Terrible tragedy. Yukon Territory, Canada.
This will be a long one. A really long one.
Right now I am deeply saddened and very angry.
We are so sorry for the loss of Valerie and Adele and extend our deepest sympathies to Gjermund Roesholt...Valerie’s partner, Adele’s Father and who is a survivor of this tragedy and to their family, friends and community. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Two days ago, I received a call, asking permission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to use one of our cabins at Einerson Lake, in our Yukon Rogue River Outfitting Territory. If you have followed our Hunting Adventures TV show, you will have seen many episodes filmed at that camp.
With that phone call, I learned of the horrific tragedy that had just occurred at Einerson Lake, that by now, most of you will have heard about from the Mainstream Media. A grizzly bear, attacked and killed a young mother, Valerie Theoret and her beautiful 10-month old baby girl Adele.
The deep sadness I will deal with in my own way, with time helping to numb the horror I feel at such an incomprehensible, senseless and preventable loss of life.
The anger, I will deal with right now, specifically the “preventable” part of this tragic event.
I had a long post, that I’d written immediately after receiving the phone call, before this all hit the mainstream news outlets, but I decided not to post it. I decided to take a breather, to cool down before I pushed the “Send” button.
Unfortunately, I have not cooled down.
I am still livid at this senseless loss of human life in “My House” and on “My Watch.”
A few years back, you may remember, we aired an episode from this very same Einerson Lake, where one guide had to shoot an kill a grizzly bear as it tried to break into another guide cabin, obviously with the intent to kill and eat the person inside that cabin. The “Rest of the Story” is that my guides shot 17-times, the previous afternoon, around, over and beside that grizzly, trying to haze it away from the camp.
In spite of the fact that that bear was obviously a threat to humans, my guides did not shoot the bear itself, because they are law-abiding citizens and it would have been a serious violation of the Yukon Wildlife Regulations to kill the bear, without a direct threat to property or life.
Instead, my guides literally had to wait until the grizzly made its attempt to kill a human, before they could legally kill this problem bear. It is in essence, the “Rules of Engagement” that we are forced, by law, to live with in the wilderness areas of the Yukon and British Columbia. Rules of Engagement, that someone who has never faced a dangerous bear, wrote TO SAVE THE LIFE OF THAT GRIZZLY AND OTHER GRIZZLY BEARS, not to save the lives of the human beings living and working in remote areas.
After that unfortunate incident at Einerson Lake and many other close calls with the grizzlies in that general area of the Yukon, close encounters, I warned everyone who I could reach, that “We are facing a grizzly bear plague in British Columbia and the Yukon.” And we informed the officials in charge of the highly regulated grizzly bear harvest quotas, that more grizzlies needed to be killed in the wilderness areas, particularly in that “Grizzly Bear Management Zone” that includes Einerson Lake. In fact, I predicted that someone was going to get hurt if something wasn’t done to deal with the grizzly bear plague.
Now this prediction has come to pass, in the most tragic way.
Was it preventable? I believe yes, absolutely, but I know I can’t say that, I can only say, yes, probably.
Even back in August of this year, it is highly likely that I personally saw the bear that killed this young lady and her beautiful baby girl. But due to the regulations, I was not allowed to kill a grizzly bear at Einerson Lake this year. Licensed hunters are allowed to take one grizzly bear, every three years in the Yukon. Since I took an old, nearly toothless grizzly boar, aged by biologists at over 20-years, back in 2016, I could not shoot a grizzly at Eierson Lake when I hunted there this year. If I could have, there is a probability that I would have killed that grizzly bear three months before it killed Valerie and Adele.
Further to this, in spite of my constant battle to try and have the Grizzly bear quota raised in that remote region, we have only been allowed by law, to harvest from one to three male grizzlies per year, on average, over the 15 or so years that I’ve owned the Rogue River Outfitting Territory. For the record, the Grizzly Bear Management Zone that Einerson Lake is situated in, encompasses over 4000 square kilometres. IF the grizzly quota had been increased, to a level that it must be to prevent tragedies like this from happening, there is a high probability, that one of our Rogue River clients would have killed that grizzly long before it had the opportunity to kill Valerie and Adele.
Here is the part that really gets me angry. Right now, as I write this, there are people out there, who believe animals have rights and who are celebrating this horrific tragedy. They will say to each other, in their nasty little covens, that Valerie and Adele simply reaped what they sowed. This was a family of trappers, a family of hunters. They deserved what they got.
I am angered and outraged. So should every sentient human being be.
These same people will be out tomorrow, raising money to stop hunting around the world and they will lie to do so. They will “personify” wild animals, give them cute names and show out of context photos of suffering animals, and they will tell people that hunting is “inhumane” that hunters are evil. They will tell this to concerned citizens who are not aware of that hunting is in fact the best and only way to manage wildlife populations in many parts of the world. They will not mention that hunters are this world’s greatest stewards of wildlife. The will not talk about the billions of dollars hunters have spent to protect wildlife, to raise wildlife populations here in North America, to historic highs.
In their dark recesses, they will compose and send death threats to hunters and their families. They will bully and vilify young ladies who follow an outdoor lifestyle. And then in public, they will lie about the populations of grizzly bears. They will say they are “endangered” and they will pull at the heart strings of uninformed, caring people, who mostly live in urban centers far removed from the realities of grizzly bear management and conservation.
And as they cry…they will reach into these well-intentioned people’s pockets to finance their next anti-hunting project, NOT to actually use the funds to help wildlife populations thrive and increase as hunters have done.
This sickens me.
Yesterday, I was called for an interview by our own Canadian network, CTV, asking me questions about this horrible tragedy. I told them about the grizzly bear plague, that there are too many grizzly bears in British Columbia and the Yukon. I told them how we’d warned that someone was going to get hurt or worse in that part of the world. I told them about the onerous “Rules of Engagement” for problem grizzly bear encounters in both British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.
And when they asked me “Why I thought this grizzly attacked” I told them this grizzly was no different than any grizzly. It attacked because it is an apex predator and apex predators kill anything and everything they consider “prey.” And when you regulate grizzly harvest numbers to the point that they lose their “fear” of human beings, then human beings will absolutely become “prey” to grizzly bears.
And I told them that this wasn’t a “one off” situation, THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
When the report on CTV came out yesterday evening, instead of my personal, feet on the ground at Einerson Lake, answers to their questions, they quoted an “Expert”, the “grizzly bear recovery co-ordinator” for the US Fish and Wildlife service, from Missoula, Montana. An expert who “has investigated the last eight fatal grizzly bear attacks in the United States.”
This gentleman said that it was “important to try to understand why it happened…” “…through careful re-creation of the events.”
He said…”Was it in poor shape? Was he old? Did he have bad teeth?” And that these things would give information about the “…potential motivation of the bear.”
He added that grizzly bears “…become stressed while looking for food at this time of the year.”
Stressed? Motivation? Understand?
WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE TODAY???????!!!!
This WAS NOT A HUMAN BEING WITH A SAD SOCIAL ISSUE!!!!
This bear was a GRIZZLY BEAR!
It killed because it is a predator!
IT KILLED VALERIE AND ADELE BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT GRIZZLY BEARS DO!
I’m venting. Senseless and preventable tragedies don’t bring out the best in me.
Today as I write this, there are politicians in power, who know absolutely, that they have done “wrong” to remain in power, they have purposefully catered to the populist majority urban vote, instead of doing what is right for the minority of people who live in the rural areas of our countries. It’s called “demagoguery” and recently I’ve posted about exactly this on the new Canadian federal gun control regulations about to be enacted.
In British Columbia, the one common sense method to control the rising and likely out of control grizzly bear population, hunting, was recently banned for 100% political reasons. I believe the official statement said something to the effect that this ban was put in place, because grizzly bear hunting was no longer socially acceptable to the majority of British Columbians. This was doing “wrong” simply to stay in a position of power, and the politicians responsible cannot reasonably deny it.
These politicians were told there was no biological reason for banning the hunt, the grizzly bear population was stable and even growing. And the politicians were warned that increasing grizzly bear populations, would inevitably result in human\grizzly conflict and tragedy, loss of human life. A senseless waste of human life. And yet, knowing that people in rural areas would die, savaged by grizzly bears, because of their decision, they enacted the law anyway. Enacted the law to remain in their position of power?
So here is the question that I would really like answered. Who will be accountable when that tragedy happens in British Columbia? Who takes responsibility? Who will say, “Yes, we were warned, but we felt the horror this person or persons (in the case of Valerie and Adele) was simply the cost of doing business…the cost of us staying in power.”
What government official will stand up and say, “Yes, it was me. I’m the one who decided grizzly bear harvest quotas should remain low, in spite of the fact that I was warned far in advance, by the people who actually live and work in that area, that a tragedy such as has just happened to Valerie and Adele, was going to happen in that area.”
Will any government employee or elected politician stand up and say, “Yes, I was warned a tragic loss of life would result in my making this law, but I decided that it was in the better interests of the urban public I serve, to have more grizzly bears in the areas that rural people live and work.”
Who do we hold accountable?