Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Women, kids sought as new hunters
Officials want more B.C.ers to buy hunting licences
The B.C. government wants to increase the number of registered hunters by 20,000 in the next eight years, and is targeting women and children. British Columbians will be encouraged to buy guns and go hunting to reverse a dramatic downturn in hunting in the past 20 years, under a proposal by the Environment Ministry.
"Like any business, if I had lost half my clients from 20 years ago I would want to look at barriers and bring those people back," said Chris Hamilton, who is heading a review of the Wildlife Act covering hunting in B.C. for the ministry. Hamilton said there are 350,000 registered hunters in B.C. but only 85,000 bought hunting licences in 2006. In 1981, 180,000 licences were issued.
Proposed changes include hunting courses taught by women to encourage more women to hunt, and an open deer-hunting season for new and under-19 hunters.
The proposed changes would also permit a one-time-only, single-season licence for new hunters to go out with licensed hunters without taking a required safety course, lower the price of species licences, and extend the less-expensive junior licence to hunters up to 18 years old, rather than ending at 14. Provincial government statistics show hunters contributed $48 million to the economy in 2003.
Hamilton said the benefits of hunting include providing organic meat, keeping people active and helping solve "agricultural conflicts," where animals move into farmland and eat crops. For example, he said, mule deer are causing significant damage to crops in the Peace, Cariboo, Okanagan and East Kootenay.
Victor Camele, of Vancouver's Italian Sporting Goods, said yesterday the downturn in gun sales for hunters has been made up by an increase in target shooters who belong to gun clubs. He said the price of a hunting licence is already fair.
Instead, he said, B.C. should revise the licence lottery system for species like moose, where there are more people wanting to hunt the animal than there are licences. A random draw determines who gets licences. "It's been five years since I got a moose draw," Camele said. "For some of my customers it's been 15 years." In Alberta, a person's chances increase each year they enter the lottery. "That keeps hunters involved and interested in the sport," he said.
John Mathieson, from Vancouver's Reliable Gun and Tackle, said the number of hunters coming to his store slumped between 1999 and 2001. He attributed that to the poor economy at the time. "Hunting is one of the first things affected by a downturn," he said.
Joe Foy, spokesman for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said he is concerned about reducing the firearms and hunting training required. Foy also believes cutting prices will have little impact on encouraging hunting: "I don't think you get more hunters by making it cheaper." Foy said there are better ways to integrate wildlife into B.C.'s culture and economy, like ecotourism. "Look at the tremendous success and growth of those enterprises and clubs involved in wildlife watching," he said.
Darlene Clarke, who runs hunting courses for kids and women in Port Alberni, said hunting is great for the whole family. "The relaxation and enjoyment, and of course the exercise," she said.
The public has until Sunday to comment on the proposed changes. For details, go to http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlifeactreview/discussion/toc.html. The new legislation will be introduced in the spring.
Comment: Share your views with the newspaper and reporters, as well. Carmina Gooch did.
July 19 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Sunday, the province closed a three-month consultation period to review the wildlife act. While it’s commendable the government went to some effort to invite public input, some of the recommendations in the environment ministry’s discussion paper border on the crazy. For instance, we are now down by tens of thousands of hunters from 25 years ago.
The ministry—which controls hunting in B.C.—reports it sold 84,000 hunting licences to B.C. residents in 2005-06, plus another 6,000 to non-residents. This compares with the 180,000 licences sold in 1981, according to a published report. Well, great.
Maybe that means people are growing more interested in watching animals than in blasting away at them. Or it could mean fewer people want to eat bits of dead, chopped-up animals, thanks in part to government programs to encourage healthier eating. However, the government has a better idea: Let’s boost the number of hunters.
The ministry’s latest service plan, issued last February, states that the goal is to issue 100,000 basic hunting licences annually in seven years—an increase of 10,000. Better yet, let’s make it easier for young people to get into the great outdoors and kill things.
An environment ministry discussion paper, released last March, deals with revising the province’s wildlife act, which governs hunting in the province. A new version of the legislation is due in the legislature next spring. For some reason, the paper appears to lean in one direction, at least when it comes to hunting: Let’s get more people out there in the wild with lethal weapons.
For instance, the paper repeatedly refers to the number of animals killed as “the harvest,” as though it was discussing the latest soybean crop. To be fair, the paper does propose some worthwhile changes—such as strengthening the penalties for illegal killing and trafficking in wildlife.
But then there’s the government’s interestingly named “hunter recruitment and retention project.” The paper suggests that the project’s target is more even ambitious than the service plan’s. The project aims at adding 20,000 hunters in B.C. during the next 10 years.
Why? Well, for one thing, there’s the “quality of the outdoor recreation experience,” says the paper. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of enjoying B.C.’s outdoor recreation experience. But why the need to carry a weapon to enjoy it?
Of course, not anyone can shoot anything in any way they want. “All hunting that takes place in B.C. must be carried out in an ethical and humane way,” says the discussion paper. Whew! That’s a relief: I’m sure there’s nothing worse than being slaughtered unethically. (I know I’d just hate it.)
As well, in general hunters have to have licences, issued by the government—which legally owns all B.C. wildlife. However, those licences have been a little too hard to get, the paper suggests. So, let’s make it easier.
First, we’ll extend the cheaper “junior licences” to those aged between 10 and 18 years. Second, we’ll reduce the price for species licences. Third, we’ll let first-time hunters go out for a season, with an experienced hunter, without having to take that annoying safety course. After all, there must be innumerable would-be hunters who would be out there killing animals, but for the trouble it takes to learn how not to shoot people. The paper’s apparent pro-hunting bias didn’t go unnoticed by conservationists.
Peter Hamilton, of Vancouver-based Lifeforce Foundation, was all too willing to contribute to the public’s input on the issue. “Your purpose should not be to make hunting cheaper, less restrictive and to promote it as being a quality ‘cool’ experience,” Hamilton wrote in a July 15 submission to the ministry. “In this day and age, with changed public attitudes that respect and protect wildlife, your government should not be promoting killing wildlife.”
In addition, wrote Hamilton, the government should abandon its hunter recruitment and retention project. “The role of the government must be as the guardian of the wildlife, to protect them for present and future generations—alive, not dead.”
In an interview this week, Hamilton calls the government “hypocritical” for trying to attract tourists to see super natural B.C. while also attempting to draw more hunters to kill off parts of that natural beauty. “People enjoy wildlife alive, not dead,” Hamilton says, a view that the ministry’s own statistics seem to bear out.
He particularly objects to the paper’s proposal to encourage young people to hunt. Are 10-year-olds really mature enough to make a considered decision about ending another being’s life? “Young kids are being coerced into hunting by parents and relatives, when they may not want to kill animals,” he says.
Hamilton wonders about the real purpose of the wildlife act: “Is it to allow vested interests to exploit wildlife and kill them? Or should it be called the hunting act?”
As if to underline the province’s apparent interest in shooting things, last week B.C. handed a hunting lobby group a grant to continue working on a “biodiversity strategy.” Though the amount, $40,000, is not large, the symbolism in handing it over to Ducks Unlimited is bizarre.
In a July 11 statement, environment minister Barry Penner praised the lobby group for its “huge contributions” to preserving wetland habitat. Isn’t it nice that the government is helping a hunting group preserve refuges for birds? That way, after a relaxing stay at the refuges, the birds can take off happily into the blue yonder before being blasted out of the sky.
CLOUDLINE CO-EXISTENCE LTD.
Pacific Rim Grizzly Bear Co-Existence Study
Subject of BBC Documentary “The Edge of Eden”
“Proposed changes to BC Wildlife Act nothing but a desperate attempt to prop up a dying hunting culture”
Raised in a famous hunting family, I grew up as a hunter but as society evolved away from hunting so did we too. Unfortunately, the authors of proposed changes to the BC Wildlife Act are mired in a past when it was necessary to kill animals in order to survive. As society has become more civilized in its approach to wildlife, hunter numbers have declined by 50% since 1982. The BC Government’s response is to “recruit” 20,000 new hunters into BC forests - even targeting women and children for a “quality hunting experience”. This is nothing short of a desperate attempt to prop up a dying hunting culture.
In a civilized society, wild animals should not be viewed as a commodity to be “managed” for the “harvest” and I think most people would be shocked to know that this is the view held by the BC Ministry of Environment. Morally, this document is wrong but politically it is just plain stupid and a ridiculous attempt to hang on to outdated rhetoric and values.
Over the last 12 years of my work in Russia, I saw wealthy Canadian hunters behave in the most disgraceful way - shooting from helicopters, upgrading the size of bear, moose and sheep trophies by killing larger ones and dumping the smaller. One guide, himself disgusted, told me of a single hunter who killed 5 animals on one species/permit. Enough money and an unscrupulous guide is all that is needed.
Trophy hunting Canadians, in significant numbers, are contributing to this unscrupulous trend leading to seriously declining populations of bear, sheep and moose in Russia today.
If BC hunter/outfitters are allowed to self-regulate, if licenses are made cheaper, regulations downgraded because they are too “restrictive” and it is easier to ship trophy heads home, the doors will be wide open to the same kind of hunters.
Ministry officials say hunters are necessary to ensure balanced population numbers within various species. I have lived where predators are no longer killed indiscriminately and this is simply not true. When allowed to live as nature intended, species find equilibrium. They don’t need hunters to help them do it. When Ontario ended the spring Bear hunt in 1998 because so many females are killed with dependent cubs, the population of black bears did not explode as hunter special interests predicted.
Statistics prove that eco-tourism brings far more money into the BC economy than hunting. For every dollar brought into the province by a hunter with a gun, four or more is brought in by a tourist hunting with a camera. Why not capitalize on that trend? Be innovative by shifting the focus to wildlife viewing and fostering new technologies to protect our wildlife and habitat. Be on the cutting edge of the green theme that Premier Campbell says he advocates.
I understand it is hard to change deep rooted habits but history moves with change and BC should be on the leading edge of the massive shift taking place in the world with respect to conservation and protection of environment and wildlife. What we do here in BC is news around the world in seconds so why not make it good news?
BC’s place in the world when it comes to conservation of habitat and protection of wildlife will be a direct result of Minister of Environment, Mr. Penner’s vision for the future through changes to the Wildlife Act and other policies. Will he look back or will he look forward? This will be his legacy.
In a letter to Minister Penner, I have asked him to put these proposed Wildlife Act changes on hold and to reconsider the direction he will take on this issue. It will be disappointing to me and many others here and around the world, if he makes the wrong choice.
July 12, 2007Vancouver Province, Editor Cc: David Carrigg
Now I've heard everything. Hunting is that of a bygone era and as others in history have said before, we won't find peace ourselves until we stop harming others. Albert Schweitzer asked, "When will we reach the point that hunting, the pleasure in killing animals for sport, will be regarded as a mental aberration?" Let's hope it's soon.Terry Roberge, North Vancouver The Vancouver Province, Editor
One would think the downturn in hunting is a good thing, reflecting a growing sensitivity and respect for other species. Instead, we've got a government who, in all its wisdom, wants to encourage women and children to snuff out innocent victims, just for the heck of it. Surely there are more friendly forms of recreation other than blood sports, an immoral and moronic activity that should be snuffed out itself.Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver
Hunting horrorsLetter Published The Province: Sunday, July 15, 2007
I have seen things during hunting season that would make grown men cry.
I've seen animals with their lower jaw shot off, slowly starving to death. I've seen carloads of drunks riding around at all hours of the day, shooting anything that moved.
I've counted 20 moose carcasses in fields, shot by ranchers and rotting, with no sign of anyone trying to use the meat. I've seen hunters smitten with buck fever running after animals, shooting wildly with no concern for safety. I've seen bears shot and left to waste with only their claws removed.
I was a big, brave hunter once, many years ago. It was these scenes that made me stop this dirty game. The one picture that is burnt into my mind, and which was the final straw, was to see beautiful birds of prey shot and hung on a post for all to see.
Now our government wants to hand out 20,000 hunting licences, especially to women and children. This is total madness. And I thought the NDP had all the idiots.Peter Archer, Vancouver
Another letter published: Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I am a 25-year-old woman, and the B.C. government will never recruit me as a hunter. This is not because I play too many video games, it's not because I don't like to go outside and exercise, and it certainly isn't because I am an ignorant city dweller. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up on Vancouver Island among its bears, deer, cougars, eagles, raccoons and other animals. I am an avid hiker, trail runner, trail rider, camper and wildlife observer.
I respect wildlife in the same way as I respect my elders, and I certainly would never use a high-powered automatic weapon to violently blow them up. This leaves me wondering which definition of respect these hunters are using when they describe themselves as "respecting wildlife."
Marley Daviduk, Abbotsford
Arrow kills doe, orphaned fawns believed dead
Victoria Times Colonist: Friday, July 13, 2007
Saanich police animal control officers are not giving up on their search for the poacher who shot a doe with an arrow near Prospect Lake Road, leaving her to die a slow, painful death and orphaning her twin fawns.
The fawns, who were last seen standing near their mother after she died on a Woodsend Road lawn June 28, are believed to have since died. The twins were only days old and it is unlikely they would have survived without a mother to provide for them. Pound officers made several unsuccessful attempts to find the fawns.
Anyone with information about the person who shot the doe in her hindquarters is asked to call Saanich police at 475-4321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
N.W.T. reindeer herd offered to hunters at $375 a shot
CBC News December 23, 2008
The manager of the Northwest Territories' only reindeer herd hopes to cash in on the caribou decline by giving hunters the right to shoot his animals for $375 a head. For that price, Lloyd Binder says, hunters are guaranteed to kill a reindeer and keep its meat. He charges more if the hunter needs a guide and snowmobile transportation to the free-ranging herd, which is wintering 100 kilometres north of Inuvik.
The 3,000 reindeer, owned by Kunnek Resources Development, are descendants of a herd brought to the Beaufort Delta by the Canadian government during the Great Depression to help feed the Inuvialuit people when caribou were scarce.
Binder said it has been a struggle to make money selling packaged reindeer meat, so he decided to open the herd to hunting. With the region's caribou herds in serious decline, he said his timing is right.
"I think this is the kind of thing for a guy who likes to do it himself when he can't go out for caribou, or may have to go a long way and risk not getting any caribou," Binder said. "It's fully guaranteed. If, per chance, they got an animal that wasn't healthy — and there's the odd one in any herd — well, they can take another one."
Hunter Ryan Drummond, who couldn't go caribou hunting because he's not a permanent resident, took up Binder's offer to bag a reindeer. "The experience of going out and harvesting an animal and field-dressing it — although it is a lot of work — is very rewarding," Drummond said.
Caribou and reindeer are from the same biological group, but reindeer are slightly smaller and have been domesticated in the circumpolar world.
Comment: Once again the human species demonstrates its total insensitivity and arrogance toward all other living beings. Just because we dominate this planet does not give us the right to ruthlessly murder all other creatures. They deserve our compassion, our protection, and are our equals.
“As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought: in their behaviour toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, Enemies: A Love Story
BC is waging a war on wildlife. Let government at all levels know that you want this madness stopped. Wildlife belongs to all of us and deserves our protection, not annihilation.
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