B.C. Man Charged for Baiting Grizzly Bears
May 12, 2011
The Vancouver Sun
A member of a prominent family-owned Prince George, B.C., lumber company has been fined $2,500 following an investigation by provincial conservation officers into a citizen's complaint of bear-baiting in a remote B.C. park.
Kevin Novak, who is with Dunkley Lumber Ltd., pleaded guilty May 4 in provincial court to one count of placing bait.
Novak placed fish parts above the high-water mark, potentially attracting dangerous wildlife to an estuary in Foch-Gilttoyees Provincial Park in Douglas Channel, about 40 kilometres southwest of Kitimat, B.C.
Of the fine, $100 goes to general revenue and $2,400 to grizzly management. Novak is also suspended from hunting for one year.
Another charge of hunting bears by placing bait was stayed.
"It sends a strong message that the province is concerned about the protection of bears and that when hunting occurs it is done ethically," conservation officer Sgt. Darryl Struthers said.
Aboriginal people say the other message is that B.C. Premier Christy Clark should put an end to the old days of wildlife management and act immediately to stop trophy-hunting in provincial parks.
"A lot of the public should have a better view of B.C. parks," Marven Robinson, a Gitga'at councillor, said Thursday. "It's a joke. When the public hears about a new park, they think, 'OK, it's got wicked protection. It's going to be left the way it is.' The public doesn't have a clue."
Gerald Amos, president of Coastal First Nations, agreed that his people are "opposed to big-game hunting, particularly in protected areas," including by commercial guide-outfitter operations.
Amos emphasized he is not opposed to subsistence hunting, and Robinson said that while his people have an aboriginal right to hunt in Foch-Gilttoyees, they have not.
Trish Boyum, of Ocean Adventures, an ecotourism company that reported Novak's crime to conservation officers, said tour operators along the north coast support the aboriginal position.
"We strongly disagree with trophy-hunting, especially in B.C. parks. Most British Columbians don't even know that it goes on."
Boyum said that on the early evening of June 11, 2009, she and her husband, Eric, were aboard their 16-metre motor yacht, about to have dinner with guests while anchored in Gilttoyees Inlet.
That's when they spotted Novak head ashore on an inflatable craft marked Rosemary T (the name of its mother ship) and start putting out pieces of fish.
Novak had a valid hunting licence and limited-entry tag to kill a grizzly in the area at the time of the year, but not the right to use bait.
Boyum said her husband went to speak with Novak to tell him what he was doing was illegal and that he would be reported. She said her husband then returned to the Great Bear II with Novak following, trying to "plead his case." She said she took photos of him against his wishes alongside the boat, and he eventually left the area.
According to Transport Canada's vessel registry, the Rosemary T is a 20-metre pleasure craft owned by Dunkley Lumber. The company on Thursday said Kevin Novak is a cousin to the brothers who now run the operation, including general manager Tony Novak, who could not be reached to comment.
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