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Gitanyow men found guilty of Wildlife Act offences

Three Gitanyow men were found guilty in Hazelton Provincial Court on Thursday of charges relating to the killing of a sow grizzly and cub.

Robbie Shirey was convicted of four offences under the B.C. Wildlife Act on Jan. 23 for an incident involving a sow grizzly and cub in Gitanyow village in early November, 2012. Shirey was convicted of shooting the bears as they were attempting to eat a moose carcass that had been hanging in his yard for about two weeks, said Bulkley-Stikine conservation officer Flint Knibbs.

A second cub was also killed by conservation officers after its mother was shot.

Knibbs said Shirey had been asked about a week before the incident to remove the carcass as they had received a number of calls in regard to a sow and two cubs being in the village.

“We had been dealing with those grizzly bears in that area for about two weeks beforehand,” Knibbs said. “We were going door to door talking to people about their attractants and we talked to [Shirey] about the grizzly bears and he ultimately never dealt with the carcass and the bears came.”

Shirey was found guilty of: killing wildlife out of season, hunting wildlife with the use of a light, hunting during prohibited hours and discharging a firearm in a no-shooting area.

He was fined $750 on each count.

Shirey said he wasn’t doing anything unusual by having the moose hanging in his yard for two weeks and feels he did nothing wrong.

“We usually hang them for a month outside our house,” he said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had grizzly problems like this.”

It was dead fish in a freezer down the road from his home that brought the bears around and he killed them because he was concerned for the safety of his neighbours, Shirey said.

“I don’t think it’s right because I was just protecting the village,” he said. “Those bears were around way too long. They were here for three months and nothing ever got done with them.

“I was just keeping the village safe.”

Chad Shirey and Burton Robinson were also found guilty of discharging a firearm in a no-shooting area and hunting during prohibited hours for their roles in the incident. They were fined $575 each.


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