News / Edmonton

Alberta has the lowest support for banning trophy hunts: Poll

A nation-wide poll on trophy hunting shows 68 per cent of Albertans either “strongly” or “somewhat” support legislation to end trophy hunting.

A grizzly bear is seen fishing along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday, Sept 10, 2010.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A grizzly bear is seen fishing along a river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. Friday, Sept 10, 2010.

Almost 70 per cent of Albertans strongly or somewhat support a ban on trophy hunting, according to a new poll, which has some saying the legislation should be considered.

Advocacy group Ban Trophy Hunting Ltd. commissioned polling company Insights West to gauge nation-wide interest for provincial legislation that would outlaw or restrict the practice.

It found that 49 per cent of Albertans “strongly support” a legislated ban, 19 per cent “somewhat support” one, while 10 per cent strongly oppose it and 15 per cent are somewhat opposed. Eight per cent weren’t sure.

Across all regions in Canada, Alberta has the least interest in banning trophy hunting. Ninety per cent of British Columbians strongly or somewhat support a ban, making them the most opposed to trophy hunting.

Ban Trophy Hunting organizer Mike Donovan, a Calgary resident who runs Lion Dog African Safaris, a company that offers eco-tours to Africa, said the survey results were encouraging. He called hunting purely for sport “immoral.”

“I think it illustrates that this is an important enough issue that politicians need to start acknowledging it and need to start considering the abolition of trophy hunting.”

Hunting grizzly bears is illegal in Alberta, but black bears, wolves, cougars, mountain lions, bison and sheep remain popular targets for trophy hunters.

But Edmonton hunting instructor Donald Dwyer said he doesn’t have a problem with it as long as hunters follow the rules.

“I don’t hunt for trophies, I guess you could call me a meat hunter, but I have friends who do,” Dwyer told Metro. “It’s a personal choice for those that do, as long as it’s done quickly and humanely I don’t see a problem with it.”

Dwyer said licences are adequately regulated and that the hunting community is the first to call out inappropriate behaviour.

“There’s an anti-poaching hotline and it’s usually the hunters that are doing the reporting,” he said, “and 20 per cent of our licences goes to assist wildlife.”

When American tourist Josh Bowmar was seen in a YouTube video baiting a black bear in Alberta and killing it with a spear – an incident that led to government action – Dwyer said hunters were as disgusted by it as everyone else.

“Everyone was up in arms, especially hunters,” he said.

A request for comment made to the Ministry of Environment and Parks went unanswered as of Metro deadline.

The survey results are based on an online study conducted Feb. 5 to Feb. 11 among a representative sample of 1,210 Canadians.

The margin of error is +/- 2.2 percentage points.