Sep 4, 2013, 11:14 AM EDT
Minnesota Wild defenseman Clayton Stoner is under fire after a picture of him hoisting the severed head of a grizzly bear appeared online.
Stoner, 28, appears in an image believed to be taken in May by workers in British Columbia’s Kwatna estuary, a First Nations village.
That photo has angered the Coastal First Nations’ Bear Working Group, which has instituted a non-government-recognized ban on tribal hunting.
“Last May, trophy hunters shot and killed a five-year-old grizzly bear,” read a media release from the CFN, as per The Province. “The bear, nicknamed ‘Cheeky’ by local field technicians, 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.”
Stoner issued a statement about the incident through a Wild spokesman.
“I grew up hunting and fishing in British Columbia and continue to enjoy spending time with my family outdoors,” Stoner said, also per The Province. “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 license 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.”
It’s believed about 100 bears are hunted and killed annually in the Great Bear Rainforest, a remote region in B.C. between Vancouver Island and Southeast Alaska.
(Image courtesy The Province)
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