Conservation Officer Amber Elliot with elementary students at an Emergency Services/RCMP open house at the Vanderhoof detachment on May 18, 2017. Photo Fiona Maureen

Conservation Officer Amber Elliot with elementary students at an Emergency Services/RCMP open house at the Vanderhoof detachment on May 18, 2017. Photo Fiona Maureen

As bears den up for winter sleep, out come the bird feeders

Since May 2017, the Vanderhoof area Conservation Officer Service (COS) has received 72 bear reports, with 34 of those being complaints about black bears which were perceived by the public to be food conditioned or otherwise nuisances. These reports come from an area spanning Fraser Lake, Stoney Creek, Cluculz Lake, Fort St. James, Takla Landing and others.

It is important to note that in approximately 95% of these instances, bears were accessing unsecured or insufficiently secured attractants such as garbage, recycling, pet food, bird feeders, and dirty BBQs.

In four instances, bear traps were set with the intent of capturing habituated bears. These sets resulted in the capture and euthanisation of two bears who had become food conditioned to the point of posing a risk to public safety.

In the majority of circumstances, bear issues were resolved when residents removed or secured the attractants on their properties.

Since hunting season began in full-swing on September 1, 2017 the Vanderhoof area COS has received 35 reports of illegal activity so far, on top of the officer-discovered violations that are encountered during patrols.

These reports from the public encompass things such as hunting and wildlife violations, illegal dumping/littering, damage to waterways, and failure to comply with open burning restrictions.

The Conservation Officer Service would like to thank the people who made these reports and to encourage others to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277 to report any problem wildlife issues or illegal activities.

– with files from Amber Elliot, Conservation Officer for Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St. James and area from Germansen Landing all the way to the Cariboo, south of Prince George.