It is disconcerting to see that, again, there is news about the government of Yukon considering hunting bans around Yukon roadways.
This is the second year Ken Gabb has managed to draw the attention of the media and, apparently, friends in high places, in his bid to change what has been standard practice since Yukon saw its first road.
We find it concerning that Gabb and, to some extent, Minister Edzerza, feel free to dramatize at length what they feel to be possible risks and pitfalls of road hunting, while they both come up distinctly short in one area. Evidence.
Last year Gabb stated that road hunting hurts tourism. We invite him to prove it. Road hunting and tourism have always co-existed in Yukon, and both have done very well, thank you very much. If Gabb has real evidence to the contrary, he should present it for the public to see.
Gabb described road hunting on the Atlin Road as “an opportunistic slaughter,” after he was upset a hunter legally harvested a grizzly bear he had spent time watching (News May 21). Curious about this previously unknown “slaughter” of grizzlies on the Altin Road, we checked the Yukon hunting regulations summary we had on hand, and, in the 2007-2008 season, in Game Zone 9, where Gabb resides, one grizzly bear was harvested; and not necessarily by the road, either. “An opportunistic slaughter,” Gabb? Really? One grizzly?
Gabb, and Edzerza, also bring up road hunting in terms of safety; according to Gabb, “No matter which way you skin it, it’s a public safety issue.” (News May 21). Again, powerful statements that would seem concerning, but for a total lack of evidence presented. If Gabb or Ezderza have real proof that people are actually being shot by road hunters then we would be the first to say we need to seriously look at this issue. Until such proof is put forth however, the alleged “public safety issue” doesn’t exist.
Even more unusual than the apparently idle speculation about public safety are Edzerza’s statements regarding wounded grizzly bears mauling people. Again, if the minister is privy to solid evidence that grizzlies wounded by road hunters are mauling Yukoners, and that other grizzlies are not, then he should present this evidence for the public good.
What Gabb, and apparently Edzerza, are suggesting with their “no hunting” corridors, is to legislate an end to hunting rights that Yukoners have always enjoyed. Before any level of good government passes legislation repealing its citizenry’s existing rights, they need to first prove that there is a real problem, and secondly, prove that repealing its citizenry’s existing rights is the only solution to that problem.
We see none of this going on here. Yukon legislators need to live up to their responsibilities to all Yukoners, and not even consider acting on Gabb’s and Edzerza’s suggestions until a much, much, better case has been made regarding the need to do so.