Wildlife board to consult on roadside bear hunt

There are few issues that divide Yukoners so thoroughly as whether or not the hunting of bears along roadsides should be permitted. Tomorrow evening the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board will host a meeting...

There are few issues that divide Yukoners so thoroughly as whether or not the hunting of bears along roadsides should be permitted.

Tomorrow evening the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board will host a meeting to hear from those who like to shoot bears with cameras and those who like to shoot them with guns.

The wildlife board formed a joint working group with Yukon Environment last year to review roadside hunting in the territory.

Tuesday’s meeting will offer the public an opportunity to be heard by members of the working group before it makes recommendations to the environment minister.

While conflict between wildlife viewing and hunting along Yukon’s highways has been a constant feature in recent years, tensions flared in May of last year when a hunter legally shot a blonde grizzly along the Tagish road.

Currently it’s legal to hunt bears along most Yukon roads, provided the gun is not shot from or across the road surface and the hunter is at least a kilometre from the nearest residence.

But tourists and local residents had become attached to that particular bear, who had become a familiar sight along the road.

Many protested that it isn’t sporting to shoot bears along the roadside that have been accustomed to the presence of humans.

Carcross resident Greg Karais started a Facebook page called “Yukon Hunting Rules Need to Change” to push for revised rules.

As of today, 1,048 people have “liked” that page.

A second group, “Yukon Hunting Rules Stand Firm,” was formed in reaction to the first, promoting roadside bear hunting as an ethical practice.

That group currently has 199 supporters.

The public meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in the multi-purpose room.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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