Government of Yukon

March 2, 2015

Roadside bear hunting recommendations released

WHITEHORSE—The Government of Yukon has waived the confidentiality requirement for the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board’s recommendations concerning the practice of hunting bears next to major highways, Minister of Environment Wade Istchenko announced today.

“This government believes it is important for all interested persons and organizations to learn of the board’s recommendations in a timely manner,” Istchenko said. “I have no specific comments at this time on the board’s recommendations, but can assure the public that my cabinet colleagues and I will be giving this matter considerable reflection before coming to a formal decision.”

First Nation Final Agreements give the minister up to 60 days to respond formally to the board, with the option of a 30-day extension. Minister Istchenko received the board’s recommendations on February 2.

“The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board appreciates the minister’s decision to waive the confidentiality provision on this matter,” board chair Bob Dickson said. “There was considerable public interest in this issue so we will look forward to the minister’s response. In the interim, we have shared our recommendations with renewable resources councils.”

With respect to its proposed regulation change – which would make it unlawful to harvest grizzly bears during the spring hunting season within 30 metres of the centre line of a highway in southwest Yukon – the board has recommended that the minister:

  • set aside the proposed regulation change;
  • support the development of a grizzly bear management plan for Yukon; and
  • support an educational initiative that emphasizes safety considerations and the intrinsic value of grizzly bears, both to wildlife viewers and to hunters.

In 2014 the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board and the Department of Environment formed a committee to research the issue and develop options for public review.

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Elaine Schiman
Cabinet Communications

Nancy Campbell
Communications, Environment

Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board
Graham Van Tighem

News Release #15-070