Be prepared to eat what you shoot

Don Graham Grizzly bears will soon emerge from their winter dens, and you will shortly see them lolling about on the grassy roadsides nibbling on wild flowers. A proposed regulation would make it illegal to shoot grizzles during the spring hunting season


by Don Graham

Grizzly bears will soon emerge from their winter dens, and you will shortly see them lolling about on the grassy roadsides nibbling on wild flowers.

A proposed regulation would make it illegal to shoot grizzles during the spring hunting season within 30 metres of the centre line of a highway in southwest Yukon. But the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board has come out against this plan. Here is what I told the board when it requested input on whether new restrictions should be put on shooting these animals.

I would agree that it is a very good start to changes that will eventually have to take place in these changing times and our growing population and safety responsibilities. I do not think the 30 metres is wide enough when considering the range of a high-powered rifle, and I can see no reason why it should not be in effect for both spring and fall hunts.

I have lived in the Yukon for over 50 years, and have mainly hunted sheep and moose for 25 of those years. My bear encounters have been numerous and all favourable.

Now I only hunt mallard ducks by canoe for the challenge and grouse with my dog; I get just as much excitement stalking big game with my camera. My experience gained hunting bear many years ago was abruptly stopped when I viewed a kill site and the bear resembled a human being when it was skinned out.

It also seemed like a complete waste, as we only kept a small portion for consumption. Though it was quite good eating, the fellow that shot the bear took the skin home and likely never looked after it properly, as the hair fell out and he subsequently threw it in the garbage.

All I remember of that hunt was as we approached by riverboat what looked like a really large black bear, light brown in colour, stepping out from a thicket of large black poplar trees on the river edge and stood broadside to us. With a brilliant evening sun shining on him, his fur simply glowed. What a picture that could have been!

Of course, when we landed, it was only a small two- or three-year-old lying there and did sort of resemble a human. Thankfully I didn’t pull the trigger. No, the only bear I would have shot after that wasteful encounter would have been a bear charging within 50 feet of me with the first shot over his head, if I kept my nerve. That bear pelt I sure would hang on my wall and tell my great grandchildren (I have six) the exciting tale. Now, that’s what I would call a trophy.

It is not a trophy when you shoot a bear who is minding his own business in the ditch on the side of the road eating his favourite wild flowers. You step out of your vehicle, placing your elbow on the hood of your vehicle so you won’t wiggle too much, look through your 10-power scope and pull the trigger. Then to have the audacity to complain about bending over to skin the bear out because your poor muscles are so sore from sitting in your vehicle for the last seven boring, boring hours.

Upon reading some local newspaper articles last fall and also a Maclean’s magazine with a similar article, what I have observed is that the hunting lobbyist’s argument is that, “it’s their right” and “bears are public property.” It brings to mind our southern neighbours’ problem that they will never solve, “American gun culture.” It is a sad situation with their uncompromising determination to not change with the times. It may have been justified back before the Boer War but it isn’t justifiable in the 21st century.

I would suggest the Yukon Fish and Game Association take a low-profile stance and not force what they consider their rights or entitlements. And don’t go around showing a picture of yourself standing by your so-called trophy moose kill or any other wild game kill. I did this to my niece many, many years ago and got quite an earful from her.

We as hunters have to understand that the vast majority of Canada’s population, including the Yukon, simply frown on this sort of activity. And I always say: if you don’t eat what you shoot, don’t shoot it. That means bears and wolves too.

Don Graham lives in Whitehorse.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read