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Bear-Feeding Pot Grower Fined $6,000

Bear-Feeding Pot Grower Fined $6,000

Allan Piche loved his pot and he loved his bears. When the RCMP raided his property, they charged him on both counts, and now the Christina Lake man is being fined $6,000. That’s just for the bear feeding. He has yet to face the music on his growing op.

When the police showed up at the rural home about 500 kilometers east of Vancouver, they found a lot more than 1,000 marijuana plants (or 2,300, according to one account). Wandering around the property were 10 black bears. They were so accustomed to humans, they were calm and friendly around the police.

Piche and his wife, Kathleen, had been shelling out $200 a week to feed their grow-op guards. Piche insisted he had been feeding a couple dozen bears for ten years, not to guard his illegal plants but because he liked having them around.

That left conservation officers with a dilemma. If Piche suddenly stopped feeding the bears, they might turn to other human food sources and become problem bears. So they allowed Piche to wean them gradually until they went into hibernation. He posted a video on YouTube (now on Vimeo — see below) to show how tame they were.

In May 2011, he told CBC the bears had come back but left when he didn’t feed them.  Over the next few months, conservation officers shot 17 bears in the area, three times as many as in a normal summer. They said the bears were breaking into RV parks and damaging property. With no fear of humans, they had become a danger.

The bears Piche had been feeding had no identifying tags, so the officers could only guess the increase in problem bears was connected to him. When he appeared before the court, Piche admitted guilt. The court fined him $6,000 but saw no reason to impose jail time.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Piche said, “I feel relieved that it’s finally done, and I feel it was a just settlement considering the impression the court has to give, to deter people from doing this sort of thing.”

Piche has described himself as an aging hippy. In the video, he talks softly about the bears while a tame raccoon plays around his neck. Had he not been caught, he would still be quietly feeding bears and growing his pot plants.

Both are illegal, but feeding two dozen bears may have been the riskier behavior. Bears with no fear of humans are usually the ones that end up being shot. It sounds as if a lot of the tame bears simply returned to the woods, but at least some of them paid for his friendship with their lives.

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143 comments

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12:42AM PST on Feb 6, 2013

Was this plot well planned, well quoted or well sought?

10:48AM PDT on Oct 20, 2012

It is not the bears fault that they were race there with human contact , food etc. so they should just be keep leaving there or put them in a zoo, not destroy them, for God sake why most humans only think about killing when they talk about animals???? why kill them they do no harm, put them in a zoo.

3:57AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

What an idiot! Smoking pot AND being an idiot.

10:44AM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Irony ~
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks people to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.

This ends today's lesson.

12:51PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

It's legal to kill bears for fun, even teenaged boys are licensed to get a gun and blast away at them but don't try feeding and taming the bears as pets, ignore the evidence from people who have domesticated black bears, had them fixed and seen regularly by a vet and kept as pets.. Ignore the people who have historically kept these bears who turn into aging 350 lb marshmallows who live for food and a good scratch on the back, playing with the dogs and allowing all the pets to sleep on top of them to keep warm on cold mornings like my Dad's friend Mr Depuis's bear he lived with for years on Great Bear Lake in N. British Columbia. If they are raised right
and fixed early they can be as gentle a a black lab and they are unique sensitive creatures that respond to love the same as cats and dogs. It saddens me to see so many killed by this group of State officials and hunters who control the conservation program and who seem to believe the only good bear is one that is run off to starve in its limited range while waiting for the licensed hunters to come and kill it for it's pelt or a photo,proof of their manly hunting prowess. There has to be another solution. Wish Bill Gates would buy a bear sanctuary where these semi tame animals could be further domesticated to live and interact with people without fear of being shot on sight. Some place where all their needs could be met so they don't have to stress over finding enough to eat while dodging bullets in their increasingly limited

3:56AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Ahh I don't know what should be done, I just feel sorry for the bears.

11:01AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

I'VE NEVER HEARD A STORY LIKE THIS ONE. POOR BEARS.

4:53AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

sad news for the bears :( but thanks for sharing

5:45PM PDT on May 30, 2012

Bless you Al for nurturing nature . Most ignore , intrude & kill nature for money . I look forward to meeting you some day . You should be careful about hugging a raccoon they might arrest you for that too . Be Well Eric .

12:52PM PDT on May 29, 2012

leave him alone!

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