Dead bear dumped near homeowner's property sparks outrage
Black bear hunting is legal but animals must be disposed of properly, authorities say
A rural property owner north of Lloydminster, Alta., was outraged to find a dead black bear near her land Saturday afternoon.
Angie Atkinson was alerted to the bear's presence by her great-niece, who spotted the carcass while leaving the property.
She found the young animal about a half-kilometre away from her lane, in the Sandy Beach area.
"We went and looked and just saw all the debris there that makes it look like a moving blanket was used to pull the bear out of the back of the truck, and it dragged out some other garbage along with it," said Atkinson.
Finding the carcass was disturbing, Atkinson told CBC in an interview.
"I felt disappointment in human nature," she said. "If [the bear] did have to be put down, to turn around and take him from your place to dump him right by someone else's house? That's disrespectful."
The bear was illegally disposed of on public land, the Alberta government said.
"Upon investigation, officers determined that the bear had been lawfully shot on private land, but the individual involved did not dispose of the carcass properly," Alberta Justice spokesperson Ina Lucila said in an emailed statement.
The person responsible has been given a ticket for littering, said Lucila.
Atkinson posted pictures of the dead bear on Facebook. She said many people were upset that the animal's meat and fur had been wasted.
"Here is a beautiful animal, but there was nothing taken from his body. He was just disposed of."
Hunting black bears in Alberta is legal in the spring and fall. Landowners are allowed to hunt black bears year-round on their private property.
All hunters are expected to properly dispose of the carcass, Lucila said.
"We always ask hunters to use their best judgment to ensure that disposing of their harvested carcasses is done in a manner that is lawful and considers other residents and people who may be using the area."
Atkinson said she hopes rural property owners will be reminded of the importance of bear-proofing their yards.
"A lot of people are sloppy about things in their yard that could attract bears," she said. "Let's be respectful of the wildlife and they'll probably just leave you alone."
Alberta Fish and Wildlife recommends that people who live in bear country take the following steps to avoid attracting the animals:
- Keep your garbage and recyclables in bear-resistant, airtight containers.
- Keep your compost indoors.
- Remove bird feeders from your yard in the months when bears are active – usually from the beginning of April until the end of November.
- Clean your barbecues and store them in a bear-resistant building.
- Consider removing fruit trees and berry-producing bushes from your property.
- Never leave food out for wildlife.