Bear Hunting Ban

Trophy hunting of bears is banned in Kitasoo/Xai’xais Territory under tribal law.

We are proud to stand with the Central Coast Bear Working Group and eight other Coastal First Nations to ensure that we have Bears Forever on our coast.


doug bear hand holding

We have lived with bears for millenia. These animals have always been, and remain, immensely important to our Nation. Bears feature prominently in traditional stories and culture, which impart teachings of morals and stewardship. In some stories, bears have the ability to change into humans and back again and so are not just viewed as wild animals; they are deeply respected as kin. Thus, our community and our Nation are committed to protecting these animals and the habitat and food that they rely upon.

In addition to their deeply rooted cultural significance, we also value bears for the human well-being they afford our community. We have invested heavily in ecotourism to support our community’s economy. Opened in 2000, our community-owned Spirit Bear Lodge is now the second largest employer in Klemtu and allows us to share the beauty and importance of these animals with people from around the world. In addition, our bear monitoring program provides locals with opportunities to gain skills and become informed stewards.

The Issue

Despite the enactment of this ban of trophy hunting under tribal law, the British Columbia provincial government continues to support the slaughter of hundreds of bears annually. Trophy hunting of bears is senseless; ethicallyeconomically, and ecologically.

Best Available Science
The provincial government continues to claim that the legal trophy hunting of bears is based on the best available science. This argument for grizzly bears has been thoroughly disproven by a recent peer-reviewed study (published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE and as a note in the prestigious scientific journal, Science). In this study, the authors (including several SBRF affiliates and our collaborators from Raincoast) found that the government consistently exceeds its own mortality limits in numerous management areas. In other words, the Province allocates too many hunting licenses. In addition, these limits might be too high to begin with, as they fail to account for uncertainty in their estimates of population sizes, poaching rates, and population growth rates.

The fallacy of ‘Harvestable Surplus’
The idea that there is a surplus of bears that hunters should be allowed to kill for sport no longer holds social license in the Great Bear Rainforest. The Coastal First Nations have banned trophy hunting under tribal law and a recent poll shows that 9 in every 10 British Columbians support this ban.

Economic Revenue
Klemtu isn’t the only place where economic revenue from living bears far outweighs that of killing them. A study conducted by Stanford researchers at CREST found that in the Great Bear Rainforest, 53 bear viewing companies generate $1.7 million annually. This is 19 times more revenue than the $90,000 generated by the 4 bear hunting companies in the same region.

Additional Resources

We raise our hands in gratitude to our many collaborators and partners on this issue. See some additional resources from a few of them below.

Bears Forever



Twitter @bearsforeverbc


UVic Hakai-Raincoast Applied Conservation Science Lab

Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Hakai Institute

BlogThe ‘grizzly’ details or; Everything you might not want to know (but should)

Book sectionLessons from the Lorax. A scientists’ lament and a plea for ethics. In Wright, A (Ed.). Faltering Light. Cold Coast Press.

Book sectionHunting for a trophy hunting ethic. In Animals and the Environment: Advocacy, Activism, and the Quest for Common Ground (L. Kemmerer, Ed). Routledge Press.

Letter in ScienceWhen Scientific management isn’t.  Science  343: 1311

Scientific publicationConfronting Uncertainty in Wildlife Management: Performance of Grizzly Bear Management

Center for Responsible Travel – Stanford University

Report. Economic Impact of Bear Viewing and Bear Hunting in The Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia