Topics of Interest

Excuses not good enough for hunters

Letters to the Editor
100 Mile House Free Press
August 18, 2009

In the Aug. 5 article, “Ministry Explains Hunting Regs” by Joan Silver, the Ministry of Environment claims that “if there was an open season on immature bull moose [spike-fork], it is expected hunting pressure would be high and harvest may not be sustainable.” The ministry then cites the central location of the Cariboo, which “makes it a popular destination for hunters from the Lower Mainland.”

Isn’t the last statement exactly what the tourist industry and the Chambers of Commerce want to hear? Instead of seeing the positive and promoting the proper use of our wildlife resources, the ministry is using the same old tired excuses they have been using for years not to increase hunting opportunities for residents such as opening the season for immature bulls (spike-fork).

Region 3, the Thompson-Nicola, is even more “central” to the Lower Mainland yet that does not prevent them from providing more open moose hunting opportunities for BC residents. (They only need to add a calf season to their spike-fork season to achieve the highly successful Omineca model). Nor does it stop Region 4, the Kootenays, nor Region 7A, the Omineca nor Region 8, the Okanagan from having open season for spike-fork bulls. No, my fellow hunters, it is Region 5, Williams Lake, that is out of step in not welcoming other BC hunters to enjoy the Cariboo and support local business.

They have other excuses besides the “central” location of the region for doing nothing such as: we don’t have enough money in our budgets to monitor the moose population (no less than any other region) or we don’t have enough staff (other regions don’t either). They also claim to have more First Nations people than any other Region (but a check of the Statistics Canada website will show that Omineca and Thompson Nicola have similar or greater numbers and they probably like to hunt and eat moose meat too).

We know that some local resident hunters don’t want more liberal moose seasons. That is because they either don’t understand the science, or they don’t want competition from “outsiders” during their moose hunt. But, I ask, “what moose hunt? The one you win every 5 or 10 years”? Or are you forced to go moose hunting in regions 3 or 7A because of the lack of opportunities closer to home?

The ministry also uses the excuse that the guide-outfitters don’t want it. It’s not that the guide-outfitters disagree with the science of a selective moose harvesting strategy as much as they fear more competition from resident hunters. These are all excuses to allow the ministry to avoid any improvements to resident hunting.

The fact of the matter is that, except for a poorly executed, half-hearted trial spike-fork moose season here for a few weeks five years ago, the Wildlife Branch of the Ministry of Environment in Region 5 has been stone-walling and don’t appear to want to do anything for their resident hunters. They have been resisting the introduction of proven successful deer and moose management strategies for years.

This is a wasted opportunity, not only for hunters, but for small business operators and the region’s cattlemen who have been trying to get something done about feeding too many deer at their expense for years. Then there is the cost of all the highway collisions, and the occasional human injury or tragic loss of life. The time to act is long overdue.

John Mihalicz
Lone Butte
President, Lone Butte Fish and Wildlife Association Vice-president, BC Wildlife Federation, Cariboo-Chilcotin


John B. Holdstock
BC Wildlife Federation
Kelowna, B.C.

The world is run by those who show up.

Comments are closed.