How come, when I drive from the Lower Mainland to the Alaska Highway in northeastern British Columbia, do I only see one moose along side of the road.
How come, when we spend two weeks in the fall, as a group of four to eight resident hunters, do we see a total of one elk, and six moose in prime habitat?
By now, many British Columbians have heard or seen in the news about some battle, that some group of hunters have, about something to do with guide outfitters getting more animals.
The provincial government has closed the purse strings to conservation in British Columbia.
And they’ve done so for many years now. They rely on not-for-profit organizations like the BC Wildlife Federation and others, and their countless volunteers, to do all the backbone work of caring for the environment, and creating or restoring fish and wildlife habitat, among a multitude of other things.
Aside from habitat preservation, one of the most important things that is required is strong, solid wildlife population assessments.
Whether you’re a hunter or not really doesn’t matter. Without proper scientific data from our regional wildlife biologists, we run the risk of losing decades of conservation.
When this government puts more animal allocations in the hands of guide outfitters (who predominantly cater to foreign trophy hunters), we as British Columbians will lose more wildlife than if those same allocations had gone to a resident hunter. Why? Because guide outfitters use planes and helicopters to scout their territories and spend countless hours in their territory patterning their prey so that they can claim on their website a 98 per cent success rate, or the like.
As resident hunters, we save up a year’s worth of holiday and go. We don’t have the unlimited resources the guide outfitters use.
And for those reasons alone, less animals will be harvested each year by a resident hunter, on the limited entry hunting (LEH) system.
The LEH is like a lottery system for hunters, and we have a choice to enter (with much better odds of a successful hunt), or hunt in a general open season. LEH was created in order to protect certain animals in certain areas from being over-harvested, and putting the population “at risk.”
But now, it has become a money game for the government of B.C. They’ve lost sight of what it was intended for – the protection and conservation of wild animals until they reach a solid, healthy population.
This provincial government must immediately enact proper conservation funding. The allocation issue is a big part of that. Equally important is funding regional biologists, so as to be able to gain proper scientific data on wildlife populations.
I ask this government, including my MLA Simon Gibson, to work harder to understand the needs of conservation, the needs of resident hunters in B.C.
Listen to your people and organizations like the BCWF. They are “in the know.”
Let’s turn this trainwreck around, before we never see a moose on our journey.