In Montana there’s lots of talk about grizzlies and lots of talk about hunting, but not much about grizzly hunting.
There is up in Alberta, our provincial neighbor to the north, where the Alberta Fish and Game Association has urged the province to reinstate grizzly hunting—banned since 2006 due to low population numbers—because the bears, they say, are becoming bolder.
So bold, in fact, that they’re killing miniature donkeys.
Deborrah Killam of Sundre, Alberta, about 500 miles due north of Missoula, has seen two of her miniature donkeys—a prized rare breed worth about $30,000 each—killed by grizzlies.
After the second killing a few weeks ago she told the Calgary Herald:
“They (the donkeys) were pretty high-strung this morning,” Killam recalled. “And that's not normal, because they're normally docile. Some babies had diarrhea on their legs. So I did a count, and there were, of course, only 21.”
The donkey deaths follow other attacks on livestock and people. Last September a Sundre man was killed by a grizzly.
Even so, Alberta announced two weeks ago that it’s delaying until next year a decision on whether to lift a ban on hunting grizzly bears and will base its decision on science and an independent review.
Environmental groups are pleased, and hope that the grizzly will be declared threatened and the ban on hunting maintained.
As Darcy Whiteside of Alberta Sustainable Resource Development told the Canadian Press:
“We are advocates of hunting. We promote hunting,” Whiteside said Friday. “But we would never hunt a species that is not sustainable.
“What this information will provide us with is whether a hunt would be a sustainable aspect of grizzly bear management or not. Right now, we simply do not know that.”