Topics of Interest

Moose Management Inequities In the Kootenay Region

During 1989 and 1990 moose calf recruitment in the Kootenay Region of BC fell to an all-time low and the Fish and Wildlife Branch started to think about putting moose on a Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) draw system

Up until 1990 non-resident interest in Kootenay moose was negligible but about this time the Safari Club International re-classified moose in southern BC and Alberta as Shiras Moose, despite very little biological evidence that supported the fact that moose in the Kootenay Region were actually of the Shiras sub-species.  However, this change generated some non-resident interest and moose suddenly became a marketable item for Kootenay Region guide-outfitters.

In 1991 LEH was announced and the allocation split, recognizing the previous low non-resident harvest, was set at 94% for residents and 6% for non-residents.  The LEH was initially announced as a temporary measure that would be eliminated when the population had recovered (yah right!). With the implementation of LEH resident moose hunting participation fell from 2500 to 500 hunters and the annual resident hunter harvest fell from 450 to 150 moose.  This is very similar to what occurred in many other parts of BC when LEH was implemented and Kootenay resident moose hunters today anxiously await an immature (spike-fork) bull season being proposed by MOE for 2009.

As non-resident interest increased the moose quota assigned to guide-outfitters was established at 15 moose divided amongst the outfitters of the Kootenay Region.   At that time three-year allocation periods were the norm and every three years guide-outfitters, resident hunters represented by the BCWF, and MOE met to negotiate the allocation percentages for the next three years.

In 2000 the MOE regional buearocracy allowed guide-outfitters in the Kootenay to stand down from allocation negotiations and to provide input directly to MOE, bypassing negotiations with residents.  That move, although very annoying to resident hunters, was a very successful and by 2003 moose quotas assigned to guide-outfitters by the MOE Region had risen from the previous 15 to 127 non-resident tags.  During the same period resident LEH authorizations for residents declined even though the moose population was making a significant recovery.

In 2004 negotiations on a new allocation policy and formula began.  It was eventually determined that too many moose were being allocated to non-residents and new allocation percentages were calculated and roll-backs to non-resident quota began in 2007.

Today as a result of the new allocation policy non-resident quota has declined to 109 moose tags and resident LEH authorizations have increased modestly.   Further movement is expected in 2012 when allocation percentages are supposed to fall back to 80% for residents and 20% for non-residents.  Guide-outfitters are currently lobbying intensely to delay final implementation of the allocation policy, but resident hunters want some of the opportunities back that they historically enjoyed, and some resentment has developed regarding this Guide Outfitters Association of BC (GOABC) lobby effort and their openly stated opposition to the proposed spike/fork moose season.

Below is a representation of the resident hunter numbers and moose harvests compared to non-resident hunter numbers and non-resident moose harvests in Region 4 over a 30-year period.   Note the significant decline in resident moose hunting harvests and opportunities since and the dramatic increase in non-resident harvests and opportunities since 1991.

Click on the charts to see a larger version.

Historical Moose Harvest Numbers for Region 4

Historical Moose Harvest Numbers for Region 4

HIstorical Bull Moose Harvest for Region 4

HIstorical Bull Moose Harvest for Region 4

Another factor contributing to the increase in non-resident allocation at the expense of residents has been the Environmental Appeal Process whereby outfitters can appeal reductions in quota but residents do not have the option of appeal.  Successful appeals by outfitters, has in several cases resulted in conservation-based decreases to the annual allowable harvest being deducted entirely from the resident allocated share.

In light of non-resident hunting opportunities in other Pacific North Western jurisdictions of about 10% for non-residents, BC resident hunters feel that 20% of the Kootenay moose hunting opportunities being allocated to non-residents is very generous.  Their general feeling is that the MOE Region has shown a decided inclination to support the commercial side of hunting at the expense of resident meat hunting opportunities. They find the GOABC resistance to the allocation changes scheduled for 2012, and the reluctance of MOE to accept that resident hunters have priority over non-residents, to be extremely frustrating.

The reality is that moose are one of the primary meat hunting species for resident hunters and they want their opportunity to hunt moose back.  Currently non-resident moose hunting activity in the Kootenay Region remains 7.3 times higher and moose harvest by non-residents remains 10 times higher then traditional levels, while at the same time residents must wait 10 to 15 years between moose hunts due to the high odds of being drawn through the LEH system in BC.   Resident hunters want fair consideration!  The BC Wildlife Federation, East Kootenay Region, welcomes and supports the allocation changes proposed for 2012 and will be very disappointed if MOE does not implement those changes as scheduled.

Submitted By:

East Kootenay Region of the BC Wildlife Federation

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