Alberta group advocates for limited grizzly bear hunting

Bear 148, who was killed by a hunter in B.C. Sunday, couldn’t have been legally shot in Alberta due to the government’s hunting regulations. CynCyr Photography / Submitted

The events that led to the relocation of Bear 148, who was killed by a hunter in British Columbia on Sunday, are examples of why Alberta should allow grizzly bears to be hunted, according to one provincial group.

In July, the bear was moved 500 kilometres northwest of her home after a number of encounters with people in the Canmore and Banff area. It had wandered across the provincial border into B.C. where it was killed in an unprotected area.

READ MORE: Hunter that killed Bear 148 in B.C. knew she was wearing a tracking collar

“The Bear 148, it had got habituated to living around people, which is a dangerous situation,” Wayne Lowry, the Alberta Fish & Game Association’s (AFGA) past president, said in an interview on Thursday.

“You just never know what to expect out of the behaviour of any grizzly bear at any time,” he said. “They’re very unpredictable and obviously very dangerous.”

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For years, the AFGA has advocated for a limited grizzly bear hunt to be reinstated in Alberta, after it was suspended in 2006. The animal has been designated a “threatened species” in the province since 2010.

“Generally, [the hunt] would be just in locations where there is an abundance of grizzly bears, such as the southwest part of the province,” Lowry said.

“Grizzly bears need to understand that there’s boundaries and having a hunt establishes those boundaries.”

Lowry said many hunters appreciate the animal, but the species is encountering more humans in recent years. He pointed to a study by a University of Alberta scientist, who found the number of interactions between grizzlies and humans in the southwestern portion of the province had increased since 2006.

READ MORE: Encounters between grizzly bears, humans rising in southern Alberta: study

“It’s a very iconic animal and it’s a very revered animal as well,” Lowry said.

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“As hunters, we share in that appreciation as well… but we also recognize the fact that there needs to be proper management of the grizzly bears.”

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