SMITTY SURVEYS THE surroundings during a recent hunting expedition.

Deer hunt reduces population; helps economy

Removal of two local DFO officers is a wrongheaded idea

Over the past few days Smitty and I have been hunting in the area described as Map A22 Courtenay/ Campbell River  – Bow or Firearms Using Shot Only Area (situated in MU 1-6) and special antlerless mule deer season. A Gulf Island Special License is required on Denman and Hornby islands.

During the time we have taken three deer. Those three deer have generated over $350 in business to the small meat cutting business that handles our meat. The cost of tags to hunt in this small area is $90  for three tags each to cover the possibility we will each harvest three deer.

After the meat has been processed and we bring it home there is an additional cost of at least $25 to vacuum seal the processed meat so that it will keep without freezer burn for at least a year. As a conservative estimate, I would suggest our deer hunting has generated in excess of $500 in local business and license costs.

The area we are hunting is one of those special areas where deer can do much damage to agricultural produce – hence the generous season. It is not an urban area although there are many rural residents and farm operations in the area requiring any hunter to be especially alert to surroundings when you shoot.

Over the past few weeks there has been an on-going series of articles about the problems of over populations of geese and deer on Vancouver Island and elsewhere in the province. I respectfully make the following recommendation to create business, harvest local meat and possibly make headway in solving over populations of deer: In the case of the special hunting areas East of Highway 19 on Vancouver Island make the bag limit three deer of any sex and extend the hunting season to Jan. 31, 2013 from the current closure in the regulations of Dec. 10, 2012.

• • •

This column vigorously supports the following motion that was unanimously passed by the Area 14 Sport Fishing Advisory Board at their Nov. 15 meeting.

“Whereas the proposed removal of the only two fishery officers operating out of the Comox DFO office in 2014 will inevitably result in increased poaching, habitat violations, and a general lessening of compliance with fishing regulations;

Be It Therefore Resolved: That the Area 14 Sport Fishing Advisory Committee (SFAC) informs the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans that the proposed removal of the Conservation and Protection Officers from the Comox Office is NOT acceptable.”

Over the past century the Comox Valley has been, and continues to be, an active centre for both recreational and commercial fishing operations on the marine waters of Area 14 and during this period there has always been fisheries officers in the Valley. The DFO office in Comox has a permanent lease until 2019 and all other DFO related activities will continue to be served from this office.

Our saltwater fishery runs by rules and regulations which quantify how many fish we can catch, which species, when the season opens, where we can fish, what we can do in regards to disturbing marine environments, and a myriad of other things we do in the marine environment.

To consider removing our two fishery officers from the Comox Valley office is tantamount to senior managers of DFO saying we are prepared to cast aside the important on the waters, local regulatory work of the conservation officers in the largest urban community north of Nanaimo.

The only analogy I can make is to remove all police patrols in traffic to some central centre in Nanaimo who would supposedly be able to respond to people who were not stopping at stop signs or exceeding the speed limit.

The proposal to remove our marine fishery officers from the Comox office is wrongheaded and will set marine conservation and protection back into the 19th century in Area 14. Mr. Minister of DFO, PLEASE do not do this.

 

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

 

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