A grizzly bear was recently shot and killed near Fernie and conservation officers are looking for information.
According to local conservation officer Ryan Gordon, they received a call around 6 p.m. Monday from an individual who found a dead bear off River Road Extension around 5 km outside of Fernie.
He said they believe the incident occurred on Sunday (May 15), around the same time in the evening.
“There’s no lawful reason to hunt or kill a grizzly bear.”
Gordon said that boot prints were found on site that suggest two individuals were involved. He said there was no indication that the bear had charged, causing the shot to be fired in self-defense.
“I don’t know if it was a bear hunter who mistook it for a black bear, or if someone just shot the bear.”
“They shot it and left it and didn’t report it.”
The bear was shot once through the heart with a high powered rifle, according to Gordon.
The animal was about a 6-year-old adult female grizzly. No cubs were found in the examination of the scene.
“It would have been her first breeding year this year, so significant hit to the population.”
This is the first such incident of the season for the area, as bears have only just begun to wake up over the last couple of weeks, but Gordon said that it’s not an uncommon situation.
“It does happen every year, typically, which is not great.”
“If people find themselves in that situation, they are to report to the conservation officers.”
Gordon said the incident is not related to another recent situation involving a bear, where a dog was bitten and injured near What’s Up Doc trail on May 12.
“We’re just seeking public information (about the May 15 incident),” Gordon said.
“If anyone was in the River Road area on Sunday, and saw any vehicles in the evening, or any folks that were walking or hunting, just let us know via the RAPP line.”
The line can be reached and reported to anonymously at 1 877 952-7277.
This article by Joshua Fischlin was first published by The Free Press on 17 May 2022. Lead Image: A black bear spotted near Fernie in 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press).
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