Yukon outfitters want to know: will the B.C. grizzly bear trophy ban come north?

Big game outfitters in the Yukon are disappointed with a move to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears…

By Cheryl Kawaja, CBC News

…in British Columbia and hope a similar
ban is not adopted in the territory.

“It will probably put some pressure on the Yukon to start limiting the
grizzly hunt,” said Neil Cosco, an outfitter who guides clients north of

B.C.’s Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson said the ban, which comes
into effect at the end of November, is not about numbers but rather reflects
changing social norms.

About 250 grizzlies are killed annually by hunters in B.C., a number
Donaldson said is “sustainable” for the population estimated at 15,000
bears, but he said public opinion on the practice has turned.

‘Unfortunate political move’

Cosco calls it an unfortunate political move.

“Grizzly bears… become a political topic, so people look at grizzly bears
in isolation where it should be part of holistic game management, where if
you’re managing the prey species you need to manage the predators,” he said.

Outfitter Don Lind, who guides in central Yukon, also questions the B.C.

“I don’t see how a new government could get in there and assess the
situation and make a decision that rapidly, other than it’s a political

According to the Yukon Outfitters Association, about 80 grizzly bears are
hunted annually in the Yukon, and although it’s one of the more popular
species for visiting hunters, it comes after Dall sheep and moose.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson hopes the ban in B.C. on trophy hunting grizzly
bears will lead the territorial government to take a closer look at grizzly
bear management.

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson says the territorial government should look at
the Yukon grizzly hunting situation and how B.C.’s decision might affect the
territory. (CBC)

“My initial reaction is, what are we going to do in the Yukon?” Hanson said.

“The issue of how we treat our grizzly bear population is not something
that’s new here and my concern was – when I saw this ban in British Columbia
– that there would be increased pressure on big game outfitting by the big
game outfitting industry in the Yukon.”

“We don’t even know in the Yukon for sure how many grizzlies there are. If
you look at the government’s website they talk about maybe six or seven
thousand. They do say that there are some concerns,” she said.

Hanson wants to see the government step up research and make informed
decisions about the bear population.

“I would hope that they would now use this as a spur to work with the Fish
and Wildlife Management Board to get the data, and take action if necessary.
And, if that means that there is ultimately a ban, then maybe that’s where
we have to go,” she said.

Yukon Environment Minister Pauline Frost was unavailable for comment

But the department noted in a statement that it’s already working on a plan
“related to grizzly bear conservation and species management.”

It says that plan will provide “direction for addressing the range of values
and issues related to conservation and management, in this case for grizzly
bears, across Yukon.”


Investigation opened after decapitated bear found on Haida Gwaii beach


Another poached bear was discovered on the beach a month ago (WARNING: This story contains graphic imagery)

CBC News Posted: Aug 15, 2017 7:14 PM PT Last Updated: Aug 16, 2017 8:51 AM PT

A decapitated bear carcass was discovered on a beach near Sandspit this week.

A decapitated bear carcass was discovered on a beach near Sandspit this week. (Arlene Erlandson)

Conservation officers in Haida Gwaii are searching for the people responsible for killing and decapitating a black bear, then dumping it on a beach.

The headless carcass was discovered this week at the high tide line, just east of Sandspit, according to Sgt. Kyle Ackles of the Conservation Officer Service.

“The head was removed, but the rest of the bear was intact,” Ackles said. “My understanding is that it’d been there for a couple days.”

Photos of the decapitated bear have been posted on Facebook, prompting outrage from many commenters.

Decapitated bear

The bear was killed with a rifle shot. (Arlene Erlandson)

The bear was a large adult male, killed by a shot from a rifle. Ackles said he couldn’t be sure of the motive for the removal of the bear’s head, but he speculated that someone might have wanted to preserve the skull.

Ackles moved the carcass away from the community, so that it wouldn’t attract more hungry bears.

It’s not the first time in recent weeks that something like this has happened.

“About a month ago, I had another incident where a bear carcass was found on the beach. Nothing from that animal was harvested,” Ackles said.

In that case, the bear was washed away by the tide before it could be examined.

Ackles is asking anyone with information about either poaching incident to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277, pointing out that the service’s resources are spread thin on Haida Gwaii.

“I do really depend on the public to report suspicious activity,” he said.

With files from George Baker

BC SPCA applauds government move to end grizzly bear trophy hunt


August 15, 2017

The BC SPCA is applauding the provincial government’s move to end British Columbia’s grizzly bear trophy hunt.“During the fall months, government will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt,” the government release states.

Announced Monday by Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson and in a B.C. government release, the ban will take effect on Nov. 30 throughout British Columbia, after this year’s season.

“The decision to end grizzly bear trophy hunting is a big step in the right direction,” says BC SPCA chief scientific officer Dr. Sara Dubois.

“It demonstrates the change in people’s opinions about trophy hunting.”

The BC SPCA is opposed to the hunting of any animal for trophy or sport. Any hunting of large predators, like bears, has huge impacts on the entire ecosystem. There is great uncertainty in population numbers and more research is needed, Dubois notes.

Additionally, government will be moving forward with a broader consultation process on a renewed wildlife management strategy for the province.”

It is encouraging the provincial government is engaging in a consultation process, Dubois says.

“We’re hopeful it will be an open and collaborative process that keeps conservation and the humane treatment of animals at the forefront of any strategy or initiatives that are developed,” she says.

“We look forward to being part of the process and ensuring conservation practices represent the values of British Columbians.”

British Columbia Will Ban Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunting

Grizzly bear cubs follow their mother in British Columbia, Canada, in 2014. The province has banned trophy hunting of grizzlies beginning at the end of November.

Mick Thompson

In a win for conservationists and environmental groups, British Columbia says it will no longer allow the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in the Canadian province starting on Nov. 30.

The new policy blocks all hunting of grizzlies in the Great Bear Rainforest but still allows people to hunt them for food elsewhere in British Columbia.

Of the approximately 15,000 grizzlies in British Columbia, about 250 are killed by hunters annually, according to government figures.

Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Minister Doug Donaldson characterized that level of hunting as “sustainable” in an interview with the CBC.

However, he says the decision to end trophy hunting is “not a matter of numbers, it’s a matter of society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of the grizzly bear trophy hunt.”

This comes on the heels of an election win for the center-left New Democrat Party, beating the more conservative Liberal Party for the first time in 16 years. The NDP had promised to end trophy hunting during the campaign — which the Liberals had reinstated 16 years ago, according to the BBC.

The grizzly hunting season is opening in parts of the province in the next week, the CBC reports. According to the Toronto Star, many of the hunting permits had already been sold before the new government was formed.

The government has yet to spell out the mechanics of implementing the ban. Donaldson said in a statement that the government “will consult with First Nations and stakeholder groups to determine next steps and mechanisms as B.C. moves toward ending the trophy hunt.”

Environmental groups are delighted about the decision. For example, Joe Foy from the Wilderness Committee said that they believe some 4,000 bears have been killed during the past 16 years, and now they are commending the government of British Columbia “for ending this cruel and barbaric sport for good.”

But wildlife advocates are concerned that providing the option to hunt bears for food will create a loophole for trophy hunting to continue.

The Raincoast Conservation Foundation said that “to ensure a so-called food hunt and de-incentivize the killing of grizzlies, all trophy parts of the bear, such as the head, the hide and the paws, would have to be surrendered by hunters to provincial wildlife authorities.” The group added that “virtually no one hunts grizzlies for food.”

Donaldson told the CBC that bear parts that could be used as trophies would not be allowed to leave the province. “Hunters will no longer be able to possess the hide or the head or the paws of the grizzly bear.”

Hunting guides have criticized the decision.

The U.S. has seen several recent policy changes that roll back protections for bears. The Trump administration announced in June that it was removing the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the endangered species list, because the bears’ population has grown, as NPR’s Colin Dwyer reported.

And in March, lawmakers voted to roll back Obama-era hunting restrictions in wildlife refuges in Alaska, as Colin reported. Among other changes, it repealed a ban on baiting bears and wolves.

B.C. NDP government stopping contentious grizzly bear trophy hunt

s-in-b-c-s-chilcotin-region/> ‘Famous’ grizzly bear feared shot by hunters
in B.C.’s Chilcotin region

“By bringing trophy hunting of grizzlies to an end, we’re delivering on our
commitment to British Columbians,” Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural
Resource Operations Minister Doug Donaldson said in a release.

“This action is supported by the vast majority of people across our
province. In particular, we owe it to generations past and future to do all
we can to protect the beauty and uniqueness of the Great Bear Rainforest. We
believe the action we’re taking goes beyond the commitment to Coastal First
Nations made as part of the 2016 Great Bear Rainforest agreements.”

WATCH: ‘The Grizzly Truth’ documentary looks at controversial bear hunt in


Premier John Horgan made the pledge in November 2016 after a recent poll
found 90 per cent of British Columbians were opposed to the hunt, adding the
hunt didn’t make economic or environmental sense.

Another poll conducted by Insights West in late January found
zzly-bear-hunt-poll/> 74 per cent of voters in five rural ridings with
significant hunting traditions said they opposed the trophy hunting of
grizzly bears.

ing-grizzly-bear-to-enter-plea/> NHL defenceman accused of illegally
shooting grizzly bear to enter plea

The Ministry estimates there are 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C. and each year
about 250 are killed by hunters. While the trophy hunt will end, hunting for
meat will be allowed to continue.

Horgan’s pledge in 2016 was met with criticism by conservationists. Chris
Genovali from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation called it a “pretend to
eat the meat policy.”

Ian MacAllister of the group Pacific Wild, which has been fighting to end
the grizzly bear hunt for years, said at the time, Horgan’s plan is

“There’s clearly no way to enforce this. The only way they’d be able to do
that is to video-monitor a hunter as they ate their grizzly bear dinner, to
see if they did in fact consume the meat,” McAllister said.

The ministry said in the coming months Donaldson will be consulting with
First Nations and other stakeholders to figure out next steps.

The Commercial Bear Viewing Association (CBVA) said in a written statement
that it applauds the new policy and although they believe all grizzly bear
hunting is trophy hunting, will look forward to consulting with the B.C.
government about next steps.

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

~ with files from Global News


Griz with trap on foot still hasn’t been found

Humane Society, Wyoming Untrapped urge state investigation.

  • By Mike Koshmrl
  • Jun 21, 2017

A national animal rights organization has jumped into the fray of what to do about a grizzly bear that’s been spotted in Teton County with a Conibear-style trap clamped onto its front paw.

The Humane Society of the United States, fearing for the animal’s ability to forage and get around, has sent a letter formally asking federal and state wildlife managers for an investigation.

“We want them to locate the bear, anesthetize it, get the trap off and treat it,” Wendy Keefover, the society’s carnivore protection manager, said in an interview. “And then secondarily, we would like both agencies to investigate the trapping. Grizzly bears right now cannot be legally trapped, even inadvertently, under the Endangered Species Act.”

The grizzly in the grip of the steel spring-loaded trap was photographed May 31 on Togwotee Pass traversing a large snowfield.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department — a state agency that anticipates soon managing grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone region — dispatched biologists to locate the animal the day the report came in, large carnivore manager Dan Thompson said Monday. Search efforts are ongoing but have been unsuccessful so far, he said.

“Not including myself, at least three people have put in about 50 hours on the ground looking for this animal,” Thompson said. “And I’ve spent countless hours responding to email and phone call allegations that we haven’t been looking.”

Game and Fish personnel were unable to locate the bear’s tracks after the sighting, Thompson said. Capturing the bear in a culvert trap wasn’t a viable option, he said, because of its remote location and persistent snow.

Keefover worried that the bear would not be able to take the trap off on its own and could lose part of its paw, or get a sepsis infection and die.

“I know people whose dogs have got into Conibears, and they can’t open them with two hands and two feet,” she said. “So to presume a bear could get one off is not reasonable.”

Thompson had a different opinion.

“I think there’s a high likelihood that the bear has since removed that trap, because it was a smaller trap,” he said. “As strong as bears are, I would expect a grizzly to be able to remove it, I would think.”

The Jackson Hole group Wyoming Untrapped acquired a photo of the caught grizzly from Game and Fish using a public records request after the agency declined to release the image.

Reviewing the photograph the organization’s staff says that the trap connected to the bruin’s paw is a 220-style Conibear. It’s a device that is commonly used to trap raccoon, skunk, fisher, bobcat, lynx and similar-size furbearers, according to TrappingToday.com. It’s designed to grip animals tightly by the body and kill swiftly.

Lisa Robertson, Wyoming Untrapped’s founder, urged state managers to intensify their investigation.

“We ought to seek the source of this possibly illegal trap and treat it like we would poaching,” Robertson said. “Trapping incidents are mostly pushed under the radar. I think that’s why we were not notified — we just found out from a concerned citizen.”

Wyoming Untrapped plans to distribute fliers around Jackson notifying residents and visitors of the grizzly that may still be in a Conibear trap.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067, env@jhnewsandguide.com or @JHNGenviro.

States won’t rush approval of Yellowstone grizzly hunts

 June 22 at 6:29 PM

HELENA, Mont. — The Latest on removing Yellowstone region grizzly bears from federal protections (all times local):


4:15 p.m.

Wyoming, Montana and Idaho officials say they won’t declare open season on grizzly bears once federal Endangered Species Act protections are lifted for the bruins in the Yellowstone National Park region.

The three states that will take over jurisdiction of Yellowstone-area bears once federal protections are lifted this summer have submitted management plans that allow for limited hunting.

But state officials say there is no rush. Brian Nesvik of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Laurie Wolf of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks both say it’s unlikely any hunting will be allowed this year.

Nesvik says rules still must be developed, and Wolf says her agency is still focused on bear conservation.

Idaho officials also say it’s too early to discuss a possible hunting season.


1:30 p.m.

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is welcoming the delisting of grizzlies in Yellowstone and says the state is ready to start managing the bears.

Otter says Idaho has been on the forefront of Yellowstone grizzly bear recovery for many years and that the population has been recovered for more than decade.

He says officials in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Office of Species Conservation will review the final delisting before making any decisions about specifics.

State officials say it’s too early to discuss a possible grizzly bear hunting season in Idaho.

Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than 40 years.


12:45 p.m.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has praised the decision to take grizzlies in Yellowstone off the threatened species list, calling it long overdue.

Grizzlies have been protected under the Endangered Species Act for more than 40 years.

Mead says grizzly numbers have sufficiently recovered to justify removing the big bears from federal protection. He says he asked the Interior Department in 2013 to delist grizzly bears and is glad to see that finally happening.

The announcement means grizzlies in Wyoming outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will be under the control of state wildlife managers by late July.

State officials could decide to allow grizzlies to be hunted in limited numbers. Mead gave no guidance on when that decision might be made.


12:03 p.m.

U.S. government officials say grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park region are no longer threatened, and that they will lift protections that have been in place for more than 40 years.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Thursday that the recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzlies is one of the nation’s great conservation success stories.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July. The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.

The ruling does not affect threatened grizzlies living in other areas of northwestern Montana and northern Idaho.

Grizzlies have been listed as a threatened species since 1975 when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone.

There are now more than 700 grizzlies in the Yellowstone region.



On June 1, a pair of young grizzlies turned up at the mouth of Box Elder Creek, where it enters the south side of the Missouri River. That’s 12 miles northeast of Great Falls—and roughly where Pvt. Hugh McNeal, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, ran into a grizzly bear in July 1806, when the expedition passed through the area on its homeward journey.

Grizzlies getting closer to old Great Falls stomping grounds

CLOSE Grizzly bears are inching closer to Great Falls, Montana’s third largest city, where two centuries ago they…www.greatfallstribune.com

It’s just the natural expansion of a healthy, growing grizzly bear population that’s putting them in closer proximity to people, FWP’s [Mike] Madel said.

“I think these bears are searching for areas to develop new home ranges,” he said.

Historically, grizzly bears occupied grasslands like Great Falls all the way to the Mississippi River but they’ve been gone for more than 100 years.

In recent years, grizzly bears have been traveling river corridors like the Sun, Marias, Dearborn and Teton rivers east of the Rocky Mountain Front to the high plains.

The expansion onto the plains has come as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population of grizzly bears of northwestern and northcentral Montana continues to recover.

The population, currently listed as threatened, is more than 1,000 bears and growing at about 2 percent a year.


Grizzly on Togwotee is seen dragging trap

Wildlife managers are so far unable to locate the wounded animal.


A grizzly bear has been photographed on the loose near the top of Togwotee Pass with a Conibear-style furbearer trap clamped to its paw.

While it’s unknown how long the bruin has been hobbled by the steel contraption, a photograph of the bear was passed along to Wyoming Game and Fish on May 31.

Moran resident and videographer Jim Laybourn is one person who has viewed the image of the caught bear, having run into a Dubois couple shortly after they snapped the photo.

“It’s firmly attached, most of the way up its paw, and there’s no way that it’s going to get it off,” Laybourn said. “It’s really disgusting to think about that animal struggling with the trap. It’s going to be a tough existence.”

Dan Thompson, Game and Fish’s large carnivore supervisor, was more optimistic that the grizzly would be able to free itself.

“I think there’s a high likelihood that the bear has since removed that trap, because it was a smaller trap,” Thompson said. “As strong as bears are, I would expect a grizzly to be able to remove it, I would think.”

Game and Fish personnel are monitoring the situation “vigilantly,” he said, but they have not laid eyes on the animal. If it is located, the bear will be immobilized and the trap removed.

The Dubois residents who photographed and reported the trapped bear, rumored to be a boar, declined to be interviewed for this story when reached through their employers at Jackson Hole Airport.

The couple, Laybourn said, were shaken up.

“I could tell by their reaction that it was really emotional for them,” he said. “They felt horrible about that bear, and I imagine I would, too.”

The Conibear trap observed on the grizzly’s paw is a quick-kill device that typically is used to trap beavers, muskrats and pine marten — all species that are not in season in Wyoming. Trapping of species classified as predators, such as red fox and coyote, is allowed throughout the year.

Employees of Wyoming Untrapped, a group that advocates for trapping reform, said the incident is evidence of the need for trapping bans in grizzly country.

“It’s frustrating that an endangered species has been caught and now we can’t find it,” said Kristin Combs, Wyoming Untrapped’s program director.

“It’s an example of why trapping is so indiscriminate and doesn’t have a place in modern wildlife management,” she said. “Now there’s a poor grizzly bear out there with a trap on its paw.”


Bad news for Banff bears

Thursday, Jun 01, 2017 06:00 am

By: Cathy Ellis

Banff National Park’s wildlife staff had its hands full last weekend trying to keep people and bears safe, while also investigating a possible grizzly bear strike on the train tracks near Bow Valley Parkway.

A bold black bear that got into a bag of garbage at a backcountry campsite along Lake Minnewanka led to the evacuation of several people in the area and a closure along the lakeshore from Stewart Canyon to the Banff National Park boundary.

Wildlife managers were also called to downtown Banff after grizzly bear 136, a 553-pound male bear nicknamed Split Lip for a scar that led to a disfigured lip, attempted to take a stroll across the Bow River pedestrian bridge, Friday (May 26).

Canadian Pacific Railway train crews then reported a westbound freight train may have struck a grizzly bear on the tracks west of Muleshoe about 6:45 a.m. Sunday (May 28) – an area scientists refer to as “a killing field” for grizzly bears.

Bill Hunt, Parks Canada’s resource conservation manager for Banff National Park, said Parks is currently waiting to look at CP’s footage from a camera mounted on the train.

“Staff attended the site and weren’t able to locate anything yet … nothing at all,” said Hunt, noting they are heading back to the area to do a more fine-scale search.

“Hopefully we’ll get some footage, although sometimes it doesn’t tell us much. The bear can disappear from view.”

Grizzly bears are a threatened species in Alberta and trains are the single biggest killers of grizzly bears here, with at least 17 bears killed on the tracks since 2000, taking a toll on the slow-reproducing population of about 60 bears.

Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for CP, said no evidence has been found so far of a bear being hit.

“We continue to investigate with Parks,” she wrote in an email.

Meanwhile, a closure is in place in the Lake Minnewanka area after an unmarked black bear got into garbage at Mount Costigan campground (Lm20), 18.8 kilometres along the lake.

The closure now includes the Minnewanka lakeshore trail from Stewart Canyon to the Banff National Park boundary, including Aylmer Pass trail. All backcountry campgrounds are closed, including Lm8, Lm9, Lm11, Lm20, Lm22 and Lm31.

Hunt said a group of about 10 people was packing up to leave Lm20 campground on Saturday (May 27) morning when the bear came into the campsite and rummaged through a bag of garbage.

“It’s unusual for a bear to come in with a group this large. They were hollering and yelling and backed off and maintained distance from the bear, but the bear came right in,” he said.

“It wasn’t super aggressive and did not bluff charge or anything like that. They were packing up to head out. It was a difficult situation and, unfortunately, the bear got a food reward.”

The campers, who did have bear spray, flagged down a passing boat, which took them back to the Lake Minnewanka day use area where they were able to call Parks staff to let them know what happened.

Resource conservation officers scoured the area for any sign of the black bear, but were unable to locate it. It was described as a cinnamon coloured bear with a unique dark pattern down its front.

Hunt said they did, however, spot one black bear with a cub and a grizzly bear with cubs in the region.

“We cleared out everyone along the lakeshore, and all the backcountry campsites,” said Hunt, noting boat tour operators on Lake Minnewanka helped in getting people back to the day use area.

Hunt said Parks Canada has ramped up patrols in day use areas at Lake Minnewanka and nearby Two Jack Lake, educating people about the need to keep food secured and put away if they are not at their picnic sites.

“If a bear has gotten a food reward it’s more likely to want more,” he said.

Grizzly bear 136, thought to be about 12 years old, caused some anxious moments when he tried to cross the pedestrian bridge in the Banff townsite on Friday about 8:45 a.m.

Hunt said he showed up on the south side of the pedestrian bridge, but staff were able to haze him back the way he came and move him slowly westward under the vehicle bridge and out behind the horse corrals.

“Certainly he’s a big male bear and he doesn’t worry too much about anything,” he said. “He was fairly reluctant to be hazed.”

Bear 136 has an interesting history.

He possibly killed, but definitely ate, a black bear in the remote Mystic Pass area of Banff in 2015. In 2014, it was suspected he killed cubs belonging to bear 130, whose home range includes an area from Banff to Castle Mountain, as well as bear 138 in the Lake Louise and Skoki region.

That same year, 136 and the Bow Valley’s dominant male bear, known as 122 and nicknamed The Boss, also forced temporary closure of Vermilion Lakes Road during breeding season. Because the two big bears were on the road – which was busy with vehicles, bikers and hikers – at the same time, Parks Canada didn’t want anyone in the vicinity if they got into a fight over a female bear.

Split Lip also caused some anxious moments last August. While he wasn’t aggressive, he wasn’t interested in moving away and continued to move along the trail at Johnston Canyon despite about 20 hikers heading in his direction.

After he was hazed out of the Banff townsite last Friday, he was later captured in a bear trap intended for female bear 148 sometime Sunday evening. Parks took the opportunity to put a GPS collar on him.

“Because of his history and his recent foray into town, it makes sense we have a collar on him,” said Hunt.