Monday, July 09, 2007

British Columbia Wants More Hunters

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment has proposed the first major overhaul of the Wildlife Act in more than 25 years. Among the changes is a liberalization of the hunting regulations to meet the provincial goal of generating 20,000 new hunters by the year 2014.

With that the government hopes to reverse the steady decline of resident hunters in British Columbia. A government study released in 2005 showed that the hunter numbers dropped to two percent of the population from six percent in 1981. In 2006 there where 93,701 registered resident hunters in British Clolumbia.

Chris Hamilton, a conflict resolution expert in the ministry who is heading the review said. “The province supports hunting because wild game is organic and the sport encourages people to care about the outdoors, helps to reduce wildlife conflicts with farmers, and contributes to rural economies.”

The government is looking at initiatives that would make it cheaper and easier for young and new hunters to get into the sport, allowing two people to share in certain hunts, and encouraging more hunting of nuisance wildlife such as deer on agricultural land.
Other considerations: allow bow hunters to hunt within a current no-go zone of 400 meters (437 yards) of a highway, and hunting courses taught by women to encourage more female participation in the sport. Hamilton said. "Like any business, if you have half the customers of 20 years ago, you look at what you're doing wrong."

Finally somebody talks sense in the BC government. Hunting and conservation should be looked at as a business. It is the hunter dollars generated form license fees and hunting goods taxes that pay for wildlife and habitat conservation. If the money would have to come from the taxpayers it would mean the end of wildlife and habitat conservation due to the lack of finances.

As a hunter and conservationist I always believed that it is part of Smart Hunting Strategies to be active in recruiting more new hunters to our ranks. For many years I have been actively lobbing the government to make it easier for new hunters to join our ranks. Among the proposed changes to reverse the decline in hunting are:

  • Extend the age range for junior licenses -- currently 10 to 14 years -- to 18 years old. A junior hunting license costs $7, including a conservation surcharge, compared with $32 for a B.C. resident adult license.
  • For one time only, allow new hunters to try the sport under the direct supervision of a licensed adult hunter, without the requirement to take the Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education exam.
  • Provide open seasons for mule deer does and white-tailed deer does for hunters under 19 years of age and new hunters.
  • Enable successful limited-entry hunting applicants to share their hunt with a hunting partner. Currently, a hunting tag for a species cannot be transferred to another hunter.

It seems that finally our government has seen the light and moves in the right direction. I am particularly happy that the government included new adult hunters too in some of the new hunter benefits. There are many adults that would like to get into hunting but find it very difficult to get started. The new regulations should make it easier for them, and the experienced hunter that helps the novice along the way.

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Anonymous said...

Hooray for the government of British Columbia. Sounds like they are dedicated to increasing the number of hunters in the province. That's very refreshing.

My Dad has been to British Columbia fishing several times and loves it there. He always brings back beautiful pictures. It looks like it would be a great place to hunt and fish while enjoying the outdoors.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Hooray indeed Kristine. That was news I have been waiting years for. Making it easier for young and novice hunters to join our ranks is just one, but to me very important part of the changes to come about. There are more good changes recommended in the document. Such as plainer written hunting and fishing regulations. BC must have some of the most confusing and convoluted regulations I have ever across in my many years of hunting in different countries, U.S. States and Canadian Provinces.

I bet your Dad like it in BC, it’s the fishing capitol of the world, you know! British Columbia is one of the most beautiful places on earth I have ever seen, and I have seen many places in my 30+ years traveling.

-Othmar Vohringer-

Jon said...

Othmar, you are correct, B.C. may be the prettiest place I have ever seen (next to Texas)...We fished for Salmon one day, up against sheer cliffs, north of the harbor and what a day!

B.C. is doing a great service to our sport. Here, we have a weekend, "Youth Only", 14 and under, Deer Hunt, the weekend before the general season opens. the youth must be accompanied by an adult. A great promotion of hunting!

Bill Anderson said...

Glad you covered this..I saw it on my alerts. Good Job!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks for stopping by Bill. This is very good news and I am thrilled about it. As a recruiter of new hunters this makes it much easier for me to convince people to join our ranks. Under the old rules it was next to impossible to get folks even remotely interested, with to many hoops to jump through for them and to many hurdles.

-Othmar Vohringer-

Anonymous said...

Hello There Omar I am 13 years old and i have never gone hunting because there is so much hassle getting something to hunting with. Could I borrow a rifle from a friend or do I have to get a offical document stating that I can have position of one? But I think that it is great that BC is interested in getting more hunters and all I can say is KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK !

Othmar Vohringer said...
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When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get
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