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Killing bears, one way or another

Killing bears, one way or another

B.C. hunters speak out about grizzly hunt, wildlife managementKilling bears, one way or another

reposted from North Island Gazette

Re: Grizzly hunt ban aims at cities (B.C. Views column, Aug. 21).

As a lifelong hunter and licensed trapper for 40 years, I was born in Quesnel and have lived in northern communities including New Aiyansh, Hazelton, Fort St. James, McBride, Fraser Lake and others.

As a former RCMP officer, I have had to kill many problem bears.

Fewer people are hunting bears today than in years gone by, leading to increasing populations. Bears have a devastating effect on ungulate populations and I think have contributed to the drastic decrease in moose, caribou and deer populations. Hunting is an effective wildlife management tool.

I also would like to debunk the myth that a grizzly bear carcass goes to waste if only the hide is removed and taken. No protein goes to waste in the wilderness. Other carnivores, raptors, weasels, squirrels, mice, voles and insects would get far more value out of a grizzly carcass than a human would.

Mike Morris, MLA

Prince George-Mackenzie

• • •

I just wanted to say thanks for Tom Fletcher’s article about the NDP banning the grizzly hunt in B.C. It’s not often we see a journalist who is willing to go against the masses and pen the truth.

I have earned my living guiding hunters, fishermen, and trappers all over northern B.C. and Yukon for more than 30 years. The grizzly population is without question at an all-time high, and certainly needs to be managed.

David O’Farrell

Tagish, Yukon

Habitat loss greatest threat to B.C. grizzly bears

Habitat loss greatest threat to B.C. grizzly bears

B.C. NDP government focused on grizzly bear trophy huntHabitat loss greatest threat to B.C. grizzly bears

by Tom Fletcher, reposted from The Columbia Valley Pioneer

Degradation of habitat from forestry, oil and gas development and human settlement is the greatest risk to B.C.’s grizzly bear population, Auditor-General Carole Bellringer says.

While Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has concentrated on ending the grizzly bear trophy hunt and enacting new regulations to enforce it, a new audit of the ministry’s management of the bear population has uncovered more serious problems. Donaldson has announced that the B.C. government will put an end to trophy hunting of grizzlies after this fall’s hunting season.

The forests ministry estimates that about 250 of B.C.’s 15,000 grizzly bears are taken by hunters each year, in a limited-entry lottery hunt open to resident and non-resident hunters. The audit found that from 2006 to 2015, there were 389 bears killed as a result of human-bear conflicts, not related to hunting.

The conflicts are a result of increasing calls about grizzlies to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. The service revised its procedures to evaluate conflict and not automatically assume the bear should be destroyed, for example if it has entered someone’s yard to eat fruit left on trees.

“An increase in resource roads – 600,000 kms existing and more added every year – also leads to more human-bear conflict, and ultimately grizzly bear deaths,” Bellringer said.

The audit found that grizzly bear populations are increasing in some areas of the province, with the trophy hunt each year adjusted for regional populations. Mike Morris, MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie and a long-time hunter and trapper, said in a letter to Black Press that grizzly numbers are reaching problem levels in some places.

“Fewer people are hunting bears today than in years gone by, leading to increasing populations,” Morris said. “Bears have a devastating effect on ungulate populations and I think have contributed to the drastic decrease in moose, caribou and deer populations. Hunting is an effective wildlife management tool.”

Former Prime Minister’s Wife Publicly Berates Hunter

Former Prime Minister's Wife Publicly Berates Hunter

Larureen Harper’s comments on Steve Ecklund’s cougar hunt

It is shocking enough to read some of the comments that hunters receive when posting their accolades online. But to think that Laureen Harper, wife of former leader of the conservative party and Prime Minister of Canada would join in the abuse is chilling.

Steve Ecklund, notable TV host of The Edge, recently posted of himself with the cougar he harvested in Northern Alberta. His comment on the post read:

“What an unreal ending to a fun filled season,” he wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post, “Northern Alberta lion with BIG CAT ADVENTURES Brian and Claudette Chorney … can’t thank you guys enough for the eye opener into your world of houndsmen.”

He later posted a photo of the stir-fry her made with the meat. We celebrate a hunter who goes above and beyond a mere trophy hunt and uses the whole animal. Alberta laws do not require hunters to consume or use any part of a cougar after harvesting it. Though the anti-hunting crowd does not join in our celebration.

Former Prime Minister’s Wife Publicly Berates Hunter

It is no surprise to us that the anti-hunting crowd would be up in arms about this hunt. What does surprise us, however, is the response that was tweeted by Laureen Harper which read: (we apologize for the vulgar language)

“What a creep. Chasing a cougar with dogs until they are exhausted and then shooting and scared, cornered and tired animal. Must be compensating for something, small penis probably.”

People, surprised by this comment from her, questioned the security of her twitter account to which she replied:

“Wasn’t hacked. I was really angry that some guy flies all the way to Alberta to kill a magnificent cougar, so he can make a stir fry.”

We are surprised that Mrs. Harper hasn’t had better lessons in diplomacy. Especially given her husbands political allegiance, one that has traditionally protected the rights of hunters, . While we can’t presume to know whether or not she herself is a conservative, we should be able to expect more from someone in her position.

Laureen then goes on the impregnate further speculation into the situation, seemingly intended to fire the situation further by commenting saying:

“But how did blasting that beautiful healthy cat (not sure if it was male or pregnant female) help conservation?”

Former Prime Minister's Wife Publicly Berates Hunter

Steve Ecklund with his cougar that he legally harvested in Northern Alberta.

Education in Conservation

What is evident here is the lack of education. First, in exactly how this hunt will have helped conservation efforts. Whether non-hunters choose to believe this or not, controlling animal populations is necessary, especially when we remove more of their habitat every year for land development and industry such as oil and forestry. Further, every penny spent on licenses and transport permits etc., goes directly back into conservation efforts.

The second thing people lack an education in  is the reasons why cats are hunted in this manner. Aside from being just about the only way to hunt these animals, treeing the cat makes it easier to asses age and maturity and, more importantly, the sex of the animal so that the hunter can make an ethical decision on whether or not to harvest this animal.

This whole situation points to the glaring ignorance of the anti-hunting crowd. As we encroach on an animals habitat, one of 2 things will happen. There will be instances of human-animal conflict, where the animal generally loses eventually by being euthanized by authorities, a sad waste of the resources that animal could provide if harvest by a hunter.

The alternative is that the animal is pushed beyond the limits of it’s territory, into that of another animal causing a competition for food which can have a catastrophic affect on the prey populations will undoubtedly still end in the death of one or both of the animals.

Cougars occupy a very large, solitary home range. They also require a large caloric intake and are known to be able to consume 1 deer every week of the year. So imagine if we, upon diminishing local habitats, leave these populations unchecked. As we upset the delicate balance, it is up to us to restore and manage it. Anti-hunters may not like it, but we co-habitate with our wildlife and that makes us part of the natural order.

Perhaps one could argue that it is not out responsibility to intervene, but we would argue that we have the ability to do so and therefore we should. A cougar following it’s instincts, for example, will kill without prejudice. It will do so with no consideration for conservation or protection of a species so this is where we possess the ability to step in and help with these decisions.

We will begin to see the results of such conflict in British Columbia in the coming years as they have just passed an immediate ban on Grizzly Bear hunting. The result of social pressure and NOT due to unsustainable populations.

Conservation Efforts

In short, hunters ARE conservationists. More than anyone else in society. We care for our animal populations and go to great lengths to protect them. The primary source of funding for conservation comes from hunting and fishing dollars. The province spends 100% of hunting of fishing revenue on fish and wildlife management. A total investment of around $71 million a year.

Conclusion

Anti-hunting terrorism is a huge problem world-wide and threatens to put a stop to hunting altogether. We need to affect some sort of change before we reach the bottom of this slippery slope. When affluent, and powerful people are joining in the hazing, it becomes very scary. Where are we headed when someone like Laureen Harper can assault a citizen of a country her husband was led?

As hunters, we have a responsibility to be ethical in all that we do. That means that we need to be hyper-sensitive when posting photos and such online – though we find no fault in Ecklunds post. But if we are doing everything we can to show hunters in the best light possible then there is no excuse for abuse like this.

At what point do we start holding people responsible for their actions? Larueen Harper should be held accountable, as much as anyone else, who threatens or verbally assaults someone. Especially when there are no grounds on which to do so.

It’s time to demand a change. Write letters to your local government to let them know that this treatment is not ok. Remind them that we are here and we deserve to be heard, every bit as much as the anti-hunters.

 

Anti-Hunting Terrorism – Is Our Government Doing Enough?

The death of Melania Capitan has sparked an uproar from hunting groups demanding a change to trolling laws.

I’m sure that many of you have already heard the story of Melania Capitan. Melania is a 27 year old Spanish woman who took her own life as an alleged result (contents of her suicide note have not been released) of anti-hunting terrorism. Melania built a huge, online following around her hunting activities and as such, also attracted the attention of anti-hunters. She had reportedly received over 3000 threats and defamatory comments. And it didn’t stop online either. She had also reportedly received threats in other forms like notes left on her vehicle.

Following Capitan’s death, the president of the Spanish Federation of Hunting filed a criminal complaint with the country’s public prosecution office citing animal terrorism and their attacks for contributing to Capitan’s death. The complaint said the criticisms against Capitan targeted her personal liberties and because hunting is a right in Spain, anyone who criticized her was violating her rights.

While this story doesn’t come from Canada, it still resonates with us here because we are all too familiar with these types of threats. I myself have been the target of several comments, some of which have contained threats of personal harm and others with prompts to kill myself. So our question is, what can we do to put a stop to this type of bullying? And is bullying a strong enough word for this type of act? There are other terms being coined to describe it such as anti-hunting terrorism and animal terrorism.

The RCMP defines terrorism as:
Anything that impacts the fabric of Canadian society could be considered a threat to national security. The RCMP will focus its efforts on: espionage or sabotage against Canada; foreign influenced activities detrimental to the interests of Canada; activities directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against Canadians for political, religious or ideological objectives; and, activities leading to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the government of Canada.

Dictionary.com defines terrorism as:
The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

While we are not sure the Government will classify these threats as terrorism, surely there is something in the Criminal Code against this type of act.

According to the Criminal Code: Assault
Every one commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat
(a) to cause death or bodily harm to any person;
(b) to burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
(c) to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.

Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(a) is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

Every one who commits an offence under paragraph (1)(b) or (c)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Melania Capitan suicide.

We found this recent post on Twitter demonstrating just how horrible and degrading the anti-hunting crowd can be. Even after her death they shamelessly and disgustingly defame her.

Does this feel like enough? Is this direct enough to our particular problem? Are we satisfied with this as our protection? We are still conducting research and are hoping to find something else pertinent to our situation, but assault certainly doesn’t seem to cut it when people are driven to take their own lives.

Not to mention, there are many problems facing the type of threats we, as hunters, often receive. Online threats are difficult to pursue on the grounds that it is difficult to identify and prove the author of the threats. While reporting a recent threat, the officer I was dealing with had advised me that the person could claim someone else used his email address to send the threat. While this is understandable, there has to be something that can be done about this.

Anti-hunting terrorism has to stop. The Wild Guide team will be devoting some serious amounts of energy and research into this issue. We already have letters out to the RCMP and our local MP as a starting point and we hope to chase this problem all the way to the top. It’s time for a change in our trolling laws to stop this kind of thing from happening.

We urge you to do the same. Our rights are being threatened and we need to start speaking louder than our haters and make sure our government hears us. We would love to hear from you with your thoughts and ideas on the matter and hope you will continue to follow us as we march forward with our fight. If you think it’s time to do something about this, and stop anti-hunting terrorism, share this post and please leave us a comment. You can also follow and connect with us on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.

Brad McCann
Publisher and CEO
Wild Guide Magazine