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B.C. hunters betrayed by government

By: Wayne Moore
December 4, 2009

Hunters and fishermen with B.C. residency feel they are being betrayed by their own government.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s Political Action Alliance is fighting what it feels is reverse discrimination in a battle with the Guide-Outfitters Association of B.C.

BCWF spokesman Rich Petersen says resident hunters are losing out to out-of-province hunters.

In some areas of the province, Petersen says hunting opportunities run 70-30 in favour of out-of-province hunters.

“B.C. resident hunters are losing a lot of hunting opportunities,” says Petersen.

“The chances of a local resident obtaining a hunting tag are slim to none.”

Petersen says the problem lies with both the provincial government and the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

He says there is a government policy, the Allocation Policy, which determines the percentage of hunting opportunities that go to residents and those that go to non-residents.

“Negotiations began in 2004 on a new policy. After two-and-a-half year of negotiations, it was adopted in 2007. It has not been implemented due to political pressure from GOABC.”

Petersen says the new guidelines were supposed to be implemented in 2010.

“Government has been asked to forestall implementation until 2017. In the meantime, government has been reluctant to follow the allocation policy, mostly at the regional level.”

According to Petersen, who was involved in negotiations, the B.C. Wildlife Federation was very fair in dealings with GOABC.

He says they agreed to a larger reserve for out-of-province hunters than any other jurisdiction in Western Canada or the Western United States.

For example, Petersen says in Region Six (Skeena/Smithers area), local residents are supposed to be harvesting a minimum of 60 per cent but are getting only 30 per cent.

“The government is supposed to remove the barriers that are affecting residents success. They have refused to do that, mainly through pressure from the guiding industry.”

Peterson claims the guiding industry charge every non-resident hunter $150 which goes directly into a GOABC fund which they use to lobby the government to protect non-resident hunting issues.

“They have been fairly effective with that. We are a volunteer organization. We don’t have that kind of money.”

There are, according to Petersen, about 5,000 non-resident hunters coming into the province every year.

Petersen says the BCWF has started its own fund in hopes of using that money to lobby the government as well.

“We are just trying to get priority for resident hunters back on track in the province.”

BCWF Political Action Alliance

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