British Columbia

Headless bear dumped on rec trail infuriates dog walker, neighbours

WARNING: This story contains a graphic image.

WARNING: This story contains a graphic image

Bear activity in Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam has caused Metro Vancouver to close road access inside the park in an effort to keep both bears and people safe. (Fresh Air Photography by Janis Morrison)

WARNING: This story contains a graphic image

A Vancouver Island man who stumbled on a headless black bear carcass while walking his dog is angry at hunters who "took the easy way out" and dumped remains on a road under power lines in a well-used recreational area.

Brad Armstrong was walking his dog on Thursday in a cut-back area beneath power lines in the Corcan Meadowood neighbourhood north-west of Qualicum.

That's when he found the gruesome, bloated remains.

"All its legs cut off, its head and tail missing," he said. "I was annoyed."

He says it's not the first time he's found animal parts along the pathway that's used by dog walkers, cyclists and families with children. 

Deer carcasses have appeared during past hunting seasons, said several neighbours.

Armstrong and the conservation officer noted that the bear's gall bladder was not taken but its skull was harvested. He says a bear skull is often used to measure a bear for trophy records.

"It's pretty disgusting," said Lucas Hepting, who often walks the area with his nine-year-old daughter.

Neighbours want a fence put in to stop hunters from dumping what's left of their kill. He said the area is too easy to access with a pickup truck.

It is legal to shoot black bears right now on Vancouver Island. The season is open from Sept. 10 until Dec. 10. But hunters are required to carry out all of the animal's meat. (Curt Petrovich/CBC News)

Conservation officers are investigating the grisly find.

"It's very unusual," said Stuart Bates, acting Sgt.for the Central Island Zone in Nanaimo. "I would imagine it would be quite shocking. Especially with a dog because dogs want to roll in dead things."

Bates confirmed that the bear was an average-sized male that had been shot elsewhere and dumped where Armstrong found it.

The animal's legs and tail were cut off. The bear's skull had also been harvested, probably as a trophy, Bates said. Investigators took samples of the animal's DNA so if the paws or other body parts are found they can match those parts to this carcass.

Bear season on

Black bear season is open on Vancouver Island right now — running Sept. 10 until Dec. 10.

But Bates said that while it may have been legal to shoot the bear, the meat should have been removed and carried out with the hunter.

He also said that the dump site was inappropriate — if not dangerous — as it could have attracted other predators.

"We do encourage hunters to return the parts they don't want — like the skeleton and the bones and stuff — to a place where the natural wildlife can scavenge on it. But one of the issues we would have there is it's an area that's frequented by people and dog walkers and you don't want people dumping things there because you will attract dangerous wildlife — other bears."

Bates said hunters are supposed to take the hide back to where they made the kill or at least into the bush where there's no traffic or people.

Not simply dumped out of a pick-up in the first spot available.

"Someone took the easy way out," he said.

A dog walker stumbled across this bear carcass on Oct. 25. Conservation officials say the find is 'very unusual' and not acceptable in an area frequented by a lot of people. (Brad Armstrong/Facebook)

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