Some B.C. hunters say the province’s move this week to ban trophy grizzly hunting is ‘wasteful’ and misinformed — with one hunter saying he received death threats for admitting he shot a grizzly.
Prince George hunter Steve Hamilton shot his only grizzly four years ago and described the “rush of emotion” when he killed the bear — only to be labelled a “wildlife murderer” and face online death threats for defending hunting and questioning the ban.
“People find it perfectly acceptable to wish murder on me and my family,” said Hamilton, president of the Spruce City Wildlife Association. His four-year-old daughter’s favourite food is organic bear sausage.
Hamilton is one of many hunters who believe the push to ban all grizzly hunting is driven by emotion, not science.
NDP says society ‘no longer in favour’
The grizzly hunt has long been a controversial hot-button in the province, and during the announcement of the ban this week, the NDP government suggested society as a whole no longer approved of hunting the giant predator for sport.
“It’s not a matter of numbers. Society has come to the point in B.C. where they are no longer in favour of a grizzly bear trophy hunt,” Natural Resources Minister Doug Donaldson told reporters Tuesday in a conference call.
Bear scientists agree that the estimated 15,000-grizzly population in the province is in no real danger because the number of bears killed each year — 250 — is controlled in a carefully managed lottery.
“It’s easy to point at hunting, but hunting is not the problem,” says Andrew Derocher, a University of Alberta bear expert, who says grizzly bears can be hunted in a sustainable manner in the province. Derocher said loss of habitat is a much bigger threat.
Under the new rules, it will be illegal after Nov. 30 to hunt grizzlies for sport — in which the animal is killed for its parts, a head, paws or hide, not its meat. Hunting grizzlies for their meat is still permitted.
But the trophy ban is causing backcountry backlash, as it did when then-premier Ujjal Dosajh brought in a three-year moratorium on hunting the iconic predator in 2001, only to see it quickly overturned when the B.C. Liberals took power that same year.
Outfitters say the new ban hits the hunting and outfitting industry, which brings…