By Martin Wissmath
Hinton Fish and Wildlife are asking the public for information about a grizzly bear that was illegally killed north of town last month.
A mature female grizzly was shot and killed sometime last month, according to Fish and Wildlife. Local officers received a complaint of the grizzly bear poaching Oct. 22 north of Hinton. The bear carcass was located near the Berland and Wildhay Rivers in Wildlife Management Unit 344, according to a media release.
Fish and wildlife officers investigated the scene and determined the bear "had been shot and then dragged into the nearby bush and concealed with moss and logs," states the media release. "The bear was likely killed over the Thanksgiving long-weekend."
Officers also discovered several recently used hunting camps in the area.
If convicted, poachers could face a fine of up to $100,000 and up to two years of jail time. The maximum fine was increased from $5,000 in 2003.
Adam Jalbert, Hinton Fish and Wildlife officer, said this sort of incident is rare and he doesn't recall a grizzly being poached in the area before.
There is no legal hunting season for grizzly bears in Alberta. A moratorium on grizzly hunting was put in place in 2006 out of concerns for the declining population. The Alberta Wildlife Association estimates there are about 700 of the animals left in the province.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife is offering a reward for anyone with information about the illegal bear killing. The Report A Poacher hotline can be reached at 1-800-642-3800. More....