Tag Archives: anit-trophy hunting

Stephen Hume: It’s not hunting, and a grizzly head and paws are not trophies

 By Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun September 6, 2013

Stephen Hume: It’s not hunting, and a grizzly head and paws are not trophies
 Screen capture from Bear Witness: a film by BC’s Coastal First Nations.

Photograph by: Bears Forever , …

It’s time to end the miserable, demeaning trophy hunt for grizzly bears in this otherwise splendid province.

We should thank Clayton Stoner, I suppose, for inadvertently making himself the latest celebrity poster boy on the issue and thereby reminding us why trophy hunting is such a revolting sport.

Trophy hunting is killing magnificent animals for no other purpose than to pump up some so-called hunter’s pathetic ego.

I say “so-called” because potting grizzly bears as they amble down to British Columbia’s salmon rivers during the seasonal runs to fatten themselves up for hibernation has about as much in common with hunting as driving to the nearest farm and blasting cows when they come in to the feed barn.

As for the inferiority complexes that drive trophy hunting, well, really, what else can killing grizzly bears and then decorating your house with their preserved body parts, be about? If it’s not about making the shooter overcome some deep feeling of personal inadequacy, what need would it serve?

Most people, rightly, think it’s just plain creepy.

So if Stoner’s achieved nothing else, he’s reminded us that it’s time the provincial government sucked up its courage and stopped the trophy hunt. What’s government even doing endorsing frivolous thrill-seeking by a barbarous minority?

Trophy hunters were responsible for about two-thirds of the grizzly mortalities in B.C. each year, the last time I looked at the provincial government’s disheartening statistics. Grizzly bears, by the way, are listed federally as being of special concern because of growing threats to their survival. They’re already extinct in the Ungava region, hanging by a thread in Alberta and at risk in B.C.

Even if you take the most optimistic estimates for B.C.’s grizzly population, there are troublingly few — about 15,000 concentrated in several small areas, which makes them easy to hunt. But other bear experts say the numbers could be far less because the province has a habit of overestimating to justify its trophy hunt.

In the 1990s, when one of its own key wildlife biologists — a brave man — produced a paper challenging the methodology for estimating grizzly populations, the province seized all copies and suppressed it.

Calling for the trophy hunt for grizzlies to end is not an attack on hunting. It is an attack on a morally indefensible category of hunting.

I’ve hunted and killed big game and birds in my day. I support hunting and fishing. Hunting is actually part of the natural cycle; it’s part of our evolutionary and historical makeup as human beings. That’s why the right to hunt and fish has always been a fundamental element in every treaty negotiation with First Nations across this county and it’s why it behooves us to take seriously their requests for hunting restrictions on specific species and in areas where we’ve negotiated some shared control.

Most genuine hunters I know are deeply respectful of the wildlife they kill for food. Hunters were the genesis of most conservation policies in Canada. But killing an animal just for its head or its claws and then leaving the rest of the carcass to rot is something most of us find morally repugnant.

Of course, trophy hunting, despite the misnomer, is not about hunting as genuine hunters understand it.

Trophy hunting is about needing to take the life of a powerful creature so the killers can inflate their perceptions of their own strength and importance. These folk are too insensitive and self-absorbed to notice that the rest of us think it demonstrates how pitifully small the killing and display of animal trophies renders them.

So I wasn’t surprised to read that a recent poll shows the great majority of British Columbians are repelled by the idea of trophy hunting of any bears and that almost 90 per cent of us think government-promoted trophy hunting of grizzlies is just plain wrong.

Times change and social attitudes evolve.

It was once considered hilarious public entertainment to chain a bear to a post and set packs of dogs on it. Try that today and you’d go to jail.

It was once the practice in B.C. to pay a provincial bounty for every cougar, wolf and coyote killed regardless of season, circumstances or location. That finally ended because it turned out to be an utter failure as a predator management tool.

Apologists for trophy hunting argue that it’s a tool for population management. It’s not. It actually undercuts proper wildlife management. Plenty of research shows how systematically hunting the most mature and successful specimens in an animal population — trophy hunters want the biggest and the best, remember — damages gene pool diversity.

Hunt trophy animals consistently and future generations get smaller and are less able to compete for resources in their habitat. Some researchers suggest we’re already seeing evidence in fish populations and in brown bear populations in Alaska.

And there’s more to it. Research also shows that when trophy hunters start staking out the salmon rivers for their easy kills, bears learn to avoid their best fall food source, so trophy hunts also decrease the survival chances of bears that aren’t killed by reducing their nutrition and health.

Shooting out the prime males in a population is bad for the gene pool and therefore the survivability of the species. Anyone who tells you otherwise, outfitter, trophy hunter or politician, is shovelling bunkum.

What’s even more mystifying about the government’s insistence on supporting grizzly trophy hunting is that it represents a direct attack on one of the fastest growing, most economically valuable and sustainable sectors of the economy — ecotourism.

A study by the Raincoast Conservation Society showed that by 2003, people coming to B.C. simply to watch grizzly bears generated twice the annual revenue of all the guide outfitting associated with the grizzly trophy hunt.

And this sector has been growing at the rate of eight per cent per year.

Today, nature-based tourism generates about $1.5 billion a year for 1,600 operators and directly employs about 13,000 people. A mere $350 million of that total is hunting-related.

It’s not rocket science figuring out the baseline economics here. The revenue stream is with nature tourism, not the sector that’s busy exterminating the top end of the resource.

Believe me, the trophy hunt and the pittance in provincial revenues it generates is terrible public relations. It seriously undermines an industry that’s precisely the one we want to grow because it’s so sustainable over the long term.

Back in 1999, a score of the world’s leading professional biologists petitioned the B.C. government for a moratorium on grizzly bear hunting because population numbers had consistently been overestimated using questionable methodology. A moratorium was briefly imposed but then the government changed and it was almost immediately lifted, presumably to placate trophy hunting lobbyists.

Well, we don’t need a moratorium. We need to stop this disreputable practice. Hopefully British Columbians will let the government hear that, loud and clear.


 © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


2013, Moon Magazine Interview with Charlie Russell: Life Among Grizzlies

 Charlie Russell with Biscuit

Charlie Russell | Life among grizzlies or http://moonmagazine.org/charlie-russell-life-among-grizzlies-2013-09-01/6/ 

Charlie Russell grew up in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, just outside of Waterton Lakes National Park. His father was famed guide and outfitter Andy Russell. Charlie and his brothers inherited their father’s fascination with wilderness and its inhabitants, including grizzlies. His brothers became biologists, studying bears and caribou. Charlie, however, was interested in studying bears from a sociological perspective, seeking to understand bear behavior—particularly grizzly behavior vis-à-vis humans. He studied bears […]

Larry Pynn, Hunting of grizzlies, especially females, exceeds B.C. government targets: new study


A grizzly is captured in its natural habitat using a remote camera installed in the upper Squamish Valley.

The number of grizzly bears killed in B.C. exceeded government targets in half the areas where the province permitted hunting of the species, a new study released Wednesday concludes.

The study, a collaboration of six biologists from Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, looked at grizzly hunting in 50 of 57 population units from 2001 to 2011. (The number of units open to hunting declined to 41 in 2012).

Published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the study used historical records to find evidence of mortality exceeding government targets in those units by one to 24 grizzlies, or two to 171 per cent, during three periods over the decade studied.

“There is so much uncertainly in the management,” said the study’s lead author, Kyle Artelle.

“The question is, how much risk are we willing to accept with this population? It’s like Russian Roulette. When you pull the trigger, there’s a good chance that nothing will happen. But there is also a chance you’ll get a bullet in the head.” Grizzlies are officially a species of special concern.

Artelle, a Raincoast biologist and SFU PhD student, said it is especially troubling that the number of female grizzlies shot above government targets totalled about 134 during the study period. “Hunters are encouraged but not required to target males. It’s hard to discern at a distance. A small male may look like a female and vice-versa.”

More than 3,500 grizzlies (including more than 1,200 females) were killed during the study period. Legally sanctioned trophy hunting took more than 2,800 of those bears (including more than 900 females). Other sources of mortality included poaching, shooting of nuisance bears in defence of people or property, and road or rail accidents.

The current B.C. population of grizzlies is estimated at 15,000.

In response, Andrew Wilson, director of fish and wildlife, in the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, said in a statement that “while we will review the study more carefully in coming days, we do not initially share its conclusions.”

He added: “All evidence, including an expanding distribution, a large portion of older males in the harvest, the numerous DNA-based mark recapture estimates, and feedback by people who spend a great deal of time in grizzly bear habitat, suggest that across most of the province, robust populations remain.”

He noted that about 35 per cent of B.C. is closed to grizzly hunting and that ministry biologists are having their own study published soon in the same scientific journal on grizzly populations which “provides further scientific support that B.C. has been sustainably managing grizzly bears.”

Said Wilson: “Historically, hunters have taken around 300 grizzly bears a year out of an estimated population of 15,000, or a two per cent harvest rate. This is a modest harvest target well below what is required for conservation requirements.”

Researchers noted that the province can easily rectify the problem by reducing the number of limited-entry permits for hunting grizzlies.

Coastal First Nations, an alliance of aboriginal people on B.C.’s north and central coasts, has declared bear trophy hunting off-limits in their territories, but the provincial government does not recognize the ban.

lpynn@vancouversun.com http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Hunting+grizzlies+especially+females+exceeds+government/9133857/story.html

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Letter to Minister Polak from Valhalla Wilderness Society re: Pipelines thru Prime Grizzly Protected Areas

Valhalla Wilderness Society


October 8, 2013

Hon. Mary Polak
Minister of Environment
PO Box 9049 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Phone: 250 387-1187, Fax: 250 387-1356

Re: Please Stop Natural Gas Pipeline route surveys and any Park Use permits in the Khutzeymateen Inlet-Kwinimass Provincial Conservancies (Protected Areas)

Dear Ms. Pollack:

There are now two natural gas pipeline companies with the same route being proposed through major grizzly bear protected areas on the BC North Coast that adjoin and are critical buffers to the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary Class A Provincial Park. These are TransCanada Pipelines’ Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project (under Petronas) and Spectra Energy’s Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project. The latter company indicates that “up to two adjacent pipelines” might be built. Spectra states this about their proposed project and parks:

This Valhalla Society map shows the approximate route (red line) by TransCanada Pipelines Natural Gas (and most likely Spectra) through the Khutzeymateen-Kwinimass provincially protected areas:

As the Minister vested with the responsibility of protecting BC’s park system, and as the Minister who is one of the five member Ministers of the Cabinet LNG Working Group, the silence from your end has been deafening with respect to transgressions of the public trust and Park Act represented by ongoing pipeline surveys. According to a Vancouver Sun article (Sept. 6, 2013) one company (TransCanada Pipelines) has already been warned twice about “non-permitted access” to the environmentally sensitive area, and BC Parks is investigating a third possible transgression.

While we are pleased that BC Parks has taken a strong position on these violations by Pacific Northwest Gas, we strongly query the basic question as to why pipeline route surveys are being allowed through our protected conservancies, given that logging, mining and hydro-development are not allowed and these protected areas are being managed to the highest standards by BC Parks with the highest priority of the conservation of grizzly bears? 

We have been given to understand that these illegal pipeline field surveys by Spectra and TransCanada and the proposed routing through these major protected areas were/are being done with apparent secret endorsement from your Cabinet LNG Working Group as well as the Premier’s office. Given that Spectra has already been surveying their route through the Khutzeymateen-Kwinimass grizzly bear protected complex for over a year, why has your Ministry and government not made this invasion of our parks public knowledge – with a widespread public input process?

We would also like to ask you as the Minister vested in enforcing the Park Act: given that no public access including jet boats are allowed in the Khutzeymateen grizzly sanctuary, given that no commercial logging and mining are allowed in this complex of protected areas, and no aircraft flights are allowed within 500 m of land (except for one specific landing site for floatplane tourism access to bear viewing tour boats) that with such priority protection of the Khutzeymateen area grizzly bears, how is it that your government is now openly allowing two foreign-owned pipeline companies to promote and study a major gas pipeline route through these protected areas in the Khutzeymateen-Kwinimass complex?

Perhaps you may not be aware that hidden deep at the head of the remote Khutzeymateen fiord is the world-class Khutzeymateen grizzly bear sanctuary that received legislative protection as a Class A Provincial Park in 1994 after an exhaustive 9-year international battle with the timber industry. Today the Khutzeymateen is recognized as Canada’s premier grizzly bear sanctuary and bear-viewing area. Prince Phillip came for the official designation of the park. The grizzly bear population is quite unique in that it has also been protected from trophy hunting since 1982 by a large provincial no-hunting reserve. As a result of the province’s north coast land use plan (LUP) in 2006 and First Nations initiatives, three more large protected areas (conservancies) were added around the sanctuary, making it one of the most protected grizzly bear heartlands in western Canada. Some years later the Gitsee Tsimshian First Nation negotiated through the province’s G2G protocol two new conservancies to protect most of the Khutzeymateen Inlet. These protected areas thus represent a huge investment by society in leaving a lasting grizzly bear legacy for future generations. Thousands of people come from afar to safely view and photograph the famous protected Khutzeymateen grizzlies and this generates millions of dollars in tourism revenue to the BC economy. The BBC and others including the CBC Nature of Things have filmed major grizzly bear documentaries there. The Khutzeymateen area may be remote and hidden, but we can assure you that thousands of its followers will be joining us in a legal challenge and massive opposition to any pipeline route through these protected areas that represent one of Canada’s grandest grizzly bear legacies.  

We also ask you to please consider the following: 

  1. Promoting and allowing a new major utility corridor through a major wilderness complex of provincially protected lands will mean other utilities could follow such as Hydro transmission lines to power any LNG plant(s). Last year it as just Spectra with a now proposed twin pipeline studying this route to the coast — now it is two companies.

2. The construction and maintenance, including a proposed compressor station in the Kwinimass Conservancy, of the largest diameter (4 feet) pipeline proposed in Canada (TransCanada) would require a major industrial access road through the rugged coastal rainforest of the protected conservancies, with a permanent right-of-way width of up to 200 feet, as well as a staging area to construct the undersea 1.7 km section beneath the Khutzeymateen Fiord. Up to 50 grizzly bears use the marine foreshore here along the inlet and sanctuary estuary, supporting at least eight permitted commercial bear-viewing operations with major tourism values. The Khutzeymateen core grizzly population also depends on the adjacent conservancies and other surrounding habitats for their annual survival. (The adjacent conservancies and other surrounding habitats are crucial for the short- and long-term survival of the core Khutzeymateen grizzly population.)This includes ancient trees on the mountain slopes for winter denning. Having studied grizzly bears in the area, we can assure you that any pipeline project through the area will have significant, adverse environmental impacts such as on the grizzly bear population, despite any proposed mitigation methods — not the least being removal of large amounts of old-growth forests for 30-40 kilometres where a pipeline traverses the conservancies.

Just as one example of projected impacts to these protected areas, pipeline compressor stations planned to be built in the wilderness protected areas will create a permanent industrial presence including:

  •  Loss of night darkness due to flare stack.
  • Permanent noise due to gas-turbine engines.
  • Methane smog and other air pollution, especially during routine “blowdowns” (ventings) of the pipeline.
  • Risk of explosion and fire.
  • Constant industrial traffic on major access roads.

 These proposed developments if allowed will erode the ecological integrity of these major grizzly bear protected areas that are flagships of the BC Parks system. 

Allowing even surveys of major pipeline routes, not to mention your Ministry possibly granting research permits and approving eventual construction through these protected areas is a major violation of the public trust invested in your Ministry to uphold our world-class park system.  By allowing pipeline surveys to take place you are already setting a dangerous precedent for all of BC. It means no BC provincial park or protected area is safe from your government’s now rampant resource development policies. No park or conservancy, no matter how high its ecological values, will ever be safe from your development policies.

In conclusion, the Valhalla Wilderness Society now requests that you categorically uphold the law and protect the future integrity of the BC Parks system entrusted to you by taking a principled stand by stopping all proposed pipeline route proposals and surveys through these critical BC protected areas.  We request that you desist from issuing any Park permits for any pipeline surveys through the Khutzeymateen Inlet-Kwinimass Provincial Conservancies (Protected Areas) adjacent to the Khutzeymateen Class A Park Grizzly Bear Sanctuary or what we call the Khutzeymateen grizzly sanctuary protected area complex. We would like to remind you that any further ongoing pipeline surveys without permits, as well as the potential issuance by the provincial government of future survey permits, are a violation of Section 5 (3.1) of the Park Act that states that a park use permit cannot be issued for other purposes where such would inhibit or restrict the protected goals stated in the Park Act. Section 10 of the Park Act states that park use permits cannot be issued for logging, mining and most hydro-electric developments (except run-of-the-river near First Nations communities). Frankly, I learned just a short time ago of legal action being contemplated to demand, insure and order that the sections cited be obeyed.

 Again, we thus demand that your Ministry stop immediately all existing and further pipeline route planning and surveys through the Khutzeymateen-Kwinimass protected complex including ground and aerial, route surveys, biophysical inventory, ground drilling, and any other pipeline related surveys in these protected areas. Please stand up for our parks – they are not for sale!


Wayne P. McCrory, RPBio.

Bear Biologist.

Bears Matter Note: Pls consider writing a letter to save the Khutzeymateen!

cc. Premier Christy Clark
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Phone: 250 387-1715, Fax: 250 387-0087
E-mail: premier@gov.bc.ca

Hon. Steve Thomson
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
PO Box 9049 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Phone: 250 387-6240, Fax: 250 387-1040
E-mail: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Hon. Naomi Yamamoto

Minister of Tourism and Small Business

PO Box 227  Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 1X4



Charlie Russell’s Live Show Oct.19, 2013 with Special Guest Kevin Van Tighem

Charlie Russell Live Show Oct.19, 2013

Charlie Russell Live Show Oct.19, 2013   Special Guest MC Announced: Kevin Van Tighem, biologist, retired Banff Park Superintendent and best-selling author.

Bears Forever Launch Radio Anti-Trophy Hunting Ads Today!

Message from Bears Forever,News of our trophy hunting ban is about to hit 50 communities all across northern BC. We asked you to help fund a radio blitz so we could talk directly to hunters. Now it’s time to kick this off at a bigger scale than we were planning.Starting Monday, CFNR Radio is ready to put the first two Bears Forever radio ads in heavy rotation. We’ll be on during primetime, 7 times a day for 14 days straight. We picked CFNR, a popular news and classic rock network, because it reaches exactly the areas we need to talk to. When trophy hunters and guide outfitters are loading their boats and staging for bear hunts in Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert or Bella Coola, they’ll be hearing from all of us.But we’re not just talking to trophy hunters. We also want to reach the 95% of licensed BC hunters who agree that “you shouldn’t be hunting if you’re not prepared to eat what you kill”(1). Those are our kind of hunters, and we need them and their families on our side.

CFNR’s network includes broadcast towers in places like Telegraph Creek and Anahim Lake, Gitsegukla and Gitwinksihlkw — First Nations communities outside the Great Bear Rainforest, but where people share the same values when it comes to needless killing. We need those families on our side too.

If you or anyone you know lives in any of the 50 communities where they get CFNR, tell them to tune in, starting Monday! We want to spark conversations all over the coast about the difference between real hunters and trophy hunters.

You can preview our radio ads online by clicking here.

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to donate for this action. There will be other ways to help! We appreciate your support and look forward to telling you more good news as this movement grows.


Jessie Housty

On behalf of Megan, Jason, Doug, William, Frank, Jennifer, and the rest of the Coastal First Nations Bear Working Group.
1. New poll shows overwhelming support for First Nations ban on trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest | BearsForever.ca 


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