A 24-year-old West Vancouver resident has avoided trial after
pleading guilty to shooting a black bear cub near Whistler Secondary School on
In an Oct. 17 appearance at North Vancouver Provincial Court,
Andrew Dylan Robertson pled guilty to two charges under the Wildlife Act:
hunting during a closed season and hunting without consideration, according to
a record of proceedings.
He’ll now face a $1,800 fine and is banned from hunting for
three years. The money is to go towards the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.
Robertson originally faced three more charges that were all
dismissed: careless use of a firearm, unsafe storage of ammunition and
discharging a firearm in a no shooting area — the latter is also an
offence under the Wildlife Act.
The RCMP initially reported in May that Robertson could also
face the Wildlife Act charge of hunting without a license but a spokesman later
said he would only be charged with careless use of a firearm.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred the morning of
May 8. Staff and students were arriving at Whistler Secondary School when the
bear was seen on the Valley Trail.
The bear had been hanging out near the school since at least
late April, feeding on skunk cabbage in a nearby swamp. Students at the school
knew of the bear and had reportedly fed apples to it, according to bear
researcher Michael Allen.
A witness later heard two shots and saw a male getting into a
vehicle holding what she thought was a shotgun. She then called the RCMP.
The suspect was located within 15 minutes of the call and
arrested without incident. Police used search dogs in an attempt to locate the
shotgun but they did not find it. Robertson did not cooperate with the
investigation, refusing to disclose the location of the shotgun, according to
Sgt. Steve Wright at the RCMP’s Whistler detachment said police
discovered the gun at a residence close to where it was shot about a week after
the incident. Police recovered the gun after receiving anonymous information.
The shooting was just one of 12 bear kills that occurred in
Whistler since black bears came out of hibernation in the spring. The B.C.
Conservation Officer Service has destroyed nine bears in the Whistler area
after conflicts with humans. One was killed in a highway accident and a train
Chris Doyle, a supervisor with the B.C. Conservation Officer
Service, was pleased with the outcome of the court proceedings.
“The seriousness of the Wildlife Act offenses were definitely stressed by the penalty imposed,” he said.