A grizzly turns to look toward the camera in the wet grass

20 years of work to end the sport hunting of grizzly bears

Help us end the trophy killing of large carnivores in the Great Bear Rainforest – now and forever.

Every year in BC a staggering number of bears, wolves, and other large carnivores are killed by hunters for trophies on their walls and floors. For two decades we have worked to end this senseless slaughter. In 2005, we began purchasing commercial trophy hunting tenures. By 2020, we have ended commercial trophy hunting in more than 35,000 square kilometres of the BC coast.  Our goal is to acquire all remaining tenures in the Great Bear Rainforest working in partnership with First Nations.

One of dozens of ads Raincoast ran to stop the grizzly hunt.

Economics of the grizzly hunt

Our economic report Crossroads: Economics, Policy, and the Future of Grizzly Bears in BC (PDF) showed that by 2003, grizzly bear viewing was already generating twice the annual revenue of all the guide outfitting associated with the grizzly hunt.  As part of the Crossroads strategy, we collaborated with coastal eco-tourism businesses to establish the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC.

The 2014 study, Economic Impact of Bear Viewing and Bear Hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia (PDF), undertaken by the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) found that revenue from bear viewing far outstripped revenue from the grizzly hunt.

Access to provincial kill data

The sport hunting of grizzlies occurs every spring and fall in BC
Until 2018, 300 – 400 grizzlies were killed by trophy hunters every year in BC.

In 2000, Raincoast filed a Freedom of Information request with the province of BC to get the grizzly kill data (we wanted numbers, location and sex). The ministry refused to provide it.  For five years Raincoast argued in the courts, and at every step, the ruling was in Raincoast’s favour, first by the Information and Privacy Commissioner, then by the Supreme Court of BC, then the Appeals Court of BC, then back to the Information and Privacy Commissioner to get the data in electronic format.

Buying hunting territories

In 2001, Raincoast achieved a three-year moratorium on the provincial grizzly hunt, only to have it overturned when the Liberal government came to power later in the year. Clearly, we needed a different strategy.

As the only permanent solution to stopping the trophy hunt appeared to be literally buying out hunting licenses, Raincoast and its supporters began purchasing hunting rights in 2005.  This initiative has saved dozens of grizzlies, black bears and wolves who would have been killed in the commercial trophy hunt.

As of 2020, Raincoast and its First Nation partners have acquired commercial trophy hunting rights in over 35,000 square kilometres of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. Our ultimate goal is to control all commercial trophy hunting territories on the BC coast, protecting not just grizzlies, but all carnivores from trophy hunting. We now stand poised to complete the job.

Watch The Price of the Prize, the CBC documentary that describes our work to end the grizzly hunt.

Read more about our purchase of commercial hunting rights →

Secured and remaining GBR trophy hunting territories as of 2020

Map of the Kitlope commercial hunting tenure in the Great Bear Rainforest, BC.