Toutle, Washington man killed during grizzly bear hunt in British Columbia

2014-05-29T16:15:00Z 2014  Toutle man killed during grizzly bear hunt in British Columbia Longview Daily News
May 29, 2014 4:15 pm  •  By Andre Stepankowsky

Toutle native Jeff Cooper had hunted all his life, but there was one game prize that had eluded him: a grizzly bear.

Sunday night, at a remote location in Northern British Columbia, he came close to realizing the dream when he shot and wounded a grizzly. The next morning, he and two hunting guides tracked the animal down.

Courtesy of Shirley CooperToutle businessman Jeff Cooper died of a gunshot wound while hunting a grizzly bear in British Columbia.

 The angry bear charged out of the brush. Cooper and the two guides, reacting instantly, all fired and dropped the bear. Cooper was standing in front of one of the guides, and a bullet struck and killed him, according to his family.

Cooper had been out to the Burns Lake area of Canada last fall but had failed to bag a bear, said his wife of 27 years, Shirley Cooper. So he returned there May 23 — his 59th birthday — to try again.

Her husband was an avid outdoorsman, she said Thursday.

“It was his passion. He just loved being out in the woods. He hiked. He hunted. He fished,” she said.

Doug Fields of the Cowlitz County Chaplaincy told her of her husband’s death Tuesday after local authorities were notified by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which continues to investigate the accident. The RCMP is releasing little information about the case.

Burns Lake is a remote area that is a 12-hour drive from the U.S.-Canada border. Mounties responding to the shooting had to drive 70 miles on forest roads from Houston, British Columbia, to get to the scene. Cooper was dead by the time they arrived, said Corporal David Tyreman, a spokesman for the RCMP. It was not clear whether he died immediately or some time after the shooting.

Shirley Cooper said her husband grew up in Toutle and was a 1973 graduate of Toutle Lake High School, where he played basketball and football. He owned and operated South Fork Hardwoods in Toutle, a specialty sawmill, and was well-known throughout the Toutle community.

The Coopers are members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Castle Rock.

“He was a wonderful person. He would help anyone. He was a good Christian,” Shirley Cooper said.

She said her husband raised her two children, now grown, as his own. One of them, Josh King, said Thursday his father had a lifelong dream to bag a grizzly.

“He loved to hunt, and that was a great challenge,” he said. He said his father was going to have a rug made of the bear hide, and his family may still act on those wishes.

Tim Haderly of Castle Rock, a longtime friend of Jeff Cooper, said Cooper “was one of those guys who, when you meet him, you instantly like him. He was honest. He would do anything for me. He was a man of his word. If he told you he was going to do something, he would do it, no questions. … If you met him, you were his friend.”

Cooper was a smart businessman who took advantage of a niche market, Haderly said. His sawmill cut Douglas fir to make wooden gutters commonly used on historic home restorations, most of them in the eastern United States, Haderly said.

“He was quite a businessman as well as being a nice guy and a very hard worker. He’d be up at 4:40 in the morning and not go to bed until 9 or 10 at night.”

The family last heard from Cooper as he was crossing the U.S.-Canada border on his way up to Burns Lake on May 23. Shirley Cooper is making arrangements to have her husband’s body brought home and expects that to happen Friday.

“It’s a tragic loss,” Haderly said. “the one saving grace is that he went doing something he loved. He was a guy who lived life to the fullest.”

U.S. Grizzly Trophy Hunter Accidentially Shot by Guide after Wounded Bear Rears Up!

  1. USTrophyHunterKilledbyGuide

    Photo Credit: Conrad Olson

    Bears Matter Note: Here is one brief report in media of an incident  that took place on May 26, 2014.  More details and media attention around this tragedy will follow but Bears Matter and our supporters sincerely hope that this case may bring some ‘sober’ second thought and a rethink by the B.C. government on their recent expansion and continuation of this archaic and senseless ‘recreation’ in BC’s wilderness…… In 2014 ecotourism, ethics and humane treatment of animals should be the drivers to conserve grizzly bears and their habitat in BC, not killing (and wounding) unsuspecting animals for their skull and a photo op!
    Here’s the short version of a story with few witnesses in a remote area of BC.:

    American hunter shot dead while on a guided bear hunt  (Bears Matter note: Trophy Grizzly Hunt) in northwestern B.C. earlier this week has been identified by his wife as Jeff Cooper of Toutle, Wash, a small town about 200 kilometres south of Seattle.

    A story in Washington’s Daily News Online says Cooper had shot and wounded a grizzly bear the day before and was tracking it down the following morning when it charged his hunting party. Cooper’s two guides fired, according to the report, and Cooper, who was standing in front of one of them, was struck and killed.

    RCMP in B.C. are still investigating and won’t say whether they believe the shooting was accidental or suspicious.

    Cpl. Dave Tyreman did confirm that a 59-year-old Washington state man was shot Tuesday afternoon while hunting in the Tahtsa Reach Forest Service area about 110 kilometres south of Houston, B.C.

    “Basically it’s too early in the investigation.”

    Other articles:


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Groups Seek Legal Remedies to Stop Government Decision to Re-introduce the Ontario Spring Bear Hunt


AnimalAllianceof Canada

Media Release

Groups seek legal remedies to stop government decision to re-introduce the Ontario Spring Bear Hunt. Organizations say – if the spring bear hunt is not stopped by the Wynne government before May 1, tiny bear cubs will be orphaned and die from starvation

Toronto, April 17, 2014: Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada are seeking legal remedies to stop the Ontario spring bear hunt and prevent tiny orphaned bear cubs from brutal death by starvation. On April 14, 2014 the Minister of Natural Resources and Attorney General of Ontario were served with a Notice of Application for Judicial Review and Notice of Constitutional Question on behalf of the two organizations. David Estrin, a certified environmental law specialist with Gowlings LLP in Toronto, Michael Watson, a Gowlings civil litigation partner and Brent Arnold, another Gowlings litigator, are the lawyers for the applicants. Three Justices of the Ontario Divisional Court are scheduled to hear the application April 29, 2014 in Toronto.

Mr. Estrin said that affidavits are being prepared to provide expert evidence about bear cub orphaning and death associated with spring bear hunting, as well as evidence from northern residents and former government staff who experienced previous bear hunts. He summarized the legal position to be advanced:“The Applicants contend that the Minister failed to comply with the MNR’s own Statement of Environmental Values and therefore failed to comply with section 11 of the Environmental Bill of Rights , that the Proposal violates the Criminal Code of Canada prohibition on causing cruelty to animals and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional, and the Minister did not apply for or receive approval for this Proposal under the Environmental Assessment Act.” “The spring bear hunt is cruel,” said Julie Woodyer, Campaign Director for Zoocheck Canada. “Bears come out of hibernation and are extremely hungry because they have not eaten all winter. They are attracted to garbage food (fryer oil, rotten meat, and stale donuts) set out in bait piles by hunters who want an assured kill. One third of these feeding bears are female, many with tiny cubs. Often the female bears hide the cubs before approaching the bait site or kill zone. Despite being illegal for hunters to kill female bears with cubs, inevitably it happens and orphaned cubs are left to starve to death.

“The cruelty is amplified by the fact that the spring hunt will not reduce human/bear conflicts, as Ontario bear researchers have shown” Woodyer continued. “Yes, cubs will be orphaned during this unnecessary hunt. Minister Orazietti knows that studies done by his own staff show that spring hunts do not reduce human/bear conflicts.”

The organizations also distributed a chart showing steadily declining numbers of bear complaints in the Minister’s home city of Sault Ste Marie. The numbers were obtained from the Sault police force through a Freedom of Information request. “We agree with the Minister that public safety for northern residents is crucial, we don’t agree that the spring bear hunt is the effective way to do it,” said Liz White, Director, Animal Alliance of Canada. Ms. White concluded,“That’s why we have asked the Minister to re-instate and recommit to the entire Bear Wise programme. In communities like Elliot Lake, where the Bear Wise programme was properly implemented, human bear conflicts dropped dramatically


To schedule interviews or obtain copies of the Sault Ste MarieDo bear occurrence data or legal filings, please contact Liz White at 416-809-4371 or  

Documents are also available on the web sites of Animal Alliance ( or Zoocheck Canada (



Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare: Two Sides of the Same Coin? PC Paquet and CT Darimont, Abstract

© 2010 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare Animal Welfare 2010, 19: 177-190 ISSN 0962-7286 Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada,Raincoast Conservation Foundation, PO Box 77, Denny Island, British Columbia V0T 1B0, Canada, Environmental Studies Department, 405 ISB, 1156 High Street, University of California, Santa Cruz, California 95064, USA


Human activities deprive wild animals of their life requisites by destroying or impoverishing their surroundings, causing suffering of individuals. Yet, the notion that animal welfare applies to wildlife has escaped many animal welfarists and conservationists.

A well-accepted and applied ethical foundation for animal conservation that considers animal welfare is lacking. We address this by examining how worldviews of conservationists and animal welfarists are related. The clear conceptual link is that individuals within anthropogenically-disturbed populations often endure suffering caused by humans. Accordingly, our objectives are to provide an overview of wildlife conservation, integrate ethical aspects of wildlife conservation and animal welfare, and encourage a ‘wildlife welfare’ ethic among conservationists. We describe the relationship between contemporary socioeconomic and environmental conditions and the impoverished status of North American wildlife. We then describe the ecological plight of large mammalian carnivores in North America. Finally, as a case study, we focus on the tenuous lives of grey wolves (Canis lupus) living in the midst of human-dominated landscapes. We conclude that the suffering wildlife endures because of humans is a collective responsibility that presents a moral imperative for animal welfarists and conservationists alike. Habitat destruction and impoverishment deprives species of life requisites, causing trauma, prolonged suffering, and eventually death. We suggest that a shared doctrine of animal welfare principles is needed, such as a modified version of the internationally-recognised Five Freedoms. In essence, this would be an ethical affirmation for conservationists and animal welfarists.

For Full Article:



Why Does B.C. Government So Desperately Want Grizzly Bears Dead? by Chris Genovali

Mother & Cub on cliff edge
We want these bears dead. This is the message the B.C. government’s “reallocation policy” sends to Raincoast Conservation Foundation, British Columbians, and Canadians across the country. This policy is also preventing the implementation of an innovative solution to end the commercial trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores throughout B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest.

With the mismanaged, and some would say depraved, B.C. grizzly bear hunt having commenced this month, the ongoing controversy surrounding the recreational killing of these iconic animals is spiking once again.

In 2001, a hard-won, Raincoast-led moratorium on grizzly hunting in B.C. was overturned by Gordon Campbell’s newly elected Liberal government with no justification other than serving as an obvious sop to the trophy hunting lobby. So, what was supposed to be a three-year, province-wide ban was revoked after one spring hunting season. Raincoast, recognizing the then new premier’s mulish intractability on this issue, decided to take a different approach.

In 2005, Raincoast raised $1.3 million to purchase the commercial trophy hunting rights across 24,700 square kilometers of the Great Bear Rainforest. In 2012, Raincoast purchased an additional 3,500 square kilometers, including nearly all the habitat of the spirit bear. (Despite a restriction on killing spirit bears, trophy hunting of black bears that carry the recessive gene that causes the white coat is allowed).

The sellers of these hunting tenures received a fair price, bears and wolves were safeguarded, and ecotourism prospered, including within coastal First Nations communities.

The province has countered by instituting a so-called reallocation policy (a.k.a., “the Raincoast policy”), whereby unused (i.e., not killed) grizzly bear “quota” would be stripped from Raincoast’s commercial tenures and allocated to resident hunters (i.e., B.C. residents who do not require a licenced hunting guide by law).

Bereft of any legitimate argument to justify the recreational killing of grizzlies, provincial wildlife managers stand naked in front of an increasingly disgusted and disapproving public, their blatant cronyism on behalf of the trophy hunting lobby exposed for all to see.

The ecological argument is clear; killing bears for “management” purposes is unnecessary and scientifically unsound. Although ongoing attempts are made to dress up the province’s motivations in the trappings of their proverbial “sound science“, they are clearly driven by an anachronistic ideology that is disconcertingly fixated on killing as a legitimate and necessary tool of wildlife management.

Dr. Paul Paquet, senior scientist at Raincoast and co-author of a recently 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 and amusement 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”, Drs. 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.”

The economic argument is clear; recent research by Stanford University and the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) identifies that bear viewing supports 10 times more employment, tourist spending, and government revenue than trophy hunting within the Great Bear Rainforest.

Notably, the Stanford-CREST 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.

What remains unclear is why the B.C. government so desperately wants these bears dead.

Raincoast stands ready to raise the funds to acquire the remaining commercial hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest, a mutually beneficial solution that the guide outfitters have indicated they will not oppose. Although the province, at their own political peril, has failed to recognize it, Coastal First Nations have banned trophy hunting under their own laws throughout their unceded territories, and the public is overwhelmingly in support.

Buying out the remaining hunting tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest, coupled with the administrative closure of resident hunting in the region, would create the largest grizzly bear reserve in the world and a model for sustainable economic activity.

A version of this article previously ran in the Vancouver Sun.