Whistler residents and animal rights activists hoping to have crossbows banned before the start of the local bear hunting season tomorrow will have to wait a bit longer to find out if the municipality agrees.  

Council is waiting for a report on the safety implications of using crossbows within municipal boundaries, and in the meantime, the annual black bear bow hunt will kick of as usual on Sept. 1.

Glenn Gaetz, a director at Liberation B.C. – a Vancouver animal rights group – said aside from the risk to humans, bow hunting is cruel to bears.

“Our position is there should be no hunting,” he said. “In terms of killing devices, crossbows are much more likely to cause pain and distress. Bow hunting is actually worse for the animal than a gun.”

But Dirk Schuirmann, a hunting guide at Bear Lake Guide and Outfitters in Prince George, said crossbows are humane when shot properly.

“If you make a good shot the animal dies instantly,” Schuirmann said.

“The bows have to be a certain size, the arrow must be a certain shape and you can only hunt the big ones. If you make a poor shot, you have to go after the animal (to kill it).”

He said hunters should be responsible and aim for a quick kill no matter what weapon they use.

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