The grisly truth about B.C.’s grizzly trophy hunt

http://theprovince.com/author/david-suzuki

by David Suzuki

Grizzly bears venturing from dens in search of food this spring will face landscapes dominated by mines, roads, pipelines, clearcuts and ever-expanding towns and cities. As in years past, they will also face the possibility of painful death at the hands of trophy hunters.

B.C.’s spring bear hunt just opened. Hunters are fanning out across the province’s mountains, grasslands, forests and coastline, armed with rifles and the desire to bag a grizzly bear, just to put its head on a wall or its pelt on the floor as a “trophy.”

According to B.C. government statistics, they will kill about 300 of these majestic animals by the end of the spring and fall hunts. If this year follows previous patterns, about 30 per cent of the slaughter will be females, the reproductive engines of grizzly populations.

Many grizzlies will likely be killed within B.C.’s renowned provincial parks and protected areas, where trophy hunting is legal. Government records obtained by the David Suzuki Foundation in 2008 show trophy hunters have shot dozens of grizzlies in places we would expect wildlife to be protected. We don’t know the exact number of bears killed in parks since 2008 because, in contravention of a B.C.’s privacy commissioner’s ruling, the government refuses to disclose recent spatial data showing where bears have been killed.

Much of this killing has occurred in northern wilderness parks, such as Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Park and Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Park. Tatshenshini-Alsek Park forms a massive trans-boundary conservation zone with federal protected areas in the Yukon and Alaska. Trophy hunting is prohibited in most U.S. national parks and all Canadian national parks.

 Wild animals don’t heed political boundaries. Wide-ranging species like grizzlies move in and out of neighbouring jurisdictions. If a bear in Montana wanders a few kilometres north in search of a mate, it goes from being protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act to being a possible target in B.C.

But now, in response to intense pressure from the trophy hunting industry, the U.S. administration wants to strip grizzly bears of federal protection. U.S. President Donald Trump also recently signed into law rules allowing trophy hunters to target grizzly bears around bait stations and from aircraft and to kill mothers and their cubs in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges, where they’ve been protected from these unethical hunting practices.

Grizzly bears face an ominous political climate under the Trump administration, along with growing human threats across their range, from trophy hunting to habitat destruction, precipitous declines in food sources like salmon and whitebark pine nuts and climate change impacts.

In parts of Canada, mainly in sparsely populated areas of northern B.C. and the territories, grizzly bear numbers are stable. But in the Interior and southern B.C. and Alberta, grizzlies have been relegated to a ragged patchwork of small, isolated and threatened habitats — a vestige of the forests and grasslands they once dominated. The B.C. government has ended grizzly hunting among highly threatened sub-populations in the Interior and southern parts of B.C. And, in response to pressure from local First Nations, it has promised to do the same in the Great Bear Rainforest. But the slaughter of B.C.’s great bears continues everywhere else.

That this year’s spring hunt coincides with a B.C. election could bring hope for grizzlies, possibly catalyzing the first change in government wildlife policy in close to two decades. The May 9 election will give B.C. residents the opportunity to ask candidates if they will end the grizzly hunt if elected. So far, the B.C. NDP and Green Party say they would ban grizzly trophy hunting (but allow grizzly hunting for food), whereas the B.C. Liberals continue to defend and promote the trophy hunt as “well-managed,” despite scientific evidence to the contrary.

The fate of B.C.’s grizzlies is too important to be a partisan issue. All politicians should support protection. Rough-and-tumble politics this election season might finally end B.C.’s cruel and unsustainable grizzly bear trophy hunt. It’s time to stop this grisly business.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Faisal Moola is the David Suzuki Foundation’s director-general for Ontario and Northern Canada and an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and York University.

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy

Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDTUpdated: Apr 19, 2017 6:38 PM PDT

Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning in Montana causing controversy
BOZEMAN –We are learning more about Trump Junior’s plans for Saturday morning and it’s sparking some controversy with local environmentalists. The Ravalli Republic reported that Gianforte told a crowd in Hamilton Monday that he plans to take Donald Trump Jr. Out to shoot prairie dogs.

It’s important to note that shooting prairie dogs in Montana is completely legal, but at least one wildlife advocate says it is far from ethical.

Dave Pauli Senior Advisor for Wildlife Policy with the Humane Society of The United States said, “I was disappointed I guess that any national or international politician or celebrity would have the opportunity to come to Montana in the spring and their first choice of things they want to do is shoot prairie dogs.”

In a Facebook post posted on Wednesday, Pauli voiced his frustrations about the idea of Gianforte and Trump Jr. Spending their time in Montana shooting prairie dogs.

The Facebook post has garnered a lot of attention with more than 300 likes and 400 shares in just a few hours. And there are plenty of comments on both sides of the issue.

Ruth Gessler Farnsworth simply said, “Awful.”

While Jeremy Parish said, “totally legal and encouraged. Just like the coyote slaughter in most states.”

Shane Scanlon Communication Director for Greg Gianoforte says Ginaforte is proud to hunt in Montana. Scanlon released a statement saying…

“Hunting is a big part of gain forte’s life; he’s a sportsman and an outdoorsman and tries to get out when he can. He’s just looking to have a good time with Donald Trump Jr. and shooting some prairie dogs this weekend.”

Pauli says he’d rather see the duo hit a shooting range.

Trump Junior’s first appearance in Montana will be on Friday in Kalispell, from there he will visit Hamilton and close out his trip in Bozeman.

He’s attending several fundraisers for Gianforte who is running against Democrat Rob Quist for Montana’s lone congressional seat.

Trump hosted ‘trailer park trash’

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/329762-olbermann-trump-hosted-trailer-park-trash

Olbermann: Trump hosted ‘trailer park trash’

A detailed analysis of the Trump-Palin-Nugent-Kid Rock photo

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/politics/donald-trump-sarah-palin-kid-rock-ted-nugent/

Washington (CNN)Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as well as rock stars Kid Rock and Ted Nugent were at the White House on Wednesday night, dining with President Trump and snapping a few pics in the Oval Office. “Asked why I invited Kid Rock and Ted Nugent I joked, ‘Because Jesus was booked,'” Palin wrote on her website.

This photo was taken of the quartet:

It is, in a word, amazing. I spent a fair amount of time studying it — cue Twitter outrage; “Don’t you have anything better to do?????” — and I have a few thoughts.
Donald Trump: The President is, of course, talking. What is he talking about? Something on those papers he is holding up. I zoomed in until my eyes blurred to try to figure out what the papers on his desk say. No dice. Maybe you have better eyesight than me? Here’s the close-up:

The look on the president’s face says something like “See, now, isn’t this interesting” to me. Or maybe, “Then I figured out…”
Kid Rock: Robert James Ritchie — and, no, I didn’t know Kid Rock’s real name without looking it up — makes this whole photo for me. He’s the unquestioned star. First of all, the hat: A+. And then “The Thinker” pose: A+++++. Whatever is on those papers Trump is showing RJR, he finds it totally fascinating. In fact, I wish one day I could find something in life as interesting as Kid Rock finds what the President is saying.
Ted Nugent
: First off, I sort of respect the fact that The Nuge didn’t abandon his trademark camo cowboy hat even though he was going to the White House. You do you, Ted. When it comes to the rest, Nugent is the anithesis of Kid Rock. Whereas K. Rock is all attentiveness, Nugent looks more dutiful than anything else. “OK, this guy is the president. He’s talking about something. I am looking and acting interested.”
Sarah Palin: The angle from which this photo was taken makes Palin’s facial expression unknowable. Which makes me sad. But, given how good the rest of the photo is, I won’t get greedy.

South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoQTFi7C
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South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains are found inside two beasts

  • Hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, vanished last week after going on a hunting safari 
  • His footprints were later found leading to banks of Limpopo River in Zimbabwe
  • Police shot two Nile crocodiles who they suspected of eating the father-of-two
  • Remains found inside the crocs are now being tested by forensics experts

A South African hunter is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts.

Scott Van Zyl, 44, vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs.

The father-of-two, whose company runs hunting trips for foreign clients, is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles on the banks of the Limpopo River in Zimbabwe.

South African hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts

South African hunter Scott Van Zyl, 44, is believed to have been eaten by crocodiles after human remains were found inside two beasts

He vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs

He vanished last week after going on a hunting safari with a Zimbabwean tracker and a pack of dogs

The professional hunter and his tracker had left their truck and walked into the bush in different directions.

Later that day his dogs returned to the camp without Mr Van Zyl. His rifle and belongings were found inside the truck.

Mr Van Zyl’s footprints were later spotted leading to the river bank and trackers found his backpack nearby.

Sakkie Louwrens, who was part of the search team, said police suspected two Nile crocodiles may have eaten Mr Van Zyl.

‘We found what could possibly be human remains in them,’ he told The Telegraph.

The father-of-two, whose company runs hunting trips for foreign clients, is thought to have been eaten by crocodiles on the banks of the Limpopo River (pictured) in Zimbabwe

 Police and animal nature conservation services decided to shoot the reptiles.

The remains are being tested by forensic experts to see whether they belong to Mr Van Zyl.

At least four people have been killed by crocodiles in Zimbabwe in the past month.

In March, villagers cut open a crocodile and found the remains of an eight-year-old boy inside the beast.

The shocking scene was captured by an eyewitness with a smartphone in the village of Mushumbi Pools in northern Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central Province.

Villagers suspected the crocodile had killed and eaten the young boy, and shot the animal dead.

Police shot the crocodiles and are testing the remains found inside them to see if they belong to Mr Van Zyl (pictured with his wife)

Zimbabwe has recently been hit by heavy rain, raising river and dam levels, which can bring crocodiles to areas where they are not normally seen.

A crocodile was recently shot dead in Beatrice, a farming community in the neighbouring province of Mashonaland East, with what were believed to be the remains of a fisherman in its stomach.

In November, last year a 13 year old boy who was fishing to pay for his school fees was killed by a crocodile in southern Zimbabwe.

Owen Chianga and his friend, Liberty Ruzivo, 15, were attacked by two crocodiles while they were fishing in the Save River near the village of Birchenough Bridge.

Nile crocodiles typically feed on fish, antelope and zebra, which they snatch from the shallows and before engaging in a twirling, drowning method known as ‘the death roll’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoRDkIKd
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4422260/Hunter-believed-eaten-crocodiles.html#ixzz4eoQszeJf

High cost of big game hunting

http://www.jamestownsun.com/sports/outdoors/4243504-high-cost-big-game-hunting

Of the couple hundred big game hunts I have embarked upon on this fortunate continent, only about 15 were guided, and most of those were hunts where a guide was required by law (i.e., grizzly bears in British Columbia, Dall and Stone sheep in B.C., the Yukon and Northwest Territories.)

I have nothing against guided hunting trips. However, the current cost of most North American hunting trips has become almost unaffordable. Some hunts almost cause me to swallow my cigar in disbelief!

How about a Stone sheep-hunt? In northern B.C. it runs $43,000. Any additional animals taken require extra costs. For example, a Stone sheep hunt in the Yukon costs $41,500. Add mountain caribou for $6,500, grizzly bear for $8,500, moose for $11,500. That’s $68,000 and you haven’t even bought your plane ticket, bush plane flight, license or paid any tips. I daresay a fellow could spend a month or six weeks in Africa and shoot a dozen animals for about the same cost.

The cheapest Dall sheep hunt I was able to uncover was a 10-day hunt in the Brooks Range of northern Alaska for $16,500. Bear in mind that you have to fly commercially all the way to Anaktuvuk Pass before paying for a bush plane flight into the Brooks Range.

Alaska Range horseback Dall sheep hunts run about $19,000. Go to the Yukon for Dall sheep and the price is $20,500 to $23,500. One outfitter charges an extra $6,000 for a helicopter charter.

I hunted caribou in Alaska four times, only one of those was a guided trip and that cost about $2,000 plus air charter. I shot three good barren ground caribou on those four trips. Today a seven-day guided caribou hunt, two hunters per guide, costs about $7,000. That is for one caribou — not two—as it was when I last hunted caribou in Alaska in 1998.

I went on my one and only mountain goat hunt in B.C. in 1972 and it cost $1,000. Today the price runs from $10,000 to $13,500.

My last northern moose hunt was in Alaska in 2001. I hunted unguided with three partners and managed to shoot a respectable 55-inch bull. One of my partners used his frequent flier miles to buy me a commercial plane ticket. So the hunt cost me little more than my share of the bush plane flight, hunting license and groceries. I don’t think I spent much more than $1,000. Today, a guided moose hunt in Alaska starts at around $18,500. Again, that is just the outfitter’s fee.

My only guided grizzly bear hunt took place in B.C. in 1973. It cost $750. Today grizzly bear hunts run $15,000 to $17,000. Coastal brown bear hunts in Alaska cost $20,000 to $25,000. (I hunted Alaska brown bears three times in the mid-1980s as a resident, and never spent $500 on any single trip.)

One might think that deer and elk hunts in the West might be a comparative bargain. Not so. A guided mule deer hunt in Montana, for example, runs in the $5,000 to $7,000 range. Hunt in Utah with a landowner’s permit (no drawing required) and you are looking at $8,000.

A guided six-day elk hunt in Montana sells for $7,000 to $8,000. A five-day elk hunt in Colorado costs $4,800. Add two days to the hunt and the possibility of taking a mule deer buck, and the charge goes to $7,500.

Guided elk hunts in New Mexico and Utah, utilizing landowner tags, run $9,000 to $13,000 and more.

So you can see that guided hunting for big game in North America has become a high-cost activity. I wish it were not so, and that we could go back to the day when a working man had the ability to save his money and hunt anything in North America. It occurs to me that I did some hunting that a younger man could never do, unless he is making $150,000 a year.

I am glad I was not born any later.

Stone Sheep Photo Coyright Jim Robertson

 

Referendum to make hunting, fishing, trapping a constitutional right garners support from 30 senators

A majority of Montana’s state senators backed a measure to ask voters to decide whether hunting, fishing and trapping should become constitutional rights in the 2018 general election.

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, would create a ballot initiative to put in Montana’s constitution the right for Montana citizens to hunt, fish and trap. Measures that ask for a ballot initiative require 100 votes total between the Senate and the House and don’t need the governor’s signature.

In an initial vote on Monday, 30 Senators supported the bill. It faces a final Senate vote on Tuesday — the vote that will actually count toward the 100 necessary.

 Fielder said the bill will strengthen the state constitution’s protections for these activities.

“The language in the existing Montana constitution is unclear,” Fielder said.

She also said strengthening the language will help fight off future attempts to limit hunting or trapping in the state, such as the ballot measure voters rejected in November to ban trapping on public lands.

But opponents of the bill said the protections within the constitution are strong enough and that the failure of the trapping initiative last fall shows that the activity isn’t in serious danger.

“We don’t need to change something that already works,” said Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman.

In a February committee hearing, the bill garnered support from the Montana Trappers Association and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, among others. A number of conservation groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks opposed it.

The bill was amended slightly before being sent out of the Senate Fish and Game committee on a 6-5 vote. The amendment turned some opposition into support — namely, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation — but it didn’t eliminate all opposition.

Nick Gevock, the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said his group still opposes the measure because they believe changing the constitution requires more careful consideration than can be found in the “hurried emotion of a 90-day legislative session.”

On the Senate floor Monday, Fielder said the bill is similar to laws passed in 14 other states, including Idaho. In a post on its website, the National Conference of State Legislatures says {a style=”font-size: 12px;” href=”http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/state-constitutional-right-to-hunt-and-fish.aspx#5” target=”_blank”}21 states{/a} across the country guarantee the right to hunt and fish, including Montana.

Montana’s current law guarantees the “opportunity” to hunt, and Fielder’s bill would change that word to “right,” which she said has a more clear legal definition.

“It’s time for Montana to step up,” she said.

But some worry that the change could upend wildlife management within the state. An internal memo from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provided to the Chronicle said the bill would endanger the state’s ability to charge residents and nonresidents different prices for hunting and fishing licenses. The memo says the change would likely draw a legal challenge and that a court might find that the state is discriminating against non-residents by charging them higher license fees.

Phillips mentioned this on the Senate floor Monday, saying the change could result in the state “giving the deal of the century to nonresidents” by lowering out-of-state license fees.

“If you feel lucky in court, vote for 236,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, and Sen. Terry Gauthier, R-Helena, joined the Senate’s 18 Democrats in voting against the bill. The measure will need 70 votes in the House to pass, which means that even if all Republicans support it, they will need at least 11 votes from Democrats. Two House Democrats are listed as sponsors of the bill — Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder and Rep. Brad Hamlett of Cascade.

 

Senate votes to lift limits on hunting Alaska grizzlies and wolves on federal land

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/21/senate-votes-to-lift-limits-on-hunting-alaska-grizzlies-and-wolves-on-federal-land/?utm_term=.6baf206d0e36
March 22

The Senate voted Tuesday to abolish a rule restricting specific hunting practices on national wildlife refuges in Alaska — including trapping, baiting and aerial shooting — on the grounds that state officials should be able to set the terms for wildlife conservation on public land within their own borders.

The 52-to-47 vote, which was almost entirely along party lines, represented the latest instance of Republicans using a powerful legislative tool — the Congressional Review Act — to eliminate regulations that President Barack Obama’s administration finalized before he left office in January. Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) joined Republicans in backing the measure, and the measure needs only President Trump’s signature to become law.

With Trump’s support, congressional Republicans are working systematically to undo several environmental, labor and financial safeguards the previous administration put in place toward the end of Obama’s term. Under the 1996 law, any rule wiped off the books cannot be reinstated in a “substantially similar” form.

Although a disproportionate number of the regulations that have come under fire address energy and the environment, the larger debate has focused on whether the federal government has the right to establish sweeping rules Americans must live by or whether power should be devolved to the states.

During a sometimes-emotional debate Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats sparred over how best to define sportsmanship as well as state sovereignty.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) noted that the issue of managing wildlife “is something in Alaska that we take very, very seriously.” Recalling how she watched her grandparents and parents lobby for Alaska to become a state, she added, “It was all about fish, it was all about salmon. That’s one of the reasons we fought for statehood.”

But Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who spoke just before Murkowski, said the idea of allowing the killing of mother bears and cubs as well as denning wolves and pups would be putting “the federal stamp of approval on methods of take that the public views as unethical.”

“I don’t think that’s standing up for hunters,” he said. “I fear that it is endangering something that is critical to our culture and a way of life.”

Heinrich added that he had recently taken his 13-year-old son, Carter, on his first elk hunt, where “he soon learned that the hard work comes after you pull the trigger.” As his son painstakingly stripped the meat of the elk they had shot, the senator said, “Anything less would be unethical, and disrespectful to that magnificent wild animal.”

The National Rifle Association backed overturning the rule, as did the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska chapter of Safari Club International. In mid-January the state of Alaska challenged the regulation, along with an earlier hunting rule issued by the National Park Service, in federal court.

Environmental and animal welfare groups, by contrast, lobbied against the measure.

For years the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had negotiated on an annual basis how to establish hunting and fishing regulations for national wildlife refuges in the state, which encompass tens of millions of acres. But in 2013 the Alaska Board of Game, which is made up of political appointees, rejected the Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rules and instructed the state fish and game agency to write the regulations on their own.

In a statement after Tuesday’s vote, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said that in his state, “many hunt for survival, both personal and cultural. Alaskans have been able to maintain these strong and life-sustaining traditions through a rigorous scientific process that allows for public participation and ensures we manage our fish and game for sustainability, as required by the Alaska Constitution.”

 But Ashe and other defenders of the rule said some of the changes envisioned by state officials, such as allowing people to fly into a place where grizzlies or caribou had gathered and begin hunting that day, could disrupt the natural predator-prey balance in the wild. Ashe warned that while some hunters may want to decrease the number of bears and wolves so that the numbers of other popular game species, such as moose and caribou, rise, there will be unintended ripple effects.

“There’s a natural tension between what the state wants to do, and what the federal law compels the Fish and Wildlife Service to do,” he said.