NRA and Safari Club International have asked U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to let them intervene in the case.

Several of the groups’ members said in affidavits submitted by their attorneys that hunting would help the region’s economy, allow states to better manage the animals and improve public safety.

“Having the ability to hunt grizzlies would be great for business. I would also personally hunt a grizzly if given an opportunity to do so,” said Edwin Johnson, a 70-year-old hunting outfitter who lives in Gardiner, Montana. “They need to be hunted so that they fear the scent of humans, rather than following it as they do now.”

An estimated 700 bears live in and around Yellowstone National Park. Attacks on humans have increased since the animals rebounded from widespread extermination in the last century.

At least six lawsuits to restore protections for grizzlies are pending in Montana and Illinois, although most are expected to be consolidated into a single case in coming months.

An attorney for environmentalists in one of the Montana cases said no decision has been made on whether to fight the attempt by the NRA and Safari Club to intervene.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to stop trophy hunting of grizzly bears leaving Yellowstone National Park,” said Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center, who is representing WildEarth Guardians.

———

TRUMP OFFICIALS JUST PROVIDED ‘A GIFT TO TROPHY HUNTING’ IN THE FORM OF YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY BEARS

http://www.newsweek.com/yellowstone-grizzly-bear-trump-hunting-628432?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=right&utm_medium=related2

grizzly bear
A grizzly bear roams through the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on May 18, 2014. Conservation groups have slammed the decision to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act.JIM URQUHART/REUTERS

The decision by President Donald Trump’s administration to remove the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of endangered species has been called “a gift to trophy hunting” by conservation groups.

Related: Killing of famed Yellowstone grizzly intensifies protection debate

The bear has enjoyed protected status for 42 years, during which time its numbers grew to more than 700 from just 136. On Thursday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said it is now time to call the operation a success and to remove the bear from the Endangered Species Act, instead allowing states to take control over its future.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Zinke said in a statement. “As a Montanan, I am proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

The move, which was first proposed by the previous administration of President Barack Obama last year, will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the federal register. At least immediately, it will not lead to open season on grizzly bear hunting. As well as being restricted to the bears that travel outside of the park’s boundaries, hunts will only be allowed if the number of bears remains above 600.

However, many conservationists argue that Thursday’s decision adds yet another threat to the future survival of the bears, whose habitat they say is already endangered by climate change.

“The Trump Administration’s delisting maneuver is a gift to trophy hunting and oil and gas interests,” Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, tells Newsweek in an email. “The bears continue to face an array of threats, and the last thing they need are wealthy elites chasing them down and shooting them for trophies.”

The action will not affect the nearly 1,000 grizzlies inhabiting Glacier National Park in Montana. But experts have said protections for those bears could soon similarly be removed, according to The New York Times.

Prior to the 1850s and the onset of widespread hunting and trapping, grizzly bears across North America numbered around 50,000. And some conservationists have argued that placing their conservation back in the hands of states, which can use hunting as a form of population control, is an unnecessary risk. Indeed, Tim Preso, an attorney for environmental law firm Earthjustice, has said that legal action to prevent the change is already being considered.

“We’re certainly prepared to take a stand to protect the grizzly, if necessary,” he told the Associated Press. “There’s only one Yellowstone. There’s only one place like this. We ought not to take an unjustified gamble with an iconic species of this region.”

In addition to conservation groups, the move has also been opposed by Native American tribes, for whom the grizzly bear is a sacred animal. A treaty opposing hunting of the bear has been signed by 125 tribes.

Zinke, a former senator from Montana, has a lifetime score of just 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters, with the group indicating that of 73 votes on bills with environmental impact, only three were pro-environment.

Trump’s two sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, are known to be fond of big-game hunting and have previously attracted criticism for posing for photos alongside dead animals, including a leopard and an elephant.

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature

Grizzly roadmap: Studies show grizzlies finding their way around people

http://missoulian.com/news/local/grizzly-roadmap-studies-show-grizzlies-finding-their-way-around-people/article_265135ca-15b5-5e28-bc2a-bde1e15935c4.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

Grizzly bear management has evolved from growing populations to moving them around. And a couple of new reports give mixed signals about how the keystone predators travel.

In the United States, evidence has grown that grizzlies have almost bridged the gap between the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem north of Missoula and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem south of Bozeman. But a British Columbia study released this month raises doubts about the condition of its much larger bear population.

Grizzly movement matters because the rare and federally protected animals must avoid inbreeding for their populations to remain healthy.

Critics of taking Greater Yellowstone grizzlies off the endangered species list say that the recovery area lacks connectivity to other bears, and so risks genetic decay.

The U.S. Interior Department proposed turning Greater Yellowstone grizzlies over to state management in July, and is developing rules for similar delisting of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population within a year.

Montana researchers Cecily Costello of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Frank van Manen of the U.S. Geological Survey published a report on possible grizzly pathways out of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the journal Ecosphere. Their work lends hope that the genetically isolated population around Yellowstone National Park may soon get a breeding boost as northern bears shake their family tree.

“There were routes that were not obvious before we started, and a lot more alternatives than we thought initially,” van Manen said.

Some bears leave the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex via the short but precarious path around Helena through the Big Belt Mountains toward Bozeman and relative security north of Yellowstone. Others loop around Butte to approach Yellowstone from the west.

One counter-intuitive result van Manen observed was that the heavily used routes weren’t necessarily the best ones.

“The concentration isn’t because that’s the great habitat,” van Manen said. “It’s because there’s not a lot of great places to go. Those are pinch-points.”

Knowing that allows land managers and bear advocates to do two things. One is to make sure those pinch-points don’t become too hazardous for grizzlies, such as providing wildlife crossings at freeways.

The other is to protect the qualities of the more dispersed routes.

“Those (dispersed routes) have really good, secure habitat like the Beaverhead and Bitterroot mountains that are already well-protected with little human influence,” van Manen said. “That might make those routes more effective in the long run. We shouldn’t just focus on the ones with highest concentration.”

At least 21 grizzly bears have been tracked moving between the two recovery areas. Almost all have been males. Female bears are much less likely to cross highways or human settlements, the authors noted.

“Our analyses placed much greater emphasis on potential paths following the Rattlesnake, Garnet, John Long, Flint Creek, Anaconda, Pioneer and Highland Mountains,” the authors wrote. “The Tobacco Root Mountains may be a particularly pivotal stepping stone, as many different paths converged on this mountain range.”

***

Three smaller recovery areas in the Cabinet-Yaak, Selkirk and North Cascades mountains of Montana, Idaho and Washington also depend on the movement of grizzly bears. Pathways there cross the international border between the United States and Canada, where British Columbia has a much larger grizzly population.

Last week British Columbia Auditor General Carol Bellringer warned that supply of grizzlies may be at risk as well.

The southeast corner of the province bordering Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park holds B.C.’s greatest concentration of grizzlies. That zone is also the only portion of the B.C.-U.S. border open to grizzly hunting. But three of the four zones just to the west, bordering the small Cabinet-Yaak, Selkirk and North Cascade U.S. recovery zones, were considered threatened populations by the Canadians.

+2 

British Columbia grizzly bear population units
British Columbia Auditor General

British Columbia has slightly more than twice Montana’s area and more than four times its population, although about 2.6 million of the province’s 4.6 million people live in the greater Vancouver area north of Seattle.

It also has more than 10 times the grizzly bears: an estimated 15,000 compared to the 1,500 to 1,800 estimated in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes Idaho and Wyoming. Alberta had about 580 grizzlies, including about 140 in the region between Waterton Lakes National Park and Banff.

Grizzlies can be hunted in British Columbia, but Bellringer said that was less a threat to their management than loss of habitat.

“The expansion of development in oil and gas, forestry and human settlement makes it more difficult for grizzly bears to mate, and results in food source loss, as well as more human-bear conflict,” Bellringer wrote. “An increase in resource roads — 600,000 kilometers (100,000 miles) existing and more added every year — also leads to more human-bear conflict, and ultimately, grizzly bear deaths.”

British Columbia charges residents $80 for a license to hunt during its grizzly season, while nonresidents pay $1,030. Grizzly hunting brings about $6 million to $7.6 million to the provincial economy. Commercial bear viewing in just one part of the province, the Great Bear Rainforest, was worth $15 million in 2012, according to the auditor’s report.

While sales of resident hunting licenses have stayed steady at around 300 a year, nonresident sales have spiked. They grew from about 800 in 2000 to 1,700 in 2016. The audit did not separate Canadian and foreign purchases in the nonresident category.

The possibility of U.S. states offering grizzly hunting seasons has been a major controversy in the delisting debate. But van Manen noted that the Canadians were borrowing many of the same steps Americans have used in the Endangered Species Act recovery process to maintain their bear populations.

“We’ve certainly been fortunate we have a strong piece of legislation like the ESA,” van Manen said. “Roads are key. Keeping road density below certain thresholds is key to effective grizzly bear conservation.

“In the Yellowstone, that’s accomplished by setting standards for secure habitat that are at the same levels as 1998 or below. The same thing is happening with the NCDE (Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem) conservation strategy. That guarantees that in the core of the ecosystem, the road densities and motorized access will really not change.”

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.

Opinion: Only ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure the slaughter ends

Opinion: Only ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure the slaughter ends

Grizzly bear No. 122 feeds on a moose carcass in 2013.

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Last month, a hunter shot and killed a female grizzly bear after she wandered from Alberta into neighbouring B.C., where grizzly trophy hunting is still legal. Bear 148 was moved in July from the Bow Valley just outside Banff National Park to Kakwa Wildland Park, closer to the B.C.-Alberta border. According to the B.C. Conservation Service, the hunter who shot Bear 148 was well aware that the bear was wearing a research tracking collar but killed it anyway, which isn’t illegal.

Bear 148 wasn’t the first grizzly from a neighbouring jurisdiction to be killed by hunters after entering B.C. In 2014, a hunter near Golden legally killed Bear 125, which was part of a monitoring program in Banff National Park, after it travelled from the Upper Bow Valley in Alberta across the continental divide to B.C.’s Upper Blaeberry Valley. As with Bear 148, killing Bear 125 in B.C. was legal, even though both bears came from a highly threatened population in and around Banff National Park. Alberta banned grizzly-bear hunting in 2006, but in B.C., resident and foreign hunters legally kill about 300 grizzlies every year.

That hunters in B.C. can kill bears from Alberta, or other neighbouring jurisdictions like Montana, after they step to the other side of the border reveals how ineffectual our wildlife policies are for species that roam across vast areas of territory. Grizzlies don’t recognize political borders. They have huge ranges that extend well outside parks and protected areas. This puts them at great risk of encountering not just hunters but other threats, such as confrontations with people at townsites or workers’ camps in remote areas.

Polls show that most B.C. residents oppose trophy hunting of grizzlies. And many First Nations have banned the practice in their territories. The trophy hunt was even a major issue in the recent B.C. election. Now in government, the NDP has announced a plan to end all grizzly hunting in B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, but to allow a regulated “food hunt” of grizzly bears in place of the trophy hunt elsewhere.

A food hunt wouldn’t prevent the killing of “protected” transboundary grizzlies. Although no one legitimately hunts grizzlies for meat, such a policy has a built-in loophole that would allow recreational hunters to kill grizzlies as long as they surrender the animal’s head, pelt, claws, teeth and other “trophy” items to a government official and/or remove the meat from the carcass and pack it out. These proposed changes to hunting regulations are semantics. Grizzly bears will continue to suffer pain and deaths at the hands of hunters, regardless of whether hunters hand the head, pelt, paws, teeth and claws to a government bureaucrat after killing the animal, or keep them to be stuffed and mounted on a wall or made into a rug. We remain concerned that recreational hunters could continue to kill grizzlies under the guise of food hunting.

Grizzlies have already lost over half of their historical range in North America because of habitat loss and earlier periods of over-hunting. South of the border, the Trump administration has removed protection under the Endangered Species Act for a threatened grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Region, and several U.S. states have begun the process to allow grizzly-bear hunting again.

We commend the B.C. government’s commitment to stop grizzly hunting throughout the Great Bear Rainforest, as it will finally ensure that the iconic namesake of this vast coastal region will be fully protected. And while we appreciate the B.C. government’s desire to end grizzly-bear trophy hunting throughout the province, the proposed food-hunt policy fails to address significant conservation and ethical problems with the grizzly hunt. Only a ban on all grizzly hunting will ensure that the slaughter ends.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Faisal Moola is the foundation’s director general for Ontario and northern Canada. Chris Genovali is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.