​October 3, 2017

The  BC Wildlife Federation is concerned about a recent decision by the province to restrict licensed hunter vehicle use in the Cariboo. The Province said this action was taken to protect big game wildlife in areas severely affected by wildfires this summer, and will be in effect until December 10, 2017.

President Harvey Andrusak has written to the Minister to express extreme disappointment with the new regulation targeting only resident hunters. The BCWF’s position is that vehicle use should be prohibited for everyone if there is a genuine conservation risk to wildlife in the area.

Here is a copy of that letter.

October 3, 2017

The Honourable Doug Donaldson

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations,

and Rural Development

PO Box 9049, Stn Prov Govt

Victoria, B.C.

V8W 9E2

Dear Minister Donaldson,

Re: Unfair Hunting Vehicle Restrictions in the Cariboo

The BCWF is hugely disappointed with a recent change to hunting regulations that restricts licensed resident hunting through vehicle closures in the Cariboo Region of the province.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development issued this hunting regulation change on September 29, 2017, in effect to December 10, 2017. The new regulations prohibit the use of all motor vehicles for the purpose of licensed hunting within the Chilcotin Plateau and Hanceville-Riske Creek fires in the Cariboo. The Province said this action was taken to protect big game wildlife in areas severely affected by wildfires this summer.

Effects of Roads on Wildlife

First Nations and nearly all recreational and commercial users remain un-impacted by this restriction. If this regulation is for conservation everyone on the land base should be removed, and the roads should be decommissioned and reseeded. The long-lasting legacy of roads, weeds, and habitat loss continue under this announcement.

The effects of roads and linear features on wildlife include: Vectors for invasive and noxious weeds, facilitating the movement of predators, habitat loss and degradation, habitat alienation, and increased sight ability and mortality through hunting. The overwhelming majority of the impacts on wildlife values come from the combination of roads and people.

Effects of Hunting on Cariboo Moose Populations

Resident hunter hunting opportunities for moose in the Cariboo are currently restricted to male (bull) only through a tightly controlled limited entry lottery draw. The resident hunter harvest in the Cariboo has been cut from over 3,000 per year in the 1980s to less than 600 today. Bull cow ratios in all of the Cariboo fire areas are above provincial minimums, and well above conservation-related thresholds. In addition, not one collared cow moose was killed in the fire. There is no scientific rationale that shows hunting by residents will have a meaningful impact for moose populations or wildlife values in the area.

The BCWF Calls for Fair Regulation

The BCWF is disappointed with the political decision to restrict motor vehicle use only for licensed hunters in the Cariboo. The new regulation neglects the long-lasting legacy effects of roads on wildlife values in British Columbia.

101-9706 188th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3M2 | T: 604-882-9988 TF: 1-888-881-2293 F: 604-882-9933 | www.bcwf.bc.ca

Harvey Andrusak, president of the 50,000-member federation said, “Closures targeted at hunting vehicle use only points out that this decision is a purely political measure unsupported by the science.” Andrusak notes that political decisions have no place in fish and wildlife management. He said, “This decision undermines the dedicated staff who work in the Ministry and puts into question the very purpose of biologists who work in the government.”

The government has stated that it believes fish and wildlife should be managed on the basis of science. Andrusak questions the sincerity of these commitments when recent decisions on grizzly bears, and now Cariboo Region moose and mule deer, were not made on the basis of science.

The BCWF’s position is that vehicle use should be prohibited for everyone if there is a genuine conservation risk to wildlife. The organization calls on the Minister to explain to the public the basis for the decision to close vehicle use solely for licensed hunters. The Minister also needs to state whether or not the restrictions are due to conservation concerns. In the absence of evidence to justify hunting vehicle-only closures, this is a politically motivated decision which puts resident hunters, wildlife and science at the bottom of the ladder.

We look forward to meeting with you as soon as possible to resolve this issue. The BCWF director of Strategic Initiatives will be contacting your office shortly to set up an in-person meeting.

Yours in conservation,

Harvey Andrusak

President

BC Wildlife Federation

Copies To:

Honourable John Horgan, Premier of the Province of British Columbia

Dr. Andrew Weaver, Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia

John Rustad, Opposition Forests Critic

101-9706 188th St, Surrey, BC V4N 3M2 | T: 604-882-9988 TF: 1-888-881-2293 F: 604-882-9933 | www.bcwf.bc.ca

Other News