U.S. hunters not welcome

Dear editor,

Today, I had a phone call from a man in Montana.  He was looking for rooms at our B&B for three men.  I asked if they were coming to Port Alice on business.  He said,  “No!  We are coming to hunt bears “.  I am sure I audibly gasped as he immediately asked me, “Is that a problem?”.  I told him ” We like our bears and I am very much against a bear hunt.”  His replied,  “You have lots of bears up there.  Last year, we got 54 in 4 days!”  I answered back, saying “And, we probably did not see six bears all summer when usually we could see six a day!”  I refused to have him and his friends stay at our B+B.

As Canadians, as North Islanders, as protectors of our forests and wildlife, we must stop this wholesale slaughter of our black bears.  The mother bears are just moving their babies out of the dens;  we are just starting to see last year’s cubs with their  moms betweeen the Port Alice road and Port Hardy; my husband and I  have seen one single big bear just outside Port Alice.

However, these hunters, from Montana,  are arriving in the North Island around May 13 so we won’t be seeing many bears after that date.  Last summer, everyone was commenting on the scarcity of bears in our area.  Well, now, we probably know why we saw so few.  Why do we have a bear hunt in the Spring when the babies are just coming out of their dens?  There is a second bear hunt every fall, as well.

All North Islanders need to fight back to protect our own natural resources. If the Americans had not shot all their own bears, they would not be coming to Canada to shoot ours. I have talked to the Conservation Officer Service who find my story incredulous. However, the officer did admit these hunters would probably not be booking their own accomodations if they were following the rules of hiring a qualified guide; the guides provide everything needed by the hunters.

I hope more people will do what we did;  refuse to accomodate hunters who are making their own reservations.  Be very vigilant and report anything that looks suspcious to conservation officers or the police.

Write letters of protest to our government who allow bear hunts in the spring. We must do everything possible to prevent the wholesale slaughter of our bears.

Bonnie Overland.

Inlet Haven B+B,

Port Alice