A Tofino man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and given an $11,000 fine for illegally killing two black bears in what the BC Conservation Officer Service is calling a “precedent-setting” decision.
Ryan Millar killed a black bear cub and sow on Oct. 14, 2021, and was found guilty of the illegal killing by provincial court judge Alexander Wolf in a decision published on June 6, 2023.
He was sentenced in Tofino Provincial Court on Nov. 6 and received 30 days in jail, an $11,000 penalty, 20-year hunting and weapons bans and had his bow and crossbow seized. The majority of the fine will go towards the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, according to a media release from the Conversation Officer Service announcing the decision.
“No one should take it upon themselves to needlessly destroy wildlife. We ask people to call us if they have a concern. It’s not lawful to take matters into your own hands,” said COS Sgt. Dan Eichstadter. “We’d also like to thank the witnesses who immediately reported their concerns to authorities and initiated this investigation.”
The release explains that Millar had spotten the bear cub and sow in a tree outside his Tofino property and used both a recurve bow and crossbow to shoot them.
He later tried to hide the carcasses.
Two witnesses had seen Millar kill the bear cub and took video of the incident, which was presented at trial.
Millar claimed the killing was done in self defence, but Judge Wolf rejected that claim.
The Conservation Officer Service investigated the incident and presented evidence at trial alongside a Provincial Wildlife Veterinarian and the two witnesses.
“There is no open season for wildlife within 100 meters of a dwelling or occupied outbuilding, nor is there an open season for a black bear less than two years of age, or a bear in its company,” the release states. “The COS hopes this significant penalty will deter others from similar activities.”
Anyone wanting to report poaching or other unlawful activities is encouraged to call 1-877-952-7277.