During the past few weeks there has been a series of meetings sponsored by the BC Wildlife Federation to discuss the implications of major changes in the Wildlife Harvest Allocation Policy as it relates to hunter members of the federation and other resident B.C. hunters.
Much of the background information for this column was garnered from written reports and other appropriate information sources for these meetings.
The 2013-2014 Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) Regulations Synopsis opens with the following statement:
“Limited Entry Hunting”
“Limited Entry Hunting, or LEH, is a system by which hunting authorizations are awarded to resident hunters based on a lottery, or random draw. The purpose of LEH is to achieve wildlife arrangement objectives and maintain hunting opportunity.”
LEH seasons are introduced where it has become necessary to limit the number of hunters or limit the number, class or sex of animals that may be taken. The following species of game animals are available under LEH within certain areas of the province: bison, caribou, elk, grizzly bear, moose, mountain goat, mountain sheep, and mule (black-tailed) deer. Note: on Vancouver Island, Region 1 the primary animal for LEH regulations is the resident population of Roosevelt elk.
In regards to the contributions of Island residents to the enhancement and conservation of Roosevelt elk herds, the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Protective Association (CDFGPA) states the following: “Our members have worked in conjunction with your ministry staff for 25 years to restore, relocate and rebuild Roosevelt elk populations on Vancouver Island and British Columbia’s West Coast along with habitat restoration works.
“Allocating funds towards science data collection through the purchase of satellite tracking collars in late 2014 to the sum of $6,000 US. As recently as the second week of January, 2015 our members have been working in conjunction with your ministry staff to ensure that more resident LEH Roosevelt elk hunting opportunity would and will continue by transplanting another group of Roosevelt elk to a more suitable habitat area.” Note: The above quotes were taken from a letter to Premier Christie Clarke from CDFGPA president Dale Frame.
Resident hunters on Vancouver Island face heavy odds in trying to be drawn for a Roosevelt elk LEH hunt. The picture of the prime set of elk antlers is from a bull that was taken in an LEH hunt on Vancouver Island during the 2014 season. It is the first successful draw the resident hunter received after trying for many years.
To the families involved, the elk produced over 400 pounds of prime meat. To the successful hunter the antlers are a priceless reward and honour from a successful hunt with his two companions.
From statistics I have received the following trend is happening with LEH allocations of Roosevelt elk on Vancouver Island to the Guide Outfitters: Region 1, Vancouver Island Bull Elk: 10% prior to 2007, 12% in 2007 allocations, 13% in 2012 allocations, 20% in the latest proposal in December.
This column finds this policy to be truly negative in its treatment of citizens of this province. It is especially offensive when you look at the record of the CDFGPA in contributing to the restoration of Roosevelt elk herds throughout the Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
The disclosure of this perverse policy is enlightening but not very encouraging to citizens of British Columbia. In a democratic state the government of the people, by the people, for the people is a basic underlying principle of free societies.
It seems our provincial government is prepared to give increasing numbers of LEH allocations to individuates with deep pockets. It is my information that a guided hunt for Roosevelt elk on Vancouver Island costs about $25,000. In other words if you have lots of money all you need to do is pay a guide outfitter to take you to a bull elk and you shoot it. No long lineups or generation waits. It really doesn’t matter that the citizens of British Columbia are the owners of the resource and work hard to ensure its future.
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae will be present at the regular meeting the CDFGPA on Monday, Feb. 2 to discuss the developing LEH policy with those present.
Are we still a democracy???
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.