B.C.-born hockey player Clayton Stoner is the latest athlete caught in an animal hunting controversy.
Photos have emerged online, showing Stoner posing with the severed head of a grizzly bear, and decked out in camouflage fatigues. The image is believed to have been taken in May, 2013, by field technicians in B.C.’s Kwatna estuary.
The bear’s nickname was ‘Cheeky’, and it was being documented by filmmakers from Coastal First Nations (CFN), who have developed a PSA to end bear hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest. Last year, the CFN banned bear hunting on its territories.
(The film is being screened this morning – Wednesday, Sept. 4 – at Telus World of Science.)
“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” Stoner said in a statement released by his NHL club, the Minnesota Wild.
“I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting license through a British Columbia limited entry lottery last winter and shot a grizzly bear with my licence while hunting with my father, uncle and a friend in May.
“I love to hunt and fish and will continue to do so with my family and friends in British Columbia.”
The bear’s paws were also found severed, according to CFN, and the animal was skinned and its remains found left to rot (*graphic photos below).
Stoner, who played his first full season with the Wild last year, is from Port McNeill, B.C.
Jessie Housty, a councillor with the Heilstuk First Nation, said Clayton identified himself with the makers of the CFN’s film, and said the PSA focuses on the hunted – not the hunters.
The Globe also said black and grizzly bear hunting is authorized in British Columbia, and the CFN has been asked (by the province) to respect its authority over the bear hunt.