Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SPLENDOUR IN THE FRONTIER – A Yukon grizzly bear is seen in September 2018.

Hunting these bears should be banned in territory

Hunting season opened Aug. 1 in the Yukon.

By Whitehorse Star on August 17, 2022

Hunting season opened Aug. 1 in the Yukon.

This includes the hunting of grizzly bears – their meat is not edible so they are primarily hunted for their body parts.

Having reviewed the Yukon Grizzly Bear Conservation and Management Plan 2019, I found it puzzling that YG Environment does not have an accurate count of the grizzly bear population in the territory:

“.... there have been few field studies on their abundance in the territory. The number of grizzly bears in Yukon is estimated at 6,000-7,000 bears; however, the true value is unknown. This estimate was derived in the 1990s” ...as cited in the YG Conservation Plan for Grizzly Bears in Yukon 2019.

A lot has changed for this population since this estimate was conducted over 20 years ago.

I wonder if there have been any studies conducted since then on the impacts of climate change on the grizzly bear population – are they changing their behaviours?

Has the birthrate of cubs been affected based on available habitat/territory/food source etc.?

I am also wondering about the impacts on the population and their habitat as a result of the 271 wildfires in the Yukon so far this year compared to 42 fires recorded in 2021.

According to “Yukon Wildfire Updates”, the area burned this year was 175,283.6 hectares.

“…The amount of area that has been burned to date is nearly five times higher this year compared to last year at the same time, which was only 22,648 hectares”…Sissi De Flaviis, CBC News, posted July 10.

To think these fires did not have an impact on habitat, food sources and possible mortality of young cubs is naïve.

We know wildfires are a natural event and necessary for regeneration and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

However, the impacts of climate change have increased the number of fires and their intensity substantially, as demonstrated during this year’s fire season.

It only makes sense moving forward that an assessment of the impacts is essential to find out exactly what the effects are before quotas are determined for the grizzly bear population and other species, for that matter.

According to the conservation management plan, it appears decisions are being made regarding management of this species without having sufficient data that speaks to their true numbers.

Hunting of grizzlies should be banned in the Yukon. YG needs to be proactive rather than reactive – because by then, it may be too late for Yukon’s grizzly bears.

Lea Bayliss
Whitehorse

Comments (16)

Up 1 Down 0

Wilf Carter on Sep 25, 2022 at 11:00 am

Hunting is part of life in Yukon and leave it as it is. What foolish talk.

Up 6 Down 1

Anie on Aug 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm

Wow. Juniper posts to thank someone for their informative and well written post, and it gets 3 thumbs down. Sometimes people are just nasty. But thank you Juniper for being kind. I thought the info was interesting too.

Up 12 Down 4

Juniper Jackson on Aug 22, 2022 at 4:18 pm

Whoever wrote 'Juniper Jackson - Bear Meat Safety". THANK YOU!! Your's was a super interesting, informative read. Others might, but I did not know a lot of the information you provided. A really good post, and it ended all the disputes.

Up 13 Down 3

@Juniper Jackson - bear meat safety. on Aug 22, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Bears are omnivores, just like wild boars. worms, parasites, etc. That all comes with it eating odd stuff.
Whenever I chose to hunt a black bear and harvested the meat, always had it tested.

Some people choose to freeze the meat at -20C for extended periods of time to get rid of trichinosis, however the only surefire way is making sure you cook the meat to 160F.

A little more info more those who might not be aware.

Trichinosis is a roundworm parasite that lives in the muscle tissues of large carnivores and omnivores such as mountain lions, grizzlies, pigs, wild hogs, and of course, black bears. Also in walrus. There are 6 forms of the actual parasite, but the most common found worldwide is called T. spiralis. The parasite infects a host when the larvae (which are encased in cysts in the muscle tissue of an infected animal) are eaten. The stomach acid releases the larvae which grow in the small bowel and they release more larvae which encase in the host bodies, striated muscle groups. Simply put, the egg lives inside the meat, eating it releases the larvae, they move into the muscle group, and repeat the cycle.

While many symptoms develop after the initial 24-48 hours, symptoms gradually grow worse over time. Humans who have ingested the trichinella parasite will experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Over the next 2-8 weeks, the host will start experiencing muscle cramps, headaches, weakness, chills, and general malaise. Simply put, it’s all bad stuff.

Luckily, however, all this scary stuff is very easy to avoid. Killing trichinosis in the meat is as simple as cooking to the right temperature. 160 is more than ample temperature to kill all forms of trichinosis that may be living in the muscle tissue. While freezing for at least 20+ days is known to kill most forms of trichinosis I cannot recommend this method as there are strains resistant to freezing. Due to lack of samples, it is widely unknown exactly what strains our local black bear population may actually have. This is why it is important, that we, as a hunting community, provide samples to researchers.

As a reminder of general food safety, I would like to quickly address some simple steps that will ensure no danger will come from your bear meat.

Always keep raw, undercooked, or frozen meat away from any other ingredients until the meat has been cooked.
Always wash utensils between use when handling raw meat.
Trichinosis can be killed on utensils and cookware when washed with hot water. Bleach or other cleaning solutions are not necessary.
Ensure any bear meat has risen to at least 160 degrees in the thickest part, I encourage anyone to also let it rest as well to ensure it has cooked to 160 degrees throughout the meat

Up 7 Down 6

Juniper Jackson on Aug 22, 2022 at 10:12 am

In 1967 or 68, Sergeant James was the Dawson City RCMP. A bear had been killed and it was hanging in the RCMP garage. When it was skinned, ugly white worms started crawling out of its body. I was told that bear meat could not be eaten. That bears all had parasites.

Up 19 Down 8

Josey Wales on Aug 20, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Yeah...I also advocate we ban everything too.
We need to ban banning things.
Sorry all these political blowholes saying two different things on the daily is rubbing off on me.
We absolutely need to ban hunting anything based on race of the hunters.
Hey we could ban racism, by starting there!
Then we can flush equity hires too...
Hence the liberal censorship rules being rammed into our world.
Cannot have folks communicating freely online...yup ban that old concept.
I have a dream, that my little kids can one day hunt without being judged by the colour of their skin...but the content of their character.

Up 14 Down 14

motive unclear on Aug 20, 2022 at 12:22 pm

yeah sure, let's just ban all the things and get it over with..

Up 7 Down 18

Rambo on Aug 19, 2022 at 11:58 pm

If you can't eat a Grizz sandwich without the bread you don't belong in the Yukon high country.

Up 33 Down 11

Oya on Aug 19, 2022 at 4:45 pm

ALL trophy hunting should be banned, imo. Having lived here a long time and having known a lot of hunters, most that I know do not actively hunt grizzly bears. Black bears, yes; grizzly bears, no. That is not to say the meat couldn't be softened up, etc. and made good for eating, but it may be the reason they are not hunted the same as black bears.

I agree that there should be a ban on hunting grizzly bears. I am ok with hunting to put food on the table; I am not ok with hunting for the sake of hanging a deadhead on the wall or to put a rug on the floor.

I am in absolute shock to find out the Yukon does not have a good handle on the grizzly population. I thought knowing, understanding and managing our wildlife was the mandate of the department. I agree also with the comment about how forest fires must be impacting grizzly bears and all other wildlife, too. How do we not know what is going on with the grizzly bear population???

Up 22 Down 2

Charlie's Aunt on Aug 19, 2022 at 4:13 pm

Yes, bear meat is edible, but as with any big game meat care begins with field dressing through to cooking. A smart meat hunter may also be careful about the bear's diet unless they like their red meat with a fish flavor. The writer of the letter has used poor wording but I think most bears are killed, not for just body parts, but by trophy hunters who want a new rug to brag about. I'm neither condoning nor condemning that just pointing out what most of us think.

Up 16 Down 10

woodcutter on Aug 19, 2022 at 3:29 pm

Bear sausage is real good, no need to add pork.

Up 44 Down 4

North_of_60 on Aug 19, 2022 at 1:51 pm

Whether or not grizz meat is "edible" is arguable, nonetheless very few people hunt grizz for their meat. Grizz hunting is almost entirely sport hunting for trophy pelts, managed by influential outfitters who make a significant profit from the business.

Up 36 Down 10

Juniper Jackson on Aug 19, 2022 at 1:03 pm

Just speaking for me.. I am ok with hunting for food.. mankind, we ARE hunters/gathers after all. But, I am NOT ok for slaughter for the sake of killing something. It's like some people going out of their way on the road to kill a cat, or another animal. (Hey..i've seen it.. right in front of the old Kopper King). To slaughter for a horn? a rug? I think sport killing of wild animals is reprehensible and should be outlawed world wide. Some people like to kill stuff..and some people like the money they get to help them.

Up 27 Down 9

Patti Eyre on Aug 19, 2022 at 10:07 am

Oh Mitch, she's expressing her OPINION, and you starting off with a personal attack means you're counter argument doesn't exist. You've clearly already taken a year off.

Up 18 Down 4

SH on Aug 19, 2022 at 9:35 am

It's my understanding that grizzly bear is edible, although I imagine it needs to be prepped and cooked properly.

Up 23 Down 27

Mitch on Aug 18, 2022 at 2:06 pm

Says a city slicker. I've eaten bear, you stew it. How do you know it should be stopped if you don't have a study? Sounds like disinformation to me, anyone else? How about YG take a year off, you earned it.

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