Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Coastal First Nations offer grizzly watching tour in exchange for LEH grizzly tag

by Press Release - Coast Mountain News

Professional bear guides from British Columbia’s Coastal First Nations are inviting a pair of lucky hunters to come shoot bears in the Great Bear Rainforest – using cameras instead of guns.

Spirit Bear Lodge, a First Nations-owned and operated facility, is offering an all-expenses-paid bear viewing experience in exchange for a Limited Entry Hunt authorization for grizzly bear within Coastal First Nations territories. The winner will be selected in a random draw, with additional prizes for runners-up.

The grand prize includes round-trip airfare for two, five nights’ deluxe island accommodation, and daily adventures deep into grizzly country with experienced professional guides. Guests will learn more about First Nations culture, wildlife science – and the vibrant new economy emerging on the coast.

“It’s a fact that bears are worth more alive than they are dead,” said Kitasoo/Xai’xais Stewardship Director and Spirit Bear Lodge guide Douglas Neasloss. “You don’t have to harvest a resource to get value from a resource. Bears bring huge value to coastal ecosystems, and to my community in terms of a sustainable economy.”

Spirit Bear Lodge employs 40 people in the remote community of Klemtu. Overall, bear viewing in the Great Bear Rainforest pumps 12 times more money into the province’s economy than bear hunting. In fact, Stanford University researchers concluded the coastal bear hunt actually loses taxpayers money.

Coastal First Nations is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. In 2012, CFN member nations issued a formal ban on trophy hunting for bears within their territories. The Province of British Columbia continues to issue kill authorizations in defiance of tribal law – and majority opposition by hunters.

“Like most hunters in B.C., I hunt to feed my family,” said Heiltsuk Coastwatch Director William Housty. “Whether you’re First Nations or not, it’s against our common values to kill animals for fun. If anyone’s still not convinced, I encourage them to leave their guns and come see these beautiful coastal grizzlies from our perspective.”

The prize offer applies to LEH hunt numbers 3005, 3006, 3007, 3008, 3128, 3129, 3130, or 3131, covering regions 5-08 and 5-09. Anyone holding a valid authorization is encouraged to contact Spirit Bear Lodge. This year’s LEH deadline is May 23. The trip would take place in September.

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