A National Hockey League player who hails from Port McNeill is embroiled in a controversy over the shooting of a grizzly bear in an area of the B.C. coast that aboriginals have declared off-limits to trophy hunting.
Clayton Stoner, a defenceman with the Minnesota Wild, issued a statement Tuesday after The Vancouver Sun obtained photos of him with the severed head and a paw of the
grizzly he shot last spring in the Kwatna estuary, midway between Bella Coola and Bella Bella.
“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” said Stoner, 28. “I applied for and received a grizzly bear hunting licence 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 group, Coastal First Nations, will hold a news conference today in Vancouver to release a film on trophy hunting, including the killing of the five-year-old male grizzly nicknamed Cheeky.
Natives said in a statement that the grizzly was “skinned and left to rot in a field. His head and paws were carried out past a sign declaring trophy hunting closed in the Great Bear Rainforest.”
Two native technicians conducting grizzly work on the estuary that day took the photographs of Stoner shortly after the shooting.
Jessie Housty, a councillor with the Heiltsuk First Nation, one of several native groups that make up Coastal First Nations, noted the film is meant to
draw attention to the culture of trophy hunting in B.C. and won’t identify or seek to vilify individual hunters.
Stoner had 10 assists and 42 penalty minutes in 48 games during last year’s abbreviated season. He was drafted 79th overall in the third round in 2004.
In September 2012, Coastal First Nations declared a “ban on the trophy bear hunt” in traditional native territories, saying they would “protect bears from
cruel and unsustainable trophy hunts by any and all means.”