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Hunters up in arms over new hunting regs

By Joan Silver
100 Mile House Free Press

July 28, 2009

Local hunters are upset with this year’s hunting regulations.

Jude Dion, Exeter Sporting Goods owner, called the regs “ridiculous” and totally one-sided.

“We can kill them on the highway but it’s not okay to eat them,” he said.

He said the new regs mean hunters can only shoot one buck instead of the usual two and this is the only area in the province that doesn’t have an immature moose season.

Dion said the area needs an open doe season to resolve concerns about the buck and doe ratio.

“It really takes away from meat hunters for locals who don’t care about the antlers,” he said.

“It seems to be going all kaflooey when you can only have one four-point buck,” said Dion.

Jacques Drisdelle, BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) Cariboo/Chilcotin regional president, said the Ministry of Environment regional wildlife branch made a proposal to reduce the mule deer buck season from two bucks to one buck effective this year.

“In consultation with the regional wildlife manager we were told that the reason for this proposal was to bring the buck to doe ratio more in-line with ministry policy of 25 bucks to 100 does,” he said.

He said the BCWF protested this proposal for a number of reasons.

Drisdelle said the mule deer population in the Cariboo region is healthy and, in many cases, very high.

He said the methodology used by the ministry for determining the buck to doe ratio is flawed.

They conduct deer counts in open fields at the end of the hunting season during the day in specific locations but not representative of every area of the region.

Based on what they count during one day they make their determination and it is not based on sound scientific methods.

“One could do the same sort of count on a different day and find the buck to doe ratio higher or lower. It doesn’t make sense,” said Drisdelle.

He said, in region 5, there was originally a four-point or higher buck season during the entire month of November.

The ministry changed that to extend the “any buck” season to Nov. 20 and then opened the second season starting Nov. 21 for four-point or better bucks. This, in effect, made every buck vulnerable during the peak rut season.

“This means that if — and I emphasize if — the buck ratio was adversely affected, it was from the direct result of the ministry experimenting with the four-point or better season during November,” said Drisdelle.

“Something that should never have happened and something that we objected to at the time.”

Drisdelle questions if the buck to doe ratio is down, as the regional Ministry of Environment claims, then why have they reduced the number of doe limited entry allocations for 2009.

He said that is exactly what they have done and it completely baffles the BCWF.

“It is our view that the local wildlife manager does not have the knowledge required to properly manage mule deer populations and that this recent effort is simply an exercise of chance rather than sound wildlife management practices,” he said.

Drisdelle said it’s equivalent to playing a game of horseshoes to see who gets closest to the pin.

He emphasized that the BCWF has made these views clearly known to the ministry at both the regional and provincial levels but have had no success in getting them to listen.

Drisdelle said the BCWF has been asking for an immature bull moose season for the region but the request has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.

He said the ministry’s own numbers show there are approximately 27,390 moose in the Cariboo region and that number is progressively increasing.

He said the Thompson region, just to the south, has an open immature bull season from Sept. 20 to Oct. 31.

The Omineca region to the north has an immature bull season from Sept. 10 to Nov. 5 and also have an open calf season, a youth season, a bow only and a youth bow season.

“There is a ground swell of dissatisfaction over these closures imposed on BC residents because of a lack of will and a lack of sound wildlife management practices being exhibited by Ministry of Environment,” said Drisdelle.


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

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