A young girl poses with a bird at the Going Wild Event.
Pass Herald Reporter
Crowsnest Pass Fish and Wildlife had a busy year in 2012 and the year-end results are in. In 2012, there were 148 black bears, 27 grizzly bears, 13 wolves, and eight moose that were problem wildlife, numbers that are down from 2011. “It is important to note that these numbers include a number of things,” said John Clarke, Fish and Wildlife Officer. “It could carry from a sighting, human conflict or property damage.”
In 2012, three black bears were euthanized, one less than 2011.
There were 52 violations in 2012, including on liquor violations ob public lands, littering, trespassing and traffic offences. The percentage of anglers illegally using bait increased significantly this past summer. One weekend in July, there was a 75 per cent violation rate among anglers, with 40 per cent of them using bait.
Two men were convicted of driving Jeeps into the Carbondale River in 2012. Both were convicted of destroying fish habitat under the Federal Fisheries Act. Both were fined $3,600, of which $3,400 went to Trout Unlimited for a fishery habitat improvement project in the area.
The Bear Smart Committee had a busy year in 2012, contributing 1013 volunteer hours to the various program components.
Some highlights of the BearSmart program in 2012 were the completion of the first full season of monitoring radio-tagged black bears in the Volunteer Hot Spot Bear Monitoring Program.
There was development and presentation of age-specific BearSmart programming to several local school classes and the Boys and Girls Club and two apple round-ups with local students and community volunteers. “The BearSmart people had a very productive year,” said Clarke.
Changes that will occur in 2013 will include the Oldman dam, which now has a “Bait Ban” in place. This was put in place to protect the migratory and resident bull trout that use the water body at different times of the year- specially the late winter season. A stepped up enforcement program is in place to ensure compliance at the dam.
Also, proposed changes to catch and release on many local rivers that contain cutthroat trout, proposed regulation changes to archery, sheep, proposed changes to shorten the bighorn sheep season and to increase the wait time after harvesting a ram, proposed changes to allowing cougar hunters to carry a firearm in the morning on an off-highway vehicle and a proposed change that would require a black bear hunter to either salvage the hide or the meat are in the works.