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

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18.	(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Most Read