Huge Tagish grizzly shot

Conservation officers shot and killed a starving grizzly bear near Tagish on December 6th. An area farmer first spotted the animal on Sunday.

Conservation officers shot and killed a starving grizzly bear near Tagish on December 6th.

An area farmer first spotted the animal on Sunday.

“It had altercations with his dogs and was on his porch looking in his windows,” said Ryan Hennings, Environment’s regional manager for the south.

“And he was worried about the well-being of his family and livestock,” said Hennings.

The bear was in the corral with the cows and goats, but didn’t harm the livestock, he added.

On the Monday, conservation officers visiting the property saw its tracks in the snow, but didn’t see the bear.

That night, the grizzly returned to the farm several times.

“He was causing great stress on the livestock and the farmer kept scaring him off,” said Hennings.

“But he didn’t have a firearm, and it was only a matter of time until that would no longer be successful.”

Tuesday, officers returned with a pot snare hoping to catch the bear — the pot with scent is tacked to a tree and when the bear sticks its paw in it, a snare springs around its leg.

Officers waited until 3 p.m., but saw no sign of the bear.

That evening the officers received another call from the farmer, and saw the bear in the field when they arrived.

They waited until 10 p.m., but the bear did not return.

On Wednesday when they returned, the officers found the grizzly had knocked the pot off the tree, unwittingly springing the snare.

That evening when the bear returned to the farm, it was shot approximately 150 metres from the residence.

“It’s never normal to shoot a bear,” said Hennings.

“But this was a public safety issue. The bear kept returning to the property and the owner had small kids and no firearm.”

The grizzly was an enormous male.

“People dropped their jaws when they saw it,” said Environment spokesman Dennis Senger.

“It’s bigger than average.”

Most Yukon grizzlies are around 150 or 180 kilograms, he said. But this bear weighed more than 260 kilograms.

Environment’s bear biologist thinks it may have wandered in from the Alaskan coast, added Senger.

“Because it was so big, it must have had lots of protein and food in its life.”

From the wear on his teeth, it’s estimated he was between 23 and 27 years old, said Hennings.

And he had no fat reserves.

“There have been a significant amount of bear occurrences this year,” he added.

“And the berry crop as a whole has not been good.”

Over the years, bears have been spotted this late in the season, said Hennings.

“But it’s not common.

“He was starving.”