If you plan to enter the Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) lottery for a chance to take part in one of several thousand LEH hunts, make certain you have the date May 23, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. firmly planted in your mind – this is when your application must be in Victoria.
Another point to reflect on is the failure rate of incorrectly completed application cards that stands at 25 per cent. Carefully study the illustration on page two of the synopsis that gives clear directions on how to fill out your application. There was a time when Fish and Wildlife staff would take time to try to correct your errors, but due to budget reductions this no longer happens – if your application is incorrectly completed it is not entered.
When you consider the odds associated with LEH applications you do not need to handicap yourself with and additional 1-in-4 failure rate. Take time to carefully complete your application. You should note that this year if you are not successful in being drawn you will not be notified by the Fish and Wildlife branch.
The LEH lottery has much better odds than we associate with normal lottery events. In 2013 about 173,000 applications were processed for roughly 27,000 authorizations for eight species of animals. The applications that really count are the ones you are successful in winning.
Shared hunts are an ideal way of hunting large animals such as moose and bison in my opinion. You can still apply as an individual, but when you lay a moose or bison on the ground it is pretty nice to have somebody to share the bounty and the work of getting the animal to the butcher. There is a lot of meat to share and several families stand to benefit from shared hunts. They also increase your chances of being drawn. Pictured with this column is a bull moose from one of the last shared hunts that Smitty and entered.
Note: all 2014/2015 all moose and bison hunts are either single applications or shared hunts.
Elk are open to many LEH throughout the province and indeed one hunt in Omineca/Peace Region 7 starts on Dec. 1, 2014 to Feb. 28, 2015 and has 2,000 authorizations for antlerless elk. Tells you something about the size of elk herds found in this portion of the province.
There are also age related hunts for youth 18 and under and seniors over 65. Check them out carefully because they can be confusing. If a season is printed in green it means that it is a new season for this year and the odds of successful draws are unknown.
This column is largely about the animals we normally hunt for meat such as deer, moose, elk and bison. I have purposely not looked at the odds for sheep, goats and caribou which are still important meat animals but on the exotic side. An individual application costs you $6.30 including taxes and it is true that you can’t win unless you play the game. In many cases the odds of winning a draw are surprisingly good. Good luck in your LEH lottery.
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Last week I attended a meeting chaired by Mayor Leslie Baird in the Village of Cumberland council chambers to discuss fundraising of money for the purchase of Maple Lake from Hancock Timber Company. I think it is fair to say all agreed that the lake should be a park as the land is now zoned in the Village of Cumberland.
There were views expressed that all of the Hancock Timber Lands at Maple Lake should be included in any future park. Several attendees expressed the view that the project was achievable, while there was some confusion about the process as presented by the Village of Cumberland council policy paper.
Virtually all levels of government were represented at the meeting, plus a broad representation from conservation groups interested in the successful acquisition of the lands as a park for the residents of the Comox Valley at large. I will try to keep you informed of progress on the acquisition of this beautiful urban lake for the people of the Valley.
In the meantime, on Wednesday, April 2 our Freshwater Fisheries Society biologist Scott Silvistri told me that they planned to stock Maple Lake with a generous number of catchable rainbow trout. Thank you, Hancock Timber, for the access.
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.