A 70-year-old man from Roberts Creek has been given a $1,000 fine after injuring a bear with a 22-calibre rifle in 2012.
The man was charged by conservation officers with “hunting or carrying a firearm without a licence,” after some other charges were dropped.
He was tried in Sechelt provincial court last week, where he pled guilty.
“We could have proven probably another three charges in this case had we caught up with this bear and extracted the bullet from its hind end and linked that bullet to the firearm that was seized from this gentleman in Roberts Creek, but we couldn’t,” said conservation officer Dean Miller. “We were close last year. There were subsequent calls of a limping bear in that area.”
In the spring of 2013 conservation heard about a limping bear, malnourished and drooling, being aggressive in the Roberts Creek area. Once traps were set, however, the bear never returned.
Conservation officers believe the bear was the one shot in 2012 and that it has now died, as reports have stopped coming in.
“What to me is the most grievous thing in this is the fact that this animal suffered and that it was never reported. If you shoot and injure wildlife there is an expectation you phone the conservation officer service and report it or phone the police and report it,” Miller said.
The Creek man shot the bear in 2012 after it repeatedly came after the chickens he was keeping, Miller said.
Conservation officers were told about the incident through an anonymous tip after reports of a limping bear in the area started coming in.
“If anyone is having conflict with any wildlife we’d like them to phone into the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) call centre and if the call centre operator can’t help problem solve the situation with the cougar or the bear then the conservation service can probably provide quite a bit of direction on how to deter wildlife from livestock,” Miller said.
“If that fails then we can take more of an intervention model and solve the problem on site.”
In this case, Miller would have suggested an electric fence around the chicken coop to keep the bear at bay.
“An electric fence really is the best deterrent for wildlife,” he noted.