The East Kootenay Conservation Officer Service (COS) is asking those responsible to come forward after a string of incidents over the past several weeks, including an illegally killed grizzly bear and illegally shot elk.
Patricia Burley, Conservation Officer for Fernie and the Elk Valley, explained that the COS received a report of a shot and left grizzly bear north of Elkford on the morning of September 30, 2021.
“A CO attended and found the grizzly bear 70 yards off the Elk River Forest Service Road (FSR) at 137.5 kilometres on the east side of the road in a cut block,” Burley said in an email to the Townsman. “The grizzly bear was a single sow that had a gun shot wound to its head. There is no open hunting season for grizzly bears in B.C.”
This is a violation of the BC Wildlife Act (WLA) under section 26(1)(c) – ‘kill wildlife not within open season’.
She adds that no one self reported having to kill the bear for protection, which is a requirement under WLA section 75(2) – ‘fail to report killing of game by accident or for protection’.
“The COS is looking for anyone with information regarding the unlawful killing of this grizzly bear which most likely occurred on September 29, 2021,” said Burley.
This is one of the worst seasons for five point elk being killed during a six point only season, Burley said.
“Aside from the self reported files the COS receives from the public, there are ones that are left to waste in the bush which are not reported by the hunters,” Burley explained. “On October 13, 2021, two five point bull elk were found and reported to the COS by a concerned hunter. The two bull elk were close to each other, 200 yards off the Round Prairie FSR in a cut block northeast of Elkford at the 129 kilometre mark. No meat was taken from the animals.”
The COS believes that these two elk were shot and left, unlawfully, on the morning of October 12, 2021. It is a violation under three sections of the WLA.
“This is a violation under WLA 26(1)(c) – ‘kill wildlife out of season’, 75(2) – ‘fail to report killing of game by accident’ and 35(2)(a) – ‘fail to retrieve wildlife’,” Burley adds. “The COS is looking to speak with the individuals involved in the killing of these elk. It is recommended that they come forward to the CO’s, as they have received a number of complaints regarding this file.”
At the end of September, the East Kootenay COS reported seven illegal animals being harvested within the first ten days of the hunting season. These were self-reported.
People are reminded to review the regulations, including online in-season changes or corrections. People must also be familiar with the specific regulations for the region and management unit that they are hunting in. The 2020-2022 hunting synopsis covers what to do with an illegal harvest, and how to comply with the legal obligations.
Violations can be reported to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) Hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-877-952-7277.
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