Alberta Fish and Wildlife looks for answers after young grizzly shot in northern Alberta

A young grizzly bear was found shot to death south of Grande Prairie on Sept. 15, 2018.
A young grizzly bear was found shot to death south of Grande Prairie on Sept. 15, 2018. Credit: Facebook: Alberta Fish and Wildlife

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers are looking to speak with people who were in northern Alberta last week after a young grizzly was found shot.

At around 12:40 p.m. on Sept. 15, a report was made about a young grizzly found dead at kilometre-42.5 of the Weyerhaeuser main haul road south of Grande Prairie.

There, officers found a one-year-old female grizzly with a single gunshot wound.

READ MORE: Video captures Alberta man’s dangerously close encounter with grizzly, cubs at Kananaskis campsite

Officers believe it was shot just a few hours before the call had been made and that it was killed where it was found.

“Rigormortis hadn’t set in yet when it was found and also because there were no tracks or signs that the bear had been moved from somewhere else to that location,” Brendan Cox, spokesperson for the Alberta government, said.

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It also appears the bear was standing when shot, but Cox doesn’t believe the shooting was in self defence.

“Given the bear’s small size and the location that it was found, it’s not likely that the bear posed a direct threat to the shooter.”

According to a Facebook post, Fish and Wildlife officers carried out compliance checks with hunters in the area in an effort to find those involved and get more information.

READ MORE: ‘Absolute and complete rubbish:’ Alberta to release rehabbed bear cubs this fall

Cox said officers spoke to a number of hunters in the area, asking if they’d seen or heard anything unusual. He couldn’t reveal any information they may have received.

Grizzlies are a threatened species in Alberta and Cox said the maximum punishment for killing one is $100,000 and/or one year in jail.

“The bottom line is we need more information and we are asking anybody that has information to come forward and to phone us or they can go to the website and send us a note through there.”

Anyone with information about what may have happened is asked to call the district office at 780-538-5265 or the 24-hr Report A Poacher line.

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Information can be submitted anonymously.

Meanwhile, an outfitting company is offering a reward for anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction.

Alberta Advantage Outfitters promised a $500 cash reward and a guided Alberta resident hunt for any species they offer.

“If there’s poachers and criminals running around killing them illegally, that makes all hunters look bad and sheds a negative light on the whole grizzly bear situation in Alberta,” owner Chris Gerritse said.

“If it had been a deer, if it had been an elk, if it had been something you can hunt legally, it doesn’t change that someone broke the law and made all of us look bad.”

Gerrite said he had been in touch with Fish and Wildlife investigators about the shooting, but wouldn’t say what they spoke about.

Cox said he wasn’t sure how the offer of a reward from a private company would work, but said Fish and Wildlife appreciates the effort to help get to the bottom of the occurrence.

He added that the best way to report information is through the Report-A-Poacher hotline or website.