I would like to congratulate Advocate editorial writer Rick Zemanek for his well-thought out and researched editorial on our grizzly bear population.
Grizzly bears are known as the shy bear in areas where many grizzlies live, like the Yukon and Alaska. Their pristine environment is still as natural as it was 1,000 years ago.
Contrary to popular opinion, grizzlies are not the big, angry, mean and ferocious animal that will rip you apart at the first sighting of a human. Rather, grizzlies like to left alone.
They are a very inquisitive animal and they like to search you out, not to eat you, but to observe yo, and stand on two legs to better observe like we do.
Trouble starts when we run, or when we take an aggressive stance in their eyes. They react to that aggression.
They have areas called home ranges that is the area contained within a bear’s regular wanderings, and often overlaps with that of other bears.
Whereas territories are areas from which an animal or group of animals bars intruders of its own kind.
They mark out their territories with claw marks on trees, and by rubbing their bellies on young saplings, low shrubs and grass, leaving their scent. This is saying, “I’m not leaving this territory.”
When a person is out in the bush, and in the wild, and you see these markings, stay away. Leave that area. Whether you see a bear or not, they know you are there.
Respect their space and they will leave you alone. But go tromping around in their territory, and you, Mr. Human are looking for trouble, it will find you.
The best way for the grizzly to find you? Rip up his territory with your ATVs, chucking your beer cans and burger wrappings all around, staggering through the bush in a saliva dripping stupour. The bear wants your kind. They want you out of their territory.
Hence, bear attacks, and a human gets mauled or killed. Who pays the ultimate price? The bear.
We call this justice because the bear got a taste of human blood. But who instigated this scene? Sure as hell wasn’t the bear.
As for the Alberta Fish and Game Association, they think that they should be allowed a limited hunt to sustain bear numbers.
I say, confiscate all their guns and issue them cameras and they can do all the shooting their little hearts desire.
The best trophy they could ever hang on their wall is the picture of a real live grizzly bear that they shot from 30, 20 or 10 metres away, and lived to tell about it. That’s wild man.
After the fact, that should give them an adrenaline rush like no other.