Baer fined for not reporting bear slayings

RMG file photo Grizzly bear
RMG file photo
Grizzly bear

by EVAN MATTHEWS

One charge has stuck in Dunster’s 2014 grizzly slayings.

Arland Harry Baer was fined $500 for failing to report killing or wounding of wildlife, the Ministry of Justice says. Baer killed a female bear and three cubs when they reportedly came onto his property in 2014.

With the exception of the one charge, all other charges were stayed, according to the Ministry.

The Crown originally laid six charges against 56-year-old Baer, including hunting game without required species licence, hunting and killing wildlife out of season, unlawful possession of dead wildlife, fail to report killing and wounding of wildlife, fail to state date or location of wildlife killed, and resist or obstruction of an officer from exercising duty.

Rory Smith, a sergeant for B.C. Conservation based out of Prince George, told The Goat in an interview that Conservation started an investigation roughly two years ago, and the investigation lasted roughly 12 months.

“As a result of that investigation, we determined four grizzly bears had been killed,” says Smith, confirming they had been shot. “How else would you kill a grizzly?”

There are approximately 15,000 Grizzlies in B.C., according to the provincial Ministry of Environment, which is 25 per cent of North America’s grizzly population. – Ministry of Environment

Baer owns a farm in Dunster and raises Holstein dairy and beef cows, according to Conservation.

The Wildlife Act, Smith said, has provisions to protect a property owner in situations similar to Baer’s.

“If you own property, and in protecting life or property, you can destroy animals if it’s justified under the act,” Smith said in an interview.

“But, you are required to report it right away,” he said.

It’s uncommon for Conservation or the Crown to pursue charges, according to Smith, but as soon as Grizzlies are involved, Conservation immediately pays more attention to the situation.

Grizzly Bears are currently listed as a species of concern, according to B.C. Conservation, though they are not endangered.

There are approximately 15,000 Grizzlies in B.C., according to the provincial Ministry of Environment, which is 25 per cent of North America’s grizzly population.

Since 1976, the Ministry of Environment says an average of 340 Grizzly bears a year are killed from human causes.

On average, the ministry says hunters legally kill 297 Grizzlies annually, while animal control officers kill 31 bears due to human/ bear conflicts. On average, eight are killed illegally, and four killed on roads and railways.

However, as the ministry points out, some illegal, and some road- and rail-caused deaths go undetected.

Anyone who comes in contact with wildlife is encouraged to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1 877 952-7277 Smith says.

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