COs investigating bear shooting incident

Sow shot leaving two orphaned cubs, near McGinty Lake

One of the cubs in a tree after the sow was shot. COs put down one cub and say the chances the other survived are slim.

One of the cubs in a tree after the sow was shot. COs put down one cub and say the chances the other survived are slim.

Several area residents have been upset about the results of a bear hunt last Wednesday night, May 6 in the McGinty Lake area in Meadowbrook, north of Kimberley, where a sow was shot, leaving two orphaned cubs.

As described in a letter to the Editor this week by Dave Quinn:

“The baying of hounds crashing through the bush, the roaring of trucks following, and then four shots, followed by four more. Obviously many of the shots fired into the air missed, and the bullets went…where? The final shot was followed by the hoots and hollers of excited males, obviously proud that they were able to hit a stationary animal cornered in a tree. Bear hunters: please consider not hunting in the spring. If you feel the need to do this, please take the time to ensure you are not killing sows, as the cubs are likely not with them after a long hound chase.”

In this case, two cubs were left orphaned. COs put one down due to malnutrition. The very young cub had been away from its mother for at least five days by the time it was found, says CO Sgt. Ray Gilowitz.

Gilowitz says CO’s are investigating the incident and have identified the hunters involved.

“There is a legal hunt; spring bear season is open,” he said. “However, it is illegal to hunt a black bear less than two years old or any bear in its company.

“In terms of what can happen while hunting, it may not at all times be possible to determine the bear is a female with cubs. If you see cubs, you can’t hunt it. Sometimes you can tell if it’s female and you can choose to make a decision on whether to harvest it or not. That said, we do have an investigation going which we believe is associated with the orphaned cubs.

Regardless of whether the hunters could determine the sex of the bear they harvested, they have responsibilities, Gilowitz says.

“The responsible hunter should be able to determine it was a lactating mother and advise us of that so that action can be taken.

“We are investigating something that took place several days prior (to the one cub being found).”

Gilowitz says the cubs were very young, and would have been born during hibernation this past winter.

“From the information we have, two separate cubs were seen. The one cub that was put down by Conservation Officers due to malnutrition. The other one is out there somewhere. I don’t expect it’s fate to be a good one,” he said.