Clayton Stoner has yet to make his mark in the National Hockey League as a premium player with the Minnesota Wild, but he's secured a big reputation off the ice this summer with the killing of a grizzly bear.
We should thank him. In a move that was the exact opposite of Brigitte Bardot kissing a baby seal, Stoner has drawn attention to the issue of our provincial government auctioning off this province's wildlife like nobody else could. The only possible increase in media exposure would have been if he had clubbed the grizzly to death with a hockey stick.
It must be emphasized that Stoner did nothing wrong in the legal sense. He won the right to kill in a macabre annual lottery, paid for his licence like any other "game" hunter and was entitled to take just the bear's head and pelt for a keepsake while leaving the carcass behind to feed other wild animals.
The morality of his actions is an entirely different question. In our view, hunters kill to eat. If they are not killing species at risk, there is nothing wrong with that. But shooting a large animal at the side of a river where it regularly comes to drink or fish is no more hunting than trying to hail a taxi.
Of still more concern is the accuracy of our government's population estimates of a species many observers state is at risk.
Then there is the question of why the provincial government refuses to honour the ban on trophy hunting of grizzlies that Coastal First Nations declared in 2012. We'd love to hear what the courts might say about that.
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