The roadside is no place to shoot grizzlies

The roadside is no place to shoot grizzlies In my opinion there is no good reason to allow roadside grizzly hunting and several very good reasons to end it. These reasons are based on conservation concerns, economics and ethics. Worldwide grizzly bear p

In my opinion there is no good reason to allow roadside grizzly hunting and several very good reasons to end it. These reasons are based on conservation concerns, economics and ethics.

Worldwide grizzly bear populations have declined dramatically in the last century. We need to respect these magnificent and iconic animals and manage them cautiously and respectfully.

I think it is important that we do not encourage bears to come to roadsides and that we ensure vegetation seeded along our highways does not attract them. Unfortunately some grizzlies are attracted to roadsides due to the forage they find there. Once bears take to foraging beside a road some of them will learn through experience that they do not need to run from vehicles. Based on what I have seen, I believe that females and immature bears are more likely to adapt in this way.

Bears that do not flee from an approaching vehicle make for great wildlife viewing, but become very vulnerable to hunters.

Tourism is the largest private sector employer in the territory. The 2012 summer visitor exit survey found wildlife viewing opportunities were the number one attraction for tourists visiting the Yukon.

I believe that grizzlies would likely top the list of animals tourists want to see – not to mention the enjoyment they give to many Yukon residents. Seeing a grizzly might well be the highlight of a tourist’s trip to the Yukon. Given the importance of tourism to the Yukon’s economy I think it is clear that these animals are worth significantly more to our society than the $25 the government gets for someone to shoot one. A roadside grizzly can provide enjoyment for hundreds of people or a “trophy” for one individual.

I am not necessarily opposed to all roadside hunting. Most people eat what they shoot and hunting is as much about filling their freezer as it is about recreation or “sport.” For me this is an important distinction.

However, most grizzlies harvested in Yukon are not taken for food but rather for “sport” and are considered “trophies.” So in the context of roadside grizzly hunting you have a bear that has been attracted to the roadside due to the forage it finds there and has adapted so it no longer runs from vehicles including the approaching hunter.

What kind of sportsmanship is it when you shoot an animal that doesn’t perceive you as a threat and doesn’t flee? In my opinion there is no sport in this and, with all due respect, borders on the pathetic. It is simply liquidating an animal that hundreds of other people could enjoy.

If someone wants the “sport” of shooting a grizzly, then go grizzly hunting where you have to find and stalk a wary animal. Better yet, hunt with a camera, or go out there with a spear and a few dogs like the Inuit used to do with polar bears. Now that would be a trophy I would respect!

Mark Connor

Whitehorse, Yukon

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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read