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A complaint levied by the Raincoast Foundation as resulted in an investigation of Clayton Stoner’s controversial grizzly hunt by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.
Leaked photos showing Stoner holding the head and paws of the grizzly that is featured in the Coastal First Nation’s documentary film, ‘Bear Witness,’ resulted in a frenzied debate across the province about the moral and ethical issues surrounding the trophy hunt.
In addition, local First Nations claim that the government has no jurisdiction over the hunt on the Central Coast, citing longstanding issues around land claims and rights and title.
The Raincoast Foundation is alleging that it is highly unlikely Stoner had spent the required six months residing in B.C. before the hunt, as the player lives most of the year out of province.
The basic definition of resident requires a person to have their primary residence in B.C. and have “been physically present in British Columbia for the greater portion of each of six calendar months out of the 12 calendar months immediately preceding the date of” a licence application.
Brian Falconer of Raincoast said Stoner was living and working in Minnesota and given the length of the NHL season “it would appear implausible that he could have been physically present in B.C. for the time required to qualify as a resident.”
Falconer said a person has to provide evidence of their being a resident of B.C. before they can be issued a Resident Hunter Number card.
“If he is not a resident he shouldn’t have been issued with Resident Hunter Number card nor should he have been allowed to enter the Limited Entry Hunt lottery to kill a grizzly,” said Falconer.
Brennan Clarke, a spokesman for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, which administers hunter licensing, said that a complaint had been received from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation that the bear may have been killed illegally. “It’s something we have to look at,” said Clarke.
As the fall hunting season approaches, the Coastal First Nations issued a press release stating they plan to keep enforcing the ban on bear hunting on the Central Coast.
The release includes the duties of the Coastal Guardian Watchmen, who are tasked with patrolling the area. According to the release, “In the course of their duties, Guardian Watchmen may approach suspected hunting vessels to provide education about the ban, and to encourage bear hunters to pursue other activities. If hunters persist, CGW personnel may warn bears out of target estuaries.”