Bear management a must: outdoorsman

The provincial government must get serious on protecting grizzly bears which are increasingly being pushed out of their habitat by resource and recreational activities, says a Central Alberta outdoorsman.

The provincial government must get serious on protecting grizzly bears which are increasingly being pushed out of their habitat by resource and recreational activities, says a Central Alberta outdoorsman.

Bob Scammell of Red Deer said he believes the province must pay more attention to bear management.

Part of that involves preventing some mineral development and recreational access, like ATVs, in areas where bears frequent, he said.

“They’re moving east,” said Scammell, a longtime columnist with the Red Deer Advocate. “The people of Sundre are contending this is what’s been happening the last three years.”

Last fall, a Didsbury hunter was killed by a grizzly sow west of the Little Red Deer River in Mountain View County. Last month, a pair of miniature donkeys were killed by bears near Sundre. The grizzlies were trapped and relocated.

Scammell said the province should consider setting aside wild areas where the grizzlies can survive.

“We should set a big enclave for them, set the boundaries and then allow people to hunt them beyond those boundaries,” said Scammell. “Bears that insist on extending their range are dead.”

He also believes officials should study initiatives done in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. A park foundation there is fundraising to buy “bear boxes”, large bear-proof, storage containers.

Scammell was reacting to news that Alberta Sustainable Resource Development is delaying a decision on lifting a three-year-old ban on grizzly hunting until a thorough review is done on numbers and bear habitat.

An independent reviewer will first go over information and reports about grizzly bear numbers. A report will be compiled for a scientific peer review.

The process is expected to continue into 2010.

“Probably no one will ever know how many grizzlies there are in this province,” Scammell said. “But if a real effort is made to find out, including a peer review, then that is a good idea.”

Scammell, a past president of the Alberta Fish and Game Association, said the postponement is good because “all parties to this dispute are really being a little emotional, if not stupid about it.”

Wildlife groups believe there are fewer than 500 grizzlies in the province; therefore, they should be declared a threatened species.

The Alberta Fish and Game Association wants the hunt reinstated, citing recent fatal attacks on humans and animals in the Sundre area.

The grizzly hunt was suspended in 2006 over concerns that numbers were too low.

Kathy Blain, a Mountain View County councillor and chairwoman of the county’s BearSmart Society, said the group hasn’t weighed into the controversy.

“Our focus is mainly education, notification,” she said. “There are bears in the area and our intent is keeping people and bears safe.”

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read