It is a challenge to move from an active fishing season – still ongoing – and open the hunting folder. We live in a blessed part of the Island that has a rich hunting resource along with our bountiful fishing.
Technically our local archery season in Region 1 (Vancouver Island and some Coastal inlets) for black tailed deer and black bear opened Aug. 25 and grouse season opened Sept. 1. The first of several split seasons for Canada geese opened Sept. 7. The main firearms season for black tailed deer opened Sept. 10 throughout the region.
Region 1 – Vancouver Island is one of nine resource management regions that regulate the hunting and trapping resources of the province. Many resident hunters from Vancouver Island make annual trips to the vast hunting regions of the Interior that are home to moose, elk, bison, mountain sheep, mountain goats and deer.
While the thrill and challenges of big game hunting are significant factors in the rationale for the hunt, another important factor is the thousands of pounds of prime organic meat that is harvested each season.
Region 1, Management Unit 6 covers the land area that encompasses most of the watersheds that flow into the Strait of Georgia from Qualicum Beach on the south to Campbell River on the north including Denman and Hornby islands.
For a comparison it covers approximately the same area as Area 14 in the saltwater regulations except that it is primarily on land. It is home to thousands of deer, hundreds of black bears and some herds of Roosevelt elk. The regional limit for black tailed deer is three, of which only two may be antlerless and only two may be bucks. The season limit for black bear is two. The daily limit for snow geese and white fronted geese is five per day, while the daily limit for Canada Geese and cackling geese is ten. The daily limit for ducks is eight, with some species limitations. The daily limit by species for grouse is five of each species with a total daily limit of 15 birds.
Of particular interest to local hunters is the sub-region on Map A22 on page 32 of the provincial regulations. The Courtenay/Campbell River – Bow or Firearms using shot only area (situated in MU 1-6) and special antlerless mule deer (black tail) season. A Gulf Island special license is required on Denman and Hornby islands.
This relatively small area is bounded on the west by Highway 19 and the coastline on the east. It is a primary area where deer, Canada geese and ducks can create serious problems for agriculture and home gardening activities. Most of the land in question is private so if you hunt in this sub-region get permission from the appropriate landowners.
The local press and media frequently reports on the negative aspects of large populations of the above animals in urban areas all along the coast from Campbell River to Victoria. Culls and fortress-quality fences are frequently mentioned as methods of controlling the offensive animals and birds.
Recreational hunting as allowed in the above regulations offers a sensible solution to much of the problem. It also creates a positive method of harvesting high-quality, locally grown protein by way of meat from the animals and birds taken during the hunt.
One of the problems of using low-impact projectiles, such as arrows and shot from shotguns, is that the animal will frequently run a short distance before it drops dead. This occasionally results in a deer expiring where somebody who is deeply offended by the dead animal gets all excited, calls the press and calls hunters all kinds of negative beings. The press will report that this picture may not be suitable for all members of your family.
It is a reality of life that any meat we consume is normally dead unless you enjoy raw oysters; which are eaten while the animal is still alive. I respectfully suggest that there is nothing unpleasant about a dead animal that you had nothing to do with – such as a dead deer in your neighbourhood or as in the thousands of road deaths of animals on our streets and highways throughout the year. They are part of the reality show called Life.
Hunting is a positive way of harvesting problem animals in congested rural and urban areas.
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.