British Columbia’s controversial spring grizzly bear hunt now open

The Globe and Mail

DENE MOORE

VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press

Published 

British Columbia’s controversial spring grizzly bear hunt opened Tuesday, with one of the highest number of hunting authorizations issued in decades.

Based on government counts that showed stabilization of specific grizzly populations previously closed due to overhunting, the government reopened several areas to hunting this year. An estimated 1,800 authorizations will be issued, up from about 1,700 last year but lower than the 1,980 issued in 2011.

“I think we have the best idea [of the population] of any of the jurisdictions that hunt bears right now,” said Garth Mowat, a provincial government grizzly bear biologist in the Kootenay region…

Biologist Paul Paquet of the Raincoast Foundation said it’s extremely difficult to get a proper count of grizzly bears and there could be far fewer – too few to risk a trophy hunt.

“The real numbers could be somewhere as low as 6,000 or as high as 18,000. We just don’t know,” Paquet said…

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