A resident in the Fourth Line area who lives near two new subdivisions believes neighbours are shooting bears and disposing of their carcasses without notifying the authorities .
Don Pierce, 76, has lived at the corner of Fourth Line and White Pines Road for over 20 years. During that time he has come across a number of wild animals who just pass through, from bears to foxes, moose and deer.
“If you want to live in the bush, then you should expect to see animals from time to time, ” Pierce told SaultOnline.com . Pierce says he has started noticing less and less bears coming into his property for the last three years, that’s when people started to move into their homes in the Back Country Road subdivision say, Pierce.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what’s happening,gun shots” Pierce said. Pierce says he has had run-ins with some of the neighbours about the situation and was told by one of the homeowners that he had permission from City Police to shoot the bears on his property.
Pierce said the new subdivision should never have been built because of soil conditions in the area but what is really concerning him is what he hears almost on a weekly basis. “It’s all illegal, the road is illegal
“You hear gunshots, then you hear a tractor starting up” Though Pierce has never seen anyone actually shoot a bear he has seen the remains of bears in and around the area. “I saw a mother bear and her two cubs in the ditch over there”
Pierce also claims that the neighbours are now “baiting” the bears by leaving food out, once the bears locate the food they’re shot” Pierce claims. I saw some woman leave a whole pot of spaghetti and meatballs in her driveway” Pierce says he hears of them bragging about the bears they have shot.
Sault Ste. Marie Police Chief, Robert Keech told SaultOnline.com that he was not aware of bears being shot in the fourth line area. Keetch said that people are allowed to shoot bears on their property if they are deemed aggressive though the shooting should be reported to the MNR. ” the bears must be dispatched of humanely and safely in accordance with local bylaws that cover the discharge of firearms.” Keetch said. Keetch stresses that people should immediately report any bears that are killed in defence of property to the local ministry office .
Pierce believes about 12 bears have been shot over the last few years and not reported. Failure to report a shooting is a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act says the MNR.
Pierce understands that aggressive bears can be dangerous but stresses the bears that come around are not aggressive and just looking for food. “I see the animals come by and I tip my hat and say hello, they just move on, they travel around, takes about a month”
Pierce calls his neighbours “the bear slayers and city slickers” and said he’s fed up with what they’re getting away with. “They (people) move into their territory and they are surprised to see bears in their yard. Pierce claims the owners of the subdivision had close ties to city staff and that’s why the subdivisions have been pushed through.
Bear shootings have become headlines in recent weeks, a Mother bear was shot when a back door to a kitchen restaurant was left open two weeks in Terrace Bay Ontario. The cubs were captured and taken to a bear sanctuary. Last week, a 76-year-old grandmother is facing charges after she dispatched a bear in her neighbour’s yard in Sudbury.