Everett Skunkcap, of Browning, showed no apparent remorse for allegedly shooting three grizzly bears Aug. 6, reportedly telling Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife investigators that last year he shot another grizzly bear and if “any grizzlies were on his property he would shoot them again,” according to the probable cause affidavit filed in the case Nov. 5. “Skunkcap was instructed to call the (Fish and Wildlife) office if there were bear management issues” but “Skunkcap responded that he would just shoot them anyway.”
Grizzly bears are a federally protected species, listed as threatened.
Investigators reported that one of the bears, a female, was approximately 17 years old and the other two were about a year and a half old.
Skunkcap took an investigator to the site where he allegedly shot the bears and said he shot the “mother grizzly” first and then shot one of the young bears. The third bear, he said, ran after he shot the first two but returned an hour later and “stood over the two dead grizzlies.” Skunkcap told the investigator that he “figured this grizzly was going to ‘raise hell’ later that night” so he “’might as well do away with it as well.”
Skunkcap told investigators he was alerted to the bears by his dogs at around 10 a.m. and when he spotted them they were walking in the direction of his three grandchildren. He said the bears were about 300 feet from the children. He said the bears were not running and his grandchildren ran into the house. “Skunkcap admitted that all the kids were in the house when he shot the third grizzly.”
Skunkcap reportedly asked if he would get the grizzlies back following the investigation as he wanted to “tan them and put them up on the wall … as a souvenir of what he did.”
Skunkcap was charged with three counts of unlawful taking of a threatened species, each count punishable by up to six months in prison and a maximum $25,000 fine.
By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald
Richard Cross was killed by a grizzly bear in Kananaskis Country on the weekend. Officials have decided against destroying the bear responsible for his death, ruling it a defensive attack.
Photograph by: Facebook photo , Calgary Herald
A grizzly bear that killed a sheep hunter in Kananaskis Country on the weekend will be left in the area with her cub, after it was ruled a defensive attack.
On the weekend, Calgarian Rick Cross was walking alone along the Picklejar Creek trail when he was attacked and killed by the bear.
“It was definitely a defensive attack, not a predatory one,” said Glenn Naylor, district conservation officer with Kananaskis Country. “That was the main decision-making factor, but we have to look at all of the evidence and all possible scenarios first.
“The evidence clearly points to the fact that he out of the blue encountered this situation and the chain of events that happened pretty quickly.”
Cross was hunting for big horn sheep Saturday, but didn’t return home that night as expected. His family reported him missing to police Sunday morning and a search began immediately.
Officers found his backpack and rifle Sunday, but had to call off the search as darkness fell and bears were still in the area. They found his remains not far from his belongings a day later.
Naylor said the evidence shows that the bear responded defensively, both because of its cub and a freshly killed deer carcass in the area.
“It attacked Mr. Cross and the result was tragic. He was killed,” he said. “After he was no longer a threat, the bear left him alone. He wasn’t touched again.”
That led biologists with both Alberta Parks and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to rule it a defensive attack.
“That was the conclusion that was arrived at by everyone,” he said, noting other options would have been to capture and relocate the bear, or destroy it.
Naylor said provincial officials have met with the Cross family about their decision to leave it alone.
“They were appreciative of all of our efforts,” he said. “They had no problem with the result.”
Kim Titchener, program director at Bow Valley WildSmart, said it’s the decision she expected.
“They have a great reputation for doing what’s right for wildlife and what’s right for public safety,” she said. “That bear isn’t a threat. She was doing what bears do.”
The Picklejar area will remain closed until the bear and her cub are finished feeding on the deer carcass.
August 21, 2014
Contact: Noah Greenwald,
One Month After Center Files Petition to Expand Grizzly Bear Recovery Feds Take Action
WASHINGTON— The National Park Service this week took an important step toward recovering grizzly bears in the North Cascades in Washington state. The agency says it is beginning a three-year process to analyze options for boosting grizzly bear populations in the area, including the possibility of translocating bears and developing a viable population.
“We’re happy to see the Park Service begin the long-overdue conversation about bringing grizzly bears back to the North Cascades,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Grizzlies have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat in the lower 48 states so we welcome any step that brings them closer to returning to some of their ancestral homes.”
In June, the Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin returning grizzly bears to vast swaths of the American West. The petition identified more than 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly bear habitat, including parts of Washington, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
Today, there are roughly 1,500-1,800 grizzly bears in the continental United States, most of them in and around Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. The grizzly populations remain separated from each other, which impedes genetic exchange and limits their ability to expand into new areas.
The Northern Cascades ecosystem includes about 9,800 square miles in the United States and 3,800 square miles in Canada. A grizzly bear has not been spotted on the U.S. side since 2010.
“The Northern Cascades has the potential to host a viable grizzly bear population,” Greenwald said. “The same could be said for many spots scattered throughout the West. If grizzly bears are ultimately going to have a thriving, healthy population no longer threatened by extinction, they’ve got to be given a chance to return to some of the places they were driven out of years ago.”
The Park Service says it will develop its “environmental impact statement” for grizzly bears in the North Cascades in conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
LAURA LUNDQUIST, Chronicle Staff Writer The Bozeman Daily Chronicle | 2 Comments
Wardens killed a male grizzly bear Sunday in another livestock-related incident along Montana’s southwestern border.
Workers had reported the death of cattle on a ranch that is part of Idaho’s Harriman State Park west of Island Park Reservoir and Yellowstone National Park and just south of the Montana border.
Idaho Fish & Game spokesman Gregg Losinski, who also works with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, said the cattle depredations had been ongoing, and it appeared that a bear was responsible.
So IFG contacted U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services employees who snared and killed the bear, which turned out to be a male approximately 9 years old.
Losinski said the bear was eliminated because it had learned to prey preferentially on livestock.
This is the fourth grizzly bear that Wildlife Services has killed this year because of cattle depredation. Two others were killed in Wyoming, and one was killed in May near Tom Miner Creek north of Gardiner, according to data gathered by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.
Ten grizzly bear deaths have been recorded this year, with three being natural and four human-caused that are under investigation.
But that’s fewer deaths by this time of year than in 2013. By August of that year, 14 bears had died, eight of which were killed for preying on livestock.
“We’re happy that fewer bears have been killed due to depredation this year,” Losinski said. “Now we’re getting ready for hunting season, which is another time when bears are killed because of run-ins with hunters.”
In 2013, hunters were responsible for four of the 29 total grizzly bear deaths.
Grizzly bears are still protected by the Endangered Species Act and killing one without authorization is illegal.
By Colette Derworiz, Calgary Herald
It’s been another challenging couple of weeks for bears in the Rockies.
In the past week, wildlife officials confirmed grizzly No. 138 lost her second cub. A tagged grizzly bear, No. 144, was spending time in Harvie Heights, a community on the boundary with Banff National Park.
And two black bears were hit on the highways in the national parks on the weekend, but it’s unknown whether either bear survived.
“It’s been a really tough year for roadside bears,” said Brianna Burley, human/wildlife conflict specialist with Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
So far, there have been 15 black bears hit on the highways — with at least seven of those bears dying from their injuries. An eighth black bear was hit and killed on the railway tracks.
In late July, a grizzly bear was also struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 93 N.
The bear, No. 149, was struck around Hector viewpoint on July 21, but was only found a few days later after a mortality signal on its GPS collar went off.
“It looked like it had died from the impact,” said Burley, noting it was a young male bear they had been keeping a close eye on since the July long weekend when they kept it safe from traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway. “It’s so disappointing.”
Similarly, wildlife officials were disappointed to see that No. 138 — a female bear who emerged from her den around the Lake Louise ski hill — was without either of her two cubs late last week when she showed up near the townsite.
She had lost one of her cubs in mid-July due to predation. It’s believed a similar fate struck the second cub.
“We have our assumptions again that she got tangled up with the big males,” said Burley. “We’re not totally sure what happened.”
Another tagged bear from Banff National Park, No. 144, kept wildlife officials busy as it ate berries around the community of Harvie Heights, just outside of the national park boundary.
Provincial officials said the three-and-a-half year old male started making its way back west on Tuesday morning.
“He packed up his bags and moved to Banff,” said Dave Dickson, a Fish and Wildlife officer in Canmore.
Bear biologist Jay Honeyman said they will continue to monitor the bear with their counterparts within Banff National Park.
“We don’t want him in the residential area,” he said, noting they were able to haze the bear out of the area.
All of the collared bears are part of a joint project between Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific to come up with ways to reduce grizzly bear mortalities.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Having B.C.’s tourism minister put forth the notion that the proliferation of oilsands pipelines and oil tankers, along with the escalation of a host of other industrial-scale resource extraction activities, would somehow be compatible with a robust tourism industry based on the natural beauty of the province is dubious. But for Yamamoto to suggest that bear viewing is compatible with the trophy-killing of bears, and then disproportionately claim that the grizzly hunt is a chief economic driver for the province, is inexplicably out of touch.
Contrary to Yamamoto’s assertions, there is no ecological, ethical or economic justification for continuing to trophy-kill B.C.’s grizzly bears.
The ecological argument is clear — killing bears for “management” purposes is unnecessary and scientifically unsound. Although attempts are made to dress up B.C.’s motivations in the trappings of “sound science,” the province is clearly driven by an anachronistic ideology that is disconcertingly fixated on killing as a legitimate and necessary tool of wildlife management.
Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation, large carnivore expert and co-author of a 2013 published peer-reviewed paper on B.C. bear management, states: “We analyzed only some of the uncertainty associated with grizzly management and found it was likely contributing to widespread overkills. I’m not sure how the government defines sound science, but an approach that carelessly leads to widespread overkills is less than scientifically credible.”
The ethical argument is clear — gratuitous killing for recreation is unacceptable and immoral. Polling shows that nine out of 10 British Columbians agree, from rural residents (including many hunters) to city dwellers.
In their 2009 publication The Ethics of Hunting, Michael Nelson and Kelly Millenbah state that if wildlife managers began “to take philosophy and ethics more seriously, both as a realm of expertise that can be acquired and as a critical dimension of wildlife conservation, many elements of wildlife conservation and management would look different.”
During her Saltspring appearance, Yamamoto attempted to downplay widespread public concern about the grizzly hunt by stating: “it’s not like a bear gets killed every day.”
Given that an average of 300 grizzlies and 3,900 black bears (according to the B.C. Wildlife Federation) are killed for trophies in B.C. annually, the minister’s statement is not only flippant, but callous to the disturbing amount of carnage inflicted on bears in this province every year for the most trivial of reasons — recreational trophy hunting.
The economic argument is clear — recent research by the Centre for Responsible Travel at Stanford University says that bear-viewing supports 10 times more employment, tourist spending and government revenue than trophy hunting in B.C.’s vast Great Bear Rainforest.
Notably, the CREST Stanford study suggests the revenue generated by fees and licences affiliated with the trophy killing of grizzlies fails to cover the cost of the province’s management of the hunt. As a result, B.C. taxpayers, most of whom oppose the hunt according to poll after poll, are in essence being forced to subsidize the trophy killing of grizzlies.
For Yamamoto to suggest that banning the grizzly bear hunt would jeopardize the province’s ability to “generate the extra revenue to pay for health care, education and all those things that people are demanding” is astoundingly off-base.
The 2014 CREST Stanford study reaffirms what Coastal First Nations, the eco-tourism industry and conservation groups like Raincoast have been pointing out for years — keeping grizzly bears alive generates significantly greater economic benefits than killing them via trophy hunting.
In 2003, Raincoast and the Centre for Integral Economics released the report Crossroads: Economics, Policy, and the Future of Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, which compared revenues generated by grizzly viewing versus grizzly hunting.
Even more than a decade ago, when the bear-viewing sector of the ecotourism industry was in its nascent stage, viewing grizzlies was bringing in about twice the annual revenue as grizzly hunting.
Our analysis showed that in the long term, it makes more economic sense to shoot grizzly bears with cameras than to shoot them with guns. Over the course of a grizzly’s life, the bear can be viewed and photographed hundreds of times, generating tremendous economic wealth for B.C.
However, a grizzly bear can only be shot and killed once.
Chris Genovali is executive director of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation.
People come to BC to hunt the grizzly bears on the estuaries where they are feeding, this is not sport. They shoot the eating bears from boats, take a paw or two and the head and leave the rest to rot on the estuary. Grizzly bears are already threatened in BC. The First nations People are against this hunt, the majority of the people in the province are against this hunt but the BC Liberal Government headed by Christie Clarke refuses to deal with the issue. The Guide and Outfitters Association of BC, the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Canadian Wildlife Federation are in fact powerful pro-hunting political lobby groups. The government of BC & Ms Clark is afraid to stand up to them because the Liberal Party will lose much needed cash in the form of political donations from these organizations. The solution is to get as many names as possible and contact the Premier of the Province of BC and demand that she stop the Grizzly Bear Hunt.
FERNDALE- Wardens are looking for information that could help them track down whoever killed three young grizzlies in the north end of the Swan Valley.
Agents with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the bears were killed in the Ferndale area.
Because the investigation is ongoing, authorities aren’t giving out more details about exactly where the bears were found or how they were killed.
FWP and USFWS are hoping to hear from anyone that may help them track down the poachers. Anyone with information can contact 1-800-TIP-MONT begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-TIP-MONT FREE end_of_the_skype_highlighting . Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
Authorities say a Stevensville man attacked by a grizzly bear is in stable but serious condition.
The man, whose name has not been released, remains hospitalized in Seattle with non-life-threatening injuries, said Andrea Jones, information and education manager with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Bozeman.
The 47-year-old man was hunting in the CentennialValley with his father on Sunday when he was mauled by a 10-year-old male grizzly. A crew of wildlife officials found the bear dead of a gunshot wound.
The hunter’s father reported hearing a gunshot just before finding his son with serious injuries. An investigation into the incident remains active.
On Monday, a team of officials, including a bear specialist, game wardens and people with the Forest Service to the remote area where the attack occurred. The Stevensville man and his father were hunting black bear in the Fish Creek Lake area in extreme southwestern Montana when the attack happened. Jones said the mauling happened five miles from their campsite in rugged terrain.
Once stabilized, the man was eventually flown to Seattle.