A black bear grazes not far from the Kumdis River bridge. (Archie Stocker Sr./Haida Gwaii Observer)

Two black bears killed out of season

A carcass found at Kagan Bay and a report of another bear killed near Tlell sparked investigations.

A black bear carcass found at Kagan Bay and a report of another bear killed near Tlell have sparked two investigations for poaching.

Kyle Ackles, a Haida Gwaii conservation officer with B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, says that so far, there are no suspects in either case.

“If there is anyone out there who has information they could provide us, it would be appreciated,” he said.

At Kagan Bay, a resident reported finding a bear carcass with its snout removed approximately 10 days after the Haida Gwaii bear hunt closed on June 4.

Another resident reported that a bear was shot and killed near Tlell on Monday, June 26.

On Haida Gwaii, black bear hunting season runs from April 1 until June 30, or until four bears are killed and inspected — the season closes 72 hours after the regional manager posts notice that the quota was reached.

Ackles said hunters on Haida Gwaii typically hit the four-bear quota before June 30. If they don’t, a fall season opens for the remaining quota from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.

A black bear hunting licence costs $20 for B.C. residents, $180 for non-residents, and allows hunters to kill a lone black bear so long as it is at least two years old. It’s illegal to possess the gall bladder or genitalia, which are trafficked for traditional medicines. Other rules encourage use of bear meat.

Along with reporting poaching, Ackles said Haida Gwaiians can help local black bears by securing their home garbage until pick-up day, especially in spring and summer.

“Bears are very active right now,” he said.

“Once they get into the garbage and they develop that behaviour, it really leaves me with no options and ends with me having to put the bear down.”

Ackles recently had to do just that — a bear in Sandspit was habitually getting into unsecured garbage. Similar incidents have happened recently in Tlell, Miller Creek and Lawn Hill.

When it comes to locking up trash outside, Ackles said plywood boxes are no match for a black bear.

Besides a fully bear-proof bin, the best option for storing trash outside the house is in a shed, he said. Any fish parts going into the trash should be frozen until pick-up day.

To report poaching anywhere in B.C. call 1-877-952-7277.

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