Topics of Interest

Does Resident Priority Really Exist?

Wildlife in British Columbia is supposed to be managed based on the principles of conservation first, First Nations food, social, and ceremonial second, resident hunters third, and non-resident hunters last.  The line that separates resident and non-resident hunters has become nothing more than a blurry shade of grey.  The Ministry of Environment’s own Wildlife Allocation Policy which states resident hunters have priority over non-residents has been ignored.

Resident hunters support a healthy wildlife population first recognizing and respecting First Nations needs followed by maximizing resident hunter opportunity and harvest.  Over the past 25 years there has been a significant shift by the Ministry of Environment to move to lottery (Limited Entry Hunting) and trophy-style hunting opportunities increasing non-resident hunter numbers and harvest all the while driving resident hunters from their mountains and forests.  From 1982-2006 resident hunter numbers plummeted 55% while non-resident hunters increased by 70%.  Thousands of resident hunters have simply given up, hoping for a lottery ticket for the opportunity to go hunting in their own Province for too long.

There is no tax for conservation: funding comes directly from hunting and angling licenses, tags and thousands of volunteer hours, the overwhelming majority of which come from resident hunters and anglers.

In some areas over abundant game populations are causing agricultural conflict costing producers and BC taxpayers millions of dollars.  These abundant game populations have also resulted in increased highway collisions, raising ICBC premiums of all drivers in the Province.  These are the very same areas that have seen increased restrictions placed on residents.

In 2007 the Ministry of Environment created a strategy to increase recruitment and retention of resident hunters.  The document that maps out the strategy has 34 recommendations of which only two have been adopted.  The document states: “In general, the Fish & Wildlife Branch should pursue a quantity over quality direction in its management of deer, moose and elk.”  To date there has been little movement to support this recommendation or this strategy and regulatory changes have often been in direct conflict with this recommendation.

Over the past 25 years resident hunters have been chased from their woods and wildlife by decisions that favour non-residents.  Residents want the opportunity to enjoy their Province, hunt and harvest their wildlife and provide for their families.  Residents should have priority to their own resource.

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