April 8th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 14
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Bear hunting tips from Fish and Wildlife
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Bear hunting tips from Fish and Wildlife officer John Clarke.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
With the simultaneous arrival of spring and hunting season, Fish and Wildlife is asking sportsmen to move a little bit further from town so that wildlife remain the only creatures being hunted.
“With the nicer weather more people are hiking and hunters need to be aware that we have all these people on the trials(TRAILS),” said Blairmore Fish and Wildlife officer John Clarke.
Black bear hunting season runs from April 1 to May 31.
Clarke said some hunters have been hunting too close to town and alluded to some sportsmen who have been driving up and down the Old Frank Road and Frank Slide Interpretive Centre area looking for bears.
Several hikers and dog walkers use these areas also and are a little nervous when meeting individuals with firearms on the trails or roadways.
Over the past couple of years, there have been incidents where grizzlies have been shot when hunters mistook them for black bears in the vicinity of Claresholm, Cardston and other areas.
According to Environment and Sustainable Resource Development’s (ESRD) website, 31 of Alberta’s grizzlies died in 2013, 13 were killed through human conflict, including road fatalities, and 11 were slain by poachers.
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The cases have gone through the courts and the perpetrators have been fined up to $10,000 and have faced jail time.
“Maybe [hunters] should read up on the identification of bears and know the difference between a grizzly bear and a black bear,” said Clarke.
The Pass has been designated Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 303 meaning people can hunt within the municipality but Clarke said this leaves careless hunters open to penalties for weapons offences.
“When you’re starting to hunt so close to town, you’re facing the issue of hunting too close to homes… you have to be more than 200 yards from a home,” he said. “ If you accidently shot towards homes or individuals walking you could face charges such as dangerous hunting or careless use of a firearm under the Criminal Code, resulting in a criminal record.
Clarke cautioned hunters to be aware of surrounding structures and people before shooting.
“As a hunter, you own that bullet as soon as you pull the trigger,” he said.
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April 8th ~ Vol. 85 No. 14
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