'Quit babysitting them': Sask. hunter says people need to leave bears alone after mother bear, cubs put down
A bear and her two cubs were put down recently in the Candle Lake area.
“Officers always try to do everything they can first, trapping, hazing to have the situation not happen so I wouldn’t say it’s common, but unfortunately once bears become food habituated, there isn’t another choice because they will keep associating that food with people,” said Matthew Tokaruk, a black bear biologist with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment.
Bears generally stay with their mother for about two years, then they are off on their own. It’s usually the newly independent teenager bears that cause issues, Tokaruk said.
The ministry says it isn’t seeing an increase in the number of bears – but Ron Bodnarchuk, who has had a cabin in Candle Lake for 17 years, begs to differ.
Bodnarchuk, who hunts bears, said the lack of American hunters combined with more people out at the lakes is contributing to an increase in the number of bears in certain areas. Local residents have also been posting several photos of bears to social media.
He’s seeing more bears wandering around compared to other years and says it’s a problem for the residents and also the bears.
“Of all the years I’ve hunted, this spring I was probably within 20 yards of over 100 bears and of those bears, 30 were all different bears,” Bodnarchuk told CTV News.
Bodnarchuk says in his experience with bears over about 45 years, mother bears pose a challenge to trap and relocate because getting the entire family into a trap is hard.
The problem stems from people not taking the correct approach to deter bears from frequenting the area, he said.
“They have to quit feeding them, quit babysitting them and make it uncomfortable for the bears to be there.”
He says another mother bear and cubs are in the area now and he hopes they won’t suffer the same fate.