LETTER: Many reasons to continue grizzly hunt

Dear editor,

I address this letter to the NDP Government and all those well meaning people with strong opinions but little understanding of the realities of grizzly population dynamics or the reasons other people hunt them.

A lot of people have been bear watching at places like Glendale Cove in Knight Inlet on the BC coast. It is usually a pastoral setting with bears lounging around or feeding on the grass flats. It is easy to understand why many of those people would question hunting grizzlies. However even if bear watching were to see exponential growth it would still only occupy a small percentage of grizzly habitat in B.C.

Ending trophy grizzly hunting in all the rest of BC will only harm the grizzly population overall. Why is that? They will no longer be a valued game animal. Bear hunting brought money and jobs to rural BC people. Instead the bears will be worthless monetarily and in fact for many will become just a dangerous varmint. People will do what they must and simply shoot and leave bears in the bush. The Game Department can do little to stop that, they are spread too thin. Millions will be lost to outfitters, guides and suppliers from what should be a sustainable resource. The government will have to compensate those businesses, we will all pay for that.

Beyond economics there is another looming threat to grizzly numbers that will now come to the front. You people that have been to Glendale may have noticed that mothers with first-year cubs are seldom seen on the flats with other bears. Why is that and why are mother bears so notorious when it comes to protecting their cubs? Her main concern is trying to protect her cubs from the large males. They will kill small cubs for the protein and because the female will cycle into heat a year sooner than if she had cubs nursing into their second season.

Grizzlies are numerous in back country BC and a harvest of 250 per year out of 15,000 is no threat to the bears. It is the hunters who care about and have looked after the bear population. I seriously doubt many people who are against hunting will lift a finger to help bears in future.

The NDP says hunters can still hunt grizzlies but must leave the hide, claws and head in the bush. That is a terrible waste and having the hide made into a rug or mount to keep at home refreshes memories of a hunting experience without equal.

We all know that this is a political decision but it is absolutely not a will foe grizzlies or the Province in the long run.

Mike Cullen

Courtenay