I cannot begin to express my disappointment with the recommendation by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board that the proposed regulation to ban the roadside trophy hunting of grizzly bears should be scrapped .
I naively assumed that, although the bureaucratic wheels may turn slow, it was merely a matter of time until the board would act upon the passionate but reasoned views expressed by so many Yukoners, and we would have a law protecting these special creatures.
The board’s suggestion of a grizzly bear management plan may be a good idea, but these trusting animals need protection now!
Perhaps the board is conflating the issue with roadside hunting in general, as so many others are doing. I would remind everyone that it was the trophy killing of a beautiful blonde – and very trusting – grizzly along the Tagish road a couple years back that began this whole process.
We are not talking about a harvest of wild meat here. It is a trophy hunt, plain and simple. It involves a person stepping out of a vehicle, and killing a beautiful, rare and special animal that has learned to trust and will not even run away, not to feed a family, but to display its hide (or some other body part) as a moronic braggadocio statement of their hunting prowess.
I state again, how cowardly!
What a lie!
As a maintenance person for campgrounds along the Atlin Road, I have witnessed how this barbaric practice can undermine an otherwise thrilling experience for our tourists.
The joy our visitors express as they show me pictures and recount their sightings is undeniable. “The highlight of our trip!” has been a common refrain.
Unfortunately, I have also heard expressions of disappointment and sadness – and even shock and anger – as they recount finding the carcass on the side of the road of a grizzly that they had been viewing the previous day. As a representative of our territory, I was embarrassed, but did my best to reassure them that there are many of us here feeling the same outrage, and the law will soon be changed.
How naive I was. My faith that the board had the courage to bring our hunting regulations into the twenty-first century was obviously misplaced.
If we can keep the issue to just the original cause of the outrage – the trophy hunting of trusting grizzlies from the roadsides – would there really be many Yukoners still opposed to such a ban? Surely a vast majority of us can recognize the intrinsic value of grizzlies – not to mention the tremendous value they represent to our tourist industry – and would agree they are deserving of protection in such situations.
I respectfully call upon Environment Minister Wade Istchenko to complete the work the board should have done, and issue a moratorium on the roadside killing of grizzly bears until there is a law in place granting them the protection they deserve. Let’s bring our hunting regulations into the twenty-first century.