A B.C. man is on the hook for $8,001 after mistakenly killing a grizzly bear while hunting for black bears.
Martin Chalupiak was bow hunting near Powell Lake when he fatally shot the bear in September, 2016, said Powell River Conservation Officer Andrew Anaka.
“Evidence presented in the case indicated he observed the bear for up to 15 minutes from only 20 metres away when he shot it with a bow and arrow mistaking it for a black bear,” he said.
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On Thursday, he was handed a $1 fine and has been ordered to pay another $8,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund after admitting in court that he had killed the grizzly during a closed season.
He was also handed 12 months probation and a ban on hunting in B.C. until he takes a hunting education program and pays his fines.
“Hunters are expected to know the difference between black bears and grizzly bears when they’re out hunting,” Anaka said. “There’s training available to do that, and the cost of making an error is significant.”
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The grizzly, a sow, was known to the Conservation Officer Service (COS), and had been successfully relocated from an urban location in Powell River to the Homfray Channel in 2010.
Anaka said her death will be a blow to the region’s grizzly stock. There are only about 115 of the bears living in her population unit, which spans an area of 110,000 square kilometres.
“This grizzly bear was of particular value to her species and to the people of British Columbia. She was reproductive age, with the potential to raise several litters of cubs and contriubte to the population of grizzly bears in Powell River,” Anaka said.
Late last year, the B.C. NDP government completely banned grizzly hunting in the province, expanding on a previous trophy hunting ban which had allowed people to kill the bears for meat.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations has estimated there are 15,000 grizzly bears in B.C., and that about 250 are killed each year.
-With files from Estefania Duran