Port McNeill NHL player Clayton Stoner was legally licensed to hunt a grizzly bear in B.C. when he took a boar during a family hunting outing in May of this year.
But his hunt generated controversy last week when the Coastal First Nations released graphic photos of a bear’s discarded carcass in the Kwatna estuary as part of a documentary film designed to end bear hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest.
Other photos, published last week by the Vancouver Sun, show Stoner posing with the severed head of a grizzly bear, and decked out in camouflage fatigues. The image is believed to have been taken in May, 2013, by field technicians in B.C.’s Kwatna estuary.
The bear’s nickname was ‘Cheeky’, and it was being documented by filmmakers from Coastal First Nations (CFN). Last year, the CFN banned bear hunting on its territories.
The film was screened Sept. 4 at Telus World of Science.
“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” Stoner said in a statement released by his NHL club, the Minnesota Wild.
“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.
“I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”
The bear’s paws were also found severed, according to CFN, and the animal was skinned and its remains found left to rot.
Jessie Housty, a councillor with the Heilstuk First Nation, said Clayton identified himself with the makers of the CFN’s film, and said the PSA focuses on the hunted – not the hunters.
“We are not profiling any hunters in the film,” she told The Globe and Mail’s Andrea Woo and Wendy Stueck. “The issue for us is the broader hunting culture in B.C., not vilifying particular hunters.”
British Columbia authorizes black bear and grizzly bear hunting, and the CFN has been asked (by the province) to respect its authority over the bear hunt.
“We have some of the best biological scientists you will find anywhere in the world here in British Columbia, so the hunt for anything is carefully monitored and limited,” B.C. Premier Christy Clark said last week. “I am confident they are meeting scientific standards.”