Together For Wildlife, Improving Wildlife Stewardship and Habitat Conservation in
British Columbia, an NDP Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and
Rural Development Document August 2020 echoes the sentiments of many British
Columbians: “we asked you to share your concerns and ideas for change. We heard your
calls for sufficient funding, effective legislation, clear objectives and meaningful on the
ground work. And we heard this urgent work needs to start now.”
Nevertheless a careful read of Together For Wildlife describes a slow moving process
dominated by the bureaucracy that will not challenge the science that validates hunting
seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) authorizations: population
estimates, wildlife theory, hunter questionnaire information.
Perspective: The history of B.C. wildlife habitat and access management has been a
long painful journey in which wildlife has lost virtually every fight to competing
stakeholders. Progress at best will be painfully slow. Therefore terminating the failed
hunting opportunity agenda has to be the first step forward and replced with wildlife
management that puts a premium on the resource not the money
2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis: There are some 3500
active trappers in the province, while B.C.’s 100,000 resident hunters, along with guide
outfitters add some $350 million to the economy each year. Steve Thomson, Minister
of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
If Together for Wildlife is a credible document and not driven by the revenue stream
then it is important Minister of Environment, George Heyman publicly announce that
serious wildlife management mistakes have been made and consequently the 2022-
2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Synopsis must mandate a dramatic reduction
in hunting seasons, bag limits and LEH authorizations.
Historical Perspective-1991 Mike Harcourt NDP Government
British Columbia’s Environment, Planning for the Future, Managing Wildlife to 2001:
A discussion Paper (1991) a duplication of Together For Wildlife (Aug. 2020).
Managing Wildlife to 2001 confronts the issues jeopardizing wildlife and proposes
major management initiatives to ensure a sound and sustainable resource. Under this
“umbrella” document, the Wildlife Program will release other key planning products,
including regional wildlife plans, provincial species statements and a land management
Introduction-The Challenge of Managing Wildlife in the 1990s
Securing our wildlife heritage and maintaining those values will not be easy. But the
challenge is infinitely worthwhile- one we can meet through strong and responsible
People across this province recognize that our wildlife resource is a treasure to be
cherished and protected. In a 1987 National Survey, for example, 87 percent of British
Columbians stated that maintaining plentiful wildlife was important to them.
The program’s mandate is to manage wildlife for the benefit of all citizens,
present and future.
Conclusion- We in the Wildlife Program are committed to sustaining abundant and
thriving wildlife for all British Columbians now and in the future. The new wildlife
strategy will seek to accomplish that crucial task, while reflecting the concerns which
people throughout B.C. have about wildlife management.
What are the sum of the reasons that explain why managing wildlife to 2001 failed? Is
that the same fate awaiting Together For Wildlife?
I am in the process of talking to credible veteran hunters most of whom I have known
for many years. The roll call will not change: mule deer populations down 80-90%
since the late eighties, early nineties, whitetail deer population down 80-90% since the
mid nineties, elk populations appear to be stable but the quality of the hunt has been
compromised, moose populations are struggling, grouse are seldom seen.
To put the anecdotal information in perspective I am quoting senior bureaucrats
and scientists who describe the thinking that destroyed the North Atlantic Cod stocks:
Who Killed the Grand Banks by Alex Rose 16 years on since July 2, 1992 when Federal
minister of Fisheries, John Cosby implemented a two year moratorium on cod fishing
still in effect to-day.
Chapter 3 Botched Science.
In 1982, the size of both the inshore catch and the individual fish making up the
catch began to decline.
The inshore fishermen became increasingly vocal about the perils of over fishing
and accused the off shore fleet of fishing the stocks too heavily. Essentially the
government was telling the inshore fisherman that they didn’t know what they
were talking about.
In 1986, the Newfoundland Inshore Fisheries Association became more scientific. It
commissioned three biologists to review the government’s stock assessments. Their
review criticized the government’s sources of data, its statistical procedures and its
conclusions about the status of the Northern Cod stock. It charged that the government
systematically interpreting uncertain information in the most optimistic light had
overestimated the fish biomass (total weight of the stock) by as much as 55 percent each
As Ransom Myers noted, bureaucratic and authoritarian control, over scientific
results, results in pseudoscience, not science. Such a system will inevitably fail and
lead to scientific blunders.
Jake Rice, former head of the DFO’s Ground Fish Division admitted that there were
times when political realities prevented him and his colleagues from disclosing the
full scientific truth. I, and no other scientist in the department that I know of have ever
been asked to lie. But we certainly have at various times been discouraged from
revealing the whole truth. Every government has to do that to it’s civil servants.
John Crosbie admitted to sharing this tendency towards optimism: “we have opted for
the upper end of the scientific advice always striving to get the last pound of fish.
Two helicopter wildlife counts by provincial biologists 1966 and 2011, bookend
stories that describe a mule deer population in crisis.
Deer count made in Boundary Area-hunting prospects good. The Gazette
Wednesday, April 13, 1966.
A deer count held in the Grand Forks-Christina Lake area was taken recently by
helicopter and road tabulation. It was under the auspices of the Fish and Game Branch
with R. Shepherd, local Game conservation Officer and Dave Spalding, Fish and Game
Branch Biologist of Penticton doing the count.
On March 24 a flight was made from Grand Forks to Christina Lake and there were
254 mule deer and 514 whitetail counted. On March 25 a flight was made from Grand
Forks to Rock Creek and the count was 530 mule deer and 45 whitetail.
On March 16 and 17 a two day road count was taken. This included the north fork of
the Granby River from Grand Forks to Lynch Creek and back down the east side and a
circle to Christina Lake. The count was 55 whitetail and 86 mule deer. The breakdown
of the entire count was 850 mule deer and 1113 whitetail.
The number of deer counted per minute averaged 5 which is higher than any other
area count in the Okanagan.
The count from the helicopter only covered the open slopes and took about two hours
flying time in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.
Also recorded in the counts were one coyote and many hawks, eagles and grouse, a
great deal of blue grouse were rousted by the helicopter.
Shuswap and Boundary Mule Deer Composition Surveys November/December
Local resident hunters and guide outfitters have expressed concerns for several years
now about mule deer numbers and reduced harvest in 8-15 (Grand Forks/Christina Lake)
A sample size of 211 mule deer in MU 8-15 was counted and classified. The total
helicopter survey time was approximately 12.7 hrs.
Low encounter rates during our survey and harvest data support anecdotal information
from residents and guide outfitters that MU 8-15 mule deer populations are low to the
peak in the early 1990s. However, past hunt composition suggest that hunting bucks is
not the cause of low mule deer numbers in the MU.
Mule deer populations province wide were compromised in the 1960s. An intelligent
read of the Boundary Deer Herd by D.J.Spalding puts the story in clear focus, long
mule deer doe seasons and the brutal winter of 1968. Grand Forks pioneers, Gordon and
Howard Bryant and Jim Glanville long gone, told me a number of times “Barry we used
to see mule deer in groups of 30”.
Hunting bucks is not the cause of low mule deer numbers is polar opposite
thinking why 30 plus hunters had a meeting with Region 8 Okanagan wildlife manager,
Steve Willett and senior biologist Fred Harper at the Grand Forks Wildlife Hall Nov. 97.
The preponderance of the anecdotal evidence demanded a reduction in the mule deer
buck rifle season in a last ditch attempt to save the critical mass of the population.
Although Aaron Reid is hardly the reason the province’s wildlife is in crisis, his
words are a reminder money supersedes responsible wildlife management.
Barry Brandow Sr.
There has been a major change at the BC Legislature, contrary to the vision of the
pundits: NDP 57 seats, BC Liberals 28 and Green Party 2.
A cursory examination of the curriculum vitae of Premier John Horgan and a few of
his cabinet colleagues gives some hope that science not partisan politics will emerge in
at least some small way in the future management of the forests, grasslands, wildlife,
water and parks.
Hope springs eternal so maybe some management changes will be significant but
remember the Canadian curse that drives natural resource management never goes away:
Jobs, economy, health care.
A quote by former NDP Premier, Dan Miller re-enforces my image of John Horgan as
an alpha male I spoke to three times.
“In January 2014, former Premier Dan Miller, who’d once employed Horgan in his
office, went on Vaughn Palmer’s voice of BC Television Show to add his voice to those
who wanted to draft Horgan back into the race.
“I think he’d be the perfect guy” said Miller. He looks good. He’s a stand up guy.
He looks you in the eye. He is a straight shooter. When I was Premier and I was in a
jam and had a caucus that was bitterly divided in at least three ways, the guy I brought in
to help was John Horgan.”
The Inside Story of the Political Battle For B.C. by Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman
Premier John Horgan describes himself as a passionate big male. In reality he is a
passionate big alpha male. He is outspoken and doesn’t run from a fight. The Premier
often describes himself as a former lacrosse player. The sports venue/arena is often
where men and women hone their character and learn to deal with adversity.
I spoke to John Horgan briefly three times. The first time at the BC Liberal
Convention in Kelowna August 2011. In a short conversation I reminded him that I had
convinced former Sierra Club chair, Vicky Husband to sit beside me at a meeting with
the NDP Rural Caucus at the BC Legislature the third week of February 2009.
John quickly acknowledged that he knew Vicky, after all she lives in his riding and
has a reputation as a fighter with strong opinions.
John Horgan and his political partner, Carol James spoke at a meeting in Grand Forks
when the party was in opposition. I don’t recall the date, probably June 2016.
At the meeting Horgan said he had been an understudy to Premier Mike Harcourt.
Let’s hope Premier Horgan and his cabinet colleagues have a meaningful connection to
former NDP Premier Harcourt Government’s Commission on Resources and
Environment Overview October, 1994.
The BC Legislature created CORE by statute (The Commission on Resources and
Environment Act) in July, 1992 for three primary reasons:
• to ensure the sustainability of a natural resource based economy after a
century of increasingly intense resource extraction and sustainability of the
ecosystems that support all economic and non-economic activities in the province.
• To increase the level of meaningful public participation in land use and
resource management decisions.
• To address aboriginal concerns about land and resource use on the traditional
territories of First Nations.
I had a short conversation with the Premier in Osoyoos June 2018. I agreed with the
Premier’s assessment of forest management. He hired former Dawson Creek Mayor and
former BC Liberal Cabinet Minister Blair Lekstrom to try and resolve the caribou
restoration logging jobs issue. The backdrop to the conversation was the longstanding
grim logging practices.
I also reminded the Premier that First Nation Chief John Henderson and his First
Nation colleagues had a conservative First Nation, outfitter, resident hunter harvest that
has resulted in a healthy elk herd in which older males are well represented, an
extremely rare event in the modern era of management in B.C.
Horgan opts for stability, keeps veterans in key cabinet posts- Andrew Macleod, The
Tyee.CA November 27, 2020.
“A half dozen veteran ministers were shifted into new jobs. Selina Robinson moved
to finance, Katrine Conroy to Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and
Rural Development and Rob Fleming going to Transportation and Infrastructure.”
B.C. returning to stand-alone Forests, Rural Development Ministry, Horgan says
Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work- Tom Fletcher, Nov. 27, 2020.
The B.C. Ministry with the biggest name and footprint in provincial history is being
broken up as part of a reform of rural resource development, Premier John Horgan says.
Newly elected Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen has been assigned the task of reorganizing
what is now officially known as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource
Operations and Rural development into two government departments. That will leave
Kootenay West MLA, Katrine Conroy with a focus on forests and rural
development as B.C.’s first female forests minister.
Cullen, a long time northwest B.C.MP was appointed “Minister of State” or assistant
to Conroy, will likely end up in charge of the vast crown lands and resource roads
that wind through them.
“When we were sworn in 2017, it was my desire to have a stand-alone ministry of
forests, something that the former B.C. Liberals had rolled into what is now one of the
most unwielding ministries within government”, Horgan said after revealing his new
cabinet lineup Nov. 26. “Minister Cullen’s job, working with Minister Conroy is to
dis-aggregate that, and take component parts and move them to where they might
be better utilized”.
On the Sunday a day before Premier John Horgan dropped the writ for the November
3, 2020 election I had a phone conversation with Katrine Conroy.
Much of the conversation was about her husband’s accident and his subsequent death.
At the end of the conversation I reminded Katrine that regardless of cabinet decisions I
know where her heart is.
Katrine was the MLA for the Boundary (Castlegar, Trail and Grand Forks) 2005-
- Not long after the election I met her and subsequently encouraged her to
accompany me on a field trip on Gilpin to sell my argument in support of A Wildlife
A field trip showcasing the waterholes and erosion is going to take at least 2 1/2-3
hours and by that time her staff was concerned about her welfare.
The third week of February 2009 Katrine arranged a meeting with the NDP Rural
Caucus at the BC Legislature in Victoria in which I made a pitch for the “Draft
Management Plan July 2008 Proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area”. I
convinced veteran Sierra Club voice, Vicky Husband to sit beside me at the meeting.
The Draft Management Plan was prepared by the Okanagan Region Environmental
Stewardship Division. A long title for the work of park planner, Keith Baric with
support from BC Liberal Minister of Environment Barry Penner.
I had a meeting with Katrine at her constituency office in Castlegar and convinced her
to come to Rock Creek and listen to hunters and concerned citizens.
The meeting December 1st. 2016 at the Rock Creek Wildlife Hall with Katrine Conroy
and her husband, Ed was attended by 35 rural British Columbians fed up with wildlife
management, that point was made by the consensus on nine questions I asked the
audience, seven to preface the meeting and two later.
I introduced Katrine Conroy who was the MLA for the Boundary-Trail Castlegar and
Grand Forks 2005-2009 and reminded everyone that she represented her constituents, in
other words getting a government response to questions or issues important to
Katrine had the hunting file and spoke to hunters in other parts of the province that
consequently resulted in Bill M 217-2016 Sustainable Wildlife Management Act 2016:
The Bill would establish a round table to carry out collaborative planning with First
Nations and stakeholder groups. Conservation of fish, wildlife and habitat will be a
priority when planning for land and water activities in British Columbia. It will ensure
adequate funding goes toward the management of wildlife habitat by establishing a
Needless to say, the BC Liberal Government had no interest in supporting Katrine’s
Lana Popham is the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. The Minister’s
mandate letter priorizes six items but for the sake of brevity and interest the mandate
letter to the Parliamentary Secretary gets your attention:
Lead work with the federal government to develop new strategies to protect and
revitalize B.C.’s wild salmon populations, including by working to double the size of
Salmon Restoration and Innovation in Fisheries and ensuring processing of B.C.-caught
Work with the Minister of State for Lands and Narural Resource Operations and the
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to step up protection of fish
habitat through our biodiversity strategy and the new Watershed Security Strategy.
Minister Popham is instructed to work closely and ensure the Parliamentary Secretary
receives appropriate support.
Minister Popham and her Parliamentary Secretary’s mandate to revitalize B.C.’s wild
salmon populations and to step up protection of fish was strengthened thanks to Dept. Of
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette recent news release:
“Acting on the wishes of seven First Nations in the Discovery Islands, Department of
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan has not renewed fish farm licenses in
the Discovery Islands but ordered the phase out of all 19 Atlantic Salmon Feedlots
owned by Norwegian- based companies. That means juvenile salmon will not have to
run through a gauntlet of fish farms and their parasites along one of the province’s wild
salmon migration routes.”
The Tyee: To-day’s federal government decision to close Discovery Island fish farms
offers some hope forthright.
Minister Popham has a history of being candid, forthright and as a result as
Agriculture Minister in the 2017 Coalition NDP/Green Party Government she wrote a
letter threatening to discontinue provincial permits for a coastal fish farm.
The resulting furor has resulted in a much more contrite minister but nevertheless a
strong voice in Cabinet on behalf of sustainable scientific management of natural
I will send you pictures in the New Year, all of which tell a story.
Barry Brandow Sr.
I am sending you a copy of a letter describing the early history of access management
on the Gilpin Ungulate winter range that appeared in The Nelson Daily April 22, 2014.
The letter doesn’t come close to describing the Grand forks ATV Club agenda that has
seriously compromised the integrity of the Gilpin Ungulate Range.
In the near future I will send you the full Grand Forks ATV Club story, an example of
citizenship that embraced stakeholders in support of ATV recreation and at the same
time totally excluded all stakeholders with a connection to the land and wildlife.
I believe the story I will send you is an apt description of ATV agendas province wide
adjacent to parks and on all 85 ungulate winter ranges in B.C.
I am also sending you the Southern Interior Land Trust press release November 16, 2020.
Very seldom can I send you good news!
Barry Brandow Sr.
British Columbia’s wildlife populations are in crisis. Some populations are at historic
lows not seen in the modern era of wildlife management on the North American
The NDP/Green Coalition Government acknowledges the problem in their 2019
Document: Together for Wildlife, a proposed pathway for improving wildlife
management and Habitat Management In British Columbia.
Introduction- British Columbia’s wildlife and habitat face unprecedented and
accelerating challenges due to climate change, increasing human activity and competing
pressures on the land base. These pressures are resulting in significant declines in
some wildlife populations throughout the province, there are evolving societal
expectations that require a new and dynamic way of managing our wildlife and habitat.
In spite of Minister Doug Donaldson’s dire warning the Hunting and Trapping
Regulation Synopsis effective July 1 to June 30, 2022 are a fraud, a wake-up call for
every British Columbian that believes the province’s wildlife resource is a valuable asset
and certainly do not acknowledge his message: Given the declining numbers in
wildlife, disappearing wildlife habitat and climate impacts British Columbians must
work together on shared priorities with the right tools and sufficient funding to achieve
better outcomes for wildlife.
The 2020-2022 wildlife management changes for B.C.’s 9 wildlife management
regions are no more than an extremely small band aid on an extremely large wound!
Region 1 Vancouver Island, Region 2 Lower Mainland , Region 3 Thompson, Region
5 Caribou, Region 7a Ominica, Region 8 Okanagan wildlife management changes are
minor to non-existent in reducing hunting opportunity.
Region 4 Kootenay, Region 6 Skeena and Region 7b Peace have implemented modest
wildlife management changes that will do little to reduce hunting opportunity.
Wildlife in British Columbia has lost virtually every important habitat and access
management fight, a point I have made in many letters I have written the last 10 plus
years. Reversing this trend is exceedingly difficult. No stakeholder organization will
voluntarily make concessions for wildlife, therefore reducing hunting opportunity is
the only immediate hope to reverse the decline of wildlife populations!
I will revisit letters and documents that support my argument, one of which I will send
you in the immediate future, an article that appeared in the Nelson Daily April 22, 2014:
Gilpin Grasslands need protection not for quad use.
So how do we best explain/describe the political footprint responsible for the collapse
of sustainable scientific driven wildlife management that has resulted in many
population at historic lows not seen in the modern era of wildlife management on the
North American Continent?
Before its too late: British Columbia needs a science and ecosystem based
approach to wildlife management – the title of a report written by former BC Green
Party Leader and member of the legislative assembly, Andrew Weaver. Andrew has a
PhD in applied mathematics from the University of BC; a professor and prior to his
election to the BC Legislature, was the Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and
analysis at University of Victoria.
He quotes Aldo Leopold, the author of the North American Model of Wildlife
Conservation: One of the key tenets of the model which is now widely applied across
the continent is that “Science- not the dictates of special interest groups- should guide
Andrew Weaver’s journey is an apt description of contempt many British Columbians
have for politicians,bureaucrats and the broken hollow voices of stakeholders who
dominate the wildlife management and habitat fight.
“I have dedicated my life to understanding our world and its problems through
science but have been surprised at how difficult it is to convince governments to
consistently follow science reasoning. While the concept of science- based wildlife
management has generally been endorsed in B.C. it has not always been applied. Many
wildlife populations are in jeopardy to-day. The management of wildlife, and the
application or not of scientific principles continues to stir great controversy and
emotional debate in B.C. Understandably so.”
Is maximizing revenue/money the political curse dominating wildlife management,
the major reason the 2020-2022 Hunting Synopsis has no connection to reality?
- The BC Hunting Regulation Synopsis for 1986-1987 is 64 pages and has two
Advertisements: Minister of Environment Offices and Conservation Service
- Hunting Regulations for 2016-2018 is 134 pages and has 198 advertisements for
hunting equipment and services.
Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources management
message on page 2 of the 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Synopsis is a reminder that
money is a major driver of natural resource management: “There are some 3,500 active
trappers in the province while B.C.’s 100,000 resident hunters along with guideoutfitters
add some $350 million to the economy each year.”
The Minister’s message is also a reminder that NDP Premier Glen Clark in 1996
sent a letter to Director of Wildlife, Jim Walker demanding more money from the
In my journey to connect with the former Director of Wildlife, Jim Walker my wife
found the letter on the internet, but we didn’t copy the letter and never found it again.
The B.C. Liberal Government of Gordon Campbell after the 2001 provincial election
mandated a 25% reduction in income tax for all British Columbians: George Abbott
Looks Back at the B.C. Liberals New Era, and Doesn’t Like What He Sees The Tyee
Abbott explains how the government’s decision on its first day in office to make a
“dramatic 25 per cent cut to personal income tax rates dictated its path years to follow.
The reduction created a massive hole in the budget that inevitably led to service
cuts, often with damaging results.
“The drive for smaller government through cuts were bigger, faster and deeper created
created the constant damage of moving, as one official put it, from out of the boxthinking
to out-of-your-mind thinking” Abbott writes.
Since the three protected ministries- Health, Education, and Advanced Education
made up 70per cent of the province’s budget, deep cuts had to be made in the resource
and social ministries that make up the rest of provincial spending.
The Hunting Regulation Synopsis 2020-2022 is 132 pages and has 192
advertisements, some small ads are repeated 2/3 times.
NDP Minister of Forests, Lands , Natural Resource Operations and Rural
Development, Doug Donaldson’s message: Public trust in wildlife management is multifaceted
and includes expectations that wildlife will be managed sustainably and
Minister Donaldson’s message of sustainable responsible wildlife management is a
tired old proclamation ignored by the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government and 2001
Gordon Campbell , BC Liberal Government.
There are three wildlife management reports from different decades, two of which
give good counsel on actions necessary to ensure a healthy future for wildlife and a
report on the result of not heeding good counsel which offers a long weary plan devoid
of decisive action. For the purpose of this newsletter I will minimize the quotes.
Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada , a 1982 publication by a committee of the
Federal and Provincial Wildlife Conference boldly proclaims wildlife is a great
Canadian Heritage, yet too little has been done to ensure it always will be!
Introduction:This document provides direction for the development of wildlife
policies and programs in the future. It expresses the will of Canadians to manage
wildlife for the use and enjoyment of present and succeeding generations.
It is an easy 14 page read in booklet form. The cost $19.50
British Columbia’s Environment, Planning for the Future-Managing Wildlife to 2001:
A Discussion Paper
PREFACE: Managing wildlife to 2001 confronts the issues jeopardizing wildlife and
proposes major management initiatives to ensure a sound and sustainable resource.
Under this “umbrella” document the wildlife program will release key planning products
, including regional wildlife plans, provincial species statements and a land
With respect to the wildlife resource, the concept of sustainable development
translates into maintaining the integrity of natural ecosystems and making sure that the
various uses of wildlife do not exceed the resources’ ability to replenish itself.
Current Uses and Values of Wildlife
Besides its recreational and commercial uses, wildlife benefits British Columbians
by its very presence- whether or not we encounter animals in the field. It is part of our
heritage, making our lives more rich.
“ A message that stirs the blood of every British Columbian forced to bear witness
to the most oppressive , corrupt wildlife in management in the modern era on the North
For bevity’s sake I will continue my critique next newsletter of the August 2020
Together For Wildlife Improving Wildlife Stewardship and Habitat Conservation in
Barry Brandow Sr.
The class action lawsuit is getting attention so thanks to Taryn Skalbania I am
sending e-mail links to the stories you will enjoy reading if you have interest in a fight
seldom seen in our province: Grand Forks flooding victims file class-action lawsuit
against BC Government and Forest Companies.
I am also sending you the first page of a report that cuts to the chase on the AACAllowable
Annual Cut: Heres Whats Happening to BC Forests, Submission by Anthony
Britneff and Martin Watts to the Forest Inventory Review Panel- 2018:
“But lets put the record of undeniable environmental harm to one side. Lets focus on
the one measure of sustainability that both the industry and government point to as
evidence that logging BC forests at the current rate is sustainable” The Forest
Stewardship Council’s stamp of approval. FSC certification is dependent on the
condition that, to quote its stands for B.C., “the rate of harvest of forest products shall
not exceed levels which can be permanently sustained.
Forest management has been a grim story in BC since the 1996 Glen Clark NDP
Government. Like salmon and cod, forest management has been driven by first past the
post, partisan politics, jobs and the economy.
The report by Britneff and Watts is an apt description of the Canadian way/method of
managing natural resources.
Alex Rose’s excellent read Who Killed the Grand Banks offers plenty of
analogies/examples especially chapter 3. Botched Science and a Rebel Named Ransom
that describe BC forest management:
“What is true is that, despite algorithms, computer modelling and data collection,
the present understanding of the fisheries management process founded upon
biological science is wrong. Fisheries managers do not now and probably never will
know enough about fish and their ecosystem to construct enough facts to support
agreement and co-operation. Garbage in and garbage out.”
I have used the quote in the past to describe the utter and complete collapse of
scientific wildlife management, which is more appropriate than ever thanks to 2020-
2022 Hunting Regulations which are a complete fraud!
I will send you an October newsletter describing complete contempt of mule and
whitetail deer management, two of many wildlife species in serious population decline.
As always names and quotes from both sides of the story- the only way to tell an
insightful, meaningful story.
Barry Brandow Sr.
Following is the link:
Grand Forks Flood
Full marks to Jennifer Houghton and her colleagues for pursuing legal action against Interfor, BC Timber Sales and their partners.
Deep pockets typically win the fight against “we the people” a point easily made by the dismal pathetic BC Forest management track record since the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government.
Nevertheless a class action lawsuit is an extremely important fight, after all Grand Forks will be on the bubble as long as climate change and its partners flood and fire dominate weather on the planet!
Interfor Claim: the corporation has acted in accordance with it’s permits, licenses and applicable regulations and intends to defend itself.
America’s Conservation President, Theodore Roosevelt puts the class action lawsuit in perfect perspective
” The vital role of these massive redwoods, the great monarchs of the woods was confined neither to their commercial value nor to their natural beauty. The primary objective of his overall forest policy Roosevelt insisted was not to preserve forests because they are beautiful- though that is good in itself -not to preserve them because they are refuge for the wild creatures of the wilderness- though that too is good in itself, “but rather, to conserve them in order to guarantee a steady and continuous supply of timber, grass and above all water” that would foster growth of prosperous communities.
In clear language, he delineated the causal connection between forest protection and water conservation: forests absorb water and slow the melting of snow in the spring; they prevent the rain from rushing away in uncontrollable torrents, they regulate the flow of streams (p. 352) The Bully Pulpit- Doris Kerns Goodwin.
A prudent message over a hundred years in the making ignored by an ethically and morally broken forest industry beyond redemption!
Barry Brandow Sr.
In view of the fact few British Columbians are aware of the authoritative,
overbearing, burdensome mandate of the Government Action Regulation (GAR)
the heart of the Forest Range Practices Act (FRPA) legislation that is responsible for
logging practices that continue to ruthlessly exploit the BC forest, I am sending you
an abbreviated story.
A critical discussion of the Government Action Regulation (GAR) is a grind but the
legislation casts a dark shadow over wildlife habitat, water quality for community
watersheds and endangered species.
The West Coast Environmental Law Deregulation Backgrounder Report, Feb.
2004 forecasted the dismal logging practices that dominate the BC Landscape.
“ The Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations bring in a new era of forestry
deregulation which places an unprecedented degree of control over public
resources in the hands of forest companies. There are inadequate checks and balances
in the regulations. The impact of these changes, especially when coupled with major
cutbacks to Ministry of Forest’s staff and budgets is to reduce public control over
forest industry operations on public land.”
Protecting the environment and maintaining community relations will be more due to
the pleasure of a given forest company than a result of these regulations.
Both Standards and Planning Protections weakened. “ There are no doubt more
efficient and effective ways to regulate forest practices. West Coast Environmental
Law has long advocated stricter more comprehensive standards such as applied in
National Forests in the United States.
Increased Red Tape Blocks Government Action to Protect Environmental Values.
The new regime takes away the District Manager’s discretion to reject proposed
plans if they are not satisfied that resource values will be adequately managed or
Under the new Government Actions Regulation (GAR) a Minister may not take any
action to protect a host of environmental and recreational values unless:
• Taking the action would not “unduly reduce the supply of timber from British
• The action is consistent with all other objectives, including “ maintaining or
enhancing an economically valuable supply of commercial timber” and enabling
logging companies to be vigorous, efficient and world competitive .
The proposed action to protect environmental and recreational values is so
important that it outweighs the cumulative impact of all government actions on a forest
company to be “vigorous, efficient and world competitive.
The conclusion of the Deregulation Backgrounder Report 16 years on was an
accurate omen of BC Forest management politics to-day.
“The government has made an ideological shift, stating that it intends to rely on
professional foresters employed by forest companies to deliver the public interest
more than civil servants. All of this could render the public and community input
into forestry decisions less meaningful.”
The West Coast Environmental Law Deregulation Backgrounder Report that critiques
the B.C.Liberal Government Forest and Range Practices Act is an easy read and will
provide more than enough information that describes the politics of the why and how
the British Columbia Forest has been ruthlessly exploited.
The grande dame of the BC Council of Forest Industries, Susan Yurkovich
makes a call Nov. 23, 2019, Group wants BC to designate land as working forest
validates the importance of West Coast Environmental Law as a steadfast voice
speaking on behalf of British Columbians.
“B.C.’s Forest Sector is at the start of a major period of transition and taking a step to
create for industry secure access to a portion of the province’s dwindling timber reserves
is the industry’s No.1 priority,” said Susan Yurkovich.
“Access to fibre is hands down the most important” Yurkovich said Friday Nov. 22
during a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
Designating a land base for industry, similar to the way parks are set aside would give
companies the confidence to keep investing in operations during uncertain times. “Lets
have a balance” Yurkovich said “Lets say out loud we value forestry also as a
working forest, as a place that drives jobs and economic benefits”.
You have to give Susan Yurkovich and her corporate bosses credit for honesty. There
was a time not long ago that successful men and women aspired to leave a legacy
worthy of a tip of the hat by future generations.
The Final Report of the Review of Professional Reliance in Natural Resource
Decision Making by Mark Haddock May 2018 has a 15 page commentary on the Forest
and Range Practices Act, an important read that puts a failed corporate forestry agenda
For the sake of brevity I am concentrating on the Government Actions
The Government Actions Regulation is an important feature of the FRPA because it
allows the minister to make orders (GAR orders) to protect non-timber values
including the following: scenic areas, community watersheds, fisheries sensitive
streams, wildlife including ungulates (moose, caribou, deer and elk) regionally
significant species and species at risk.
“The obvious orders identify government’s objectives for managing these values
which guide professionals when preparing forestry plans. However, while similar
legislation would typically grant the minister broad discretionary authority to
make these orders GAR limits the minister’s discretion by requiring strict legal tests
be met before it can be exercised.” Section 2 of GAR imposes “limitations on actions”
that the order would not unduly reduce the supply of timber from British Columbia’s
Haddock wisely uses a declaration/affirmation by the Forest Practices Board to
showcase his critique of the Forest and Range Practices Act.
The Forest Practices Board considers professional accountability to government to
be a key condition for the public interest. In his submission the Board stated : One of the
key conditions that must govern the involvement of professionals in government’s
resource management decisions is that government must reserve to itself the right
to act when necessary to protect the public interest.
Mark Haddock, NDP Premier Horgan’s point man analyzing the merit of Professional
Alliance uses a quote to critique GAR from the Mike Morris report “Getting the Balance
Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia”.
In addition, statements like “Without unduly reducing the supply of timber from
British Columbia’s forests is a very subjective “default” term that significantly
lowers the threshold protecting our biodiversity and ultimately a reduced ability for
professionals to meet the spirit and intent of the legislation.
Mike Morris was Parlaimentary Secretary to the Minister of Forests, Lands and
Natural Resources, Steve Thomson when his report was released August 2015.
It is truly a rare moment in BC Politics when a minister and parliamentary
secretary publicly make the point they are in conflict with the Forest Range Practices
Act that became policy initiated by their former BC Liberal Government colleagues
Program Statistics-GAR Orders
Many designations set desired outcomes for timber harvesting but do not prevent
Government has established:
• 2104 wildlife habitat polygens over 3,708,577 hectares (including some large
grizzly bear and caibou specified areas)
• 85 ungulate winter ranges over 14,042,152 hectares
• 36 fisheries sensitive watersheds over 865,033 hectares
Logging in the Gilpin ungulate range Douglas Fir zone in 2015 resulted in 21 clear
cuts. The pictures I will send you show few mature Douglas Fir trees left to provide
Snow Interception Cover. (SIC)
The logging show resulted in more and and wider roads in a high road density area.
Haddock’s nine recommendations if implemented would improve logging
practices but not challenge the real problem; the allowable annual cut (AAC)
Recommendation 89- Improve Minister’s authority to make GAR Orders: review the
limitations on the minister’s authority to make orders to protect non-timber values.
I will send you pictures in two groups in a few days that showcase the good, bad, and
ugly of forest, grassland wildlife management.
Barry Brandow Sr.
I go around in a circle and revisit stories with new facts that always have the same
ending, an apt description of the management of British Columbia’s forests, grasslands
and wildlife resource that tell a grim story.
The Merriam turkey story I am sending you is a reminder that liberalized hunting,
high road density, massive clear cuts, 3rd rate habitat management and predators hunting
prey species in constant population decline has a cumulative effect on wildlife
The Merriam turkey is an invasive species that has a 30 year presence in the
Boundary, management units 8-14 Rock Creek area, 8-15 Grand Forks area, thanks to
Washington State transplants in the 90s north of Colville Washington 35 miles south of
Early May when I was roading my hounds on the Sand Creek road 5 km north west of
Grand Forks City, I stopped the truck and talked to an older couple dressed in camo. I
stated the obvious “you are hunting turkey”.
The instant response from the man was “where are they?” My response “there are not
enough turkeys to justify a limited entry hunt let alone a General Open Season!” Their
response to my answer is another reminder that wildlife and hunting have a grim future
in B.C. “We live in Kelowna, recently moved from Alberta. There is nothing to hunt in
B.C. so we usually hunt in Alberta.”
Twenty years since the start of hunting in 2000 the Merriam turkey population in the
Boundary has collapsed.
Proposed Regulation Changes for 1999-2000
Turkey Limited Entry in 8-15 Proposed number of authorizations 5
Rationale-population has increased in the past few years (anecdotal population
estimate of 200)
The Limited Entry Hunt was replaced with a General open season in 2006 for eight
management units in spite of a small population: bearded turkey April 15/May 15.
The story in the shadows that validated a General Open Season was the turkey, a
non-native species would negatively impact grouse populations. The GOS made it very
clear the Merriam turkey was not wanted in the 5 management units in the Okanagan
Valley where sightings were virtually non-existent.
In 2010 the General Open Season in the spring was complimented with an “any
turkey season Oct. 1-Oct. 15 for the same management units except 8-1 Osoyoos/Oliver
and 8-9 Penticton Oct. 1-Nov. 30.
Contrary to the anecdotal stories from credible hunters I am sharing with you that
describe a dramatic decline in the turkey population starting 10 years ago the BC
Wildlife Federation recent wild turkey hunting survey April 15, 2020 is another
reminder that when you sell hunting opportunity the conservation ethic is
“Turkey hunting has grown over the last two decades in B.C. as populations of the
wild turkey have increased “ General Open Season hunt opportunities currently exist
in Region 4 and 8. Some hunters are specializing in turkey hunting ( i.e. Purchasing
equipment specific to turkey hunting and are travelling to these regions to experience a
B.C. turkey hunt.)
The Guns of Autumn article which appears in the Oct/Nov issue of B.C.Outdoors has
been written by former Region 8 Biologist Brian Harris for many years.
Brian’s hunting forecast for Region 8 Okanagan in the Oct/Nov 2019 issue of
B.C. Outdoors as usual has no connection to wildlife populations in the Boundary.
It was my intention to ignore Brian Harris’ comments describing Boundary wildlife
populations and concentrate on his hollow, vacant call “wild turkey are doing well in
the eastern half of the region” but the story changed direction after talking to two
veteran Washington State hunters, Richard Eich from Republic and Daniel Blatt from
the Colville area.
Richard and Daniel made the point Washington State has plenty of turkeys
notwithstanding liberal hunting seasons and bag limits.
My connection with Richard Eich who lives in Republic is a result of his long history
hunting bear and cougar with hounds in Ferry and Stevens County which touch the
border . Washington State closed cougar and bear hunting with hounds in 1996 but he
still gets 7 or 8 cougar complaint calls a year. Richard’s description of mule deer,
moose, wolf populations is a common call in many jurisdiction: mule deer, moose
populations in serious decline, wolf tracks and scat easy to find.
Daniel Blatt who lives in the Colville area is a volunteer voice for the National
Wild Turkey Federation. Daniel owns a ranch and is familiar with turkey complaints
from ranchers. I asked Daniel if there was a record of the Grand Forks NWTF
banquet/fund raiser my wife and I organized the event with our NWTF contact but lost
the file. Daniel is a volunteer and has no connection to past NWTF records whereas our
contact 15 years ago was a paid employee.
I wonder how many bare root trees and shrubs that provide a food source for wildlife I
purchased from a nursery in Pennsylvania thanks to a subsidized price arranged by
NWTF and subsequently distributed to interested parties, are still growing in Grand
Forks? A small initiative with limited profit compared to the habitat enhancement
gained by removing the domestic cow from all sensitive, important environments:
parks, important water courses and areas important to wildlife.
Washington State spring Turkey season 2020
May 5-May 31- male turkey and turkey with visible beard
Bag limit, a total of three birds
Sept. 1-Dec. 31- two beardless and two either sex
British Columbia 2018-2020 Hunting & Trapping Synopsis Region 8 Okanagan
Spring Season-April 15-May 15 bearded turkey bag limit 1
Fall Season- Oct. 1- Oct. 15 any turkey- bag limit 1
During my conversation with Richard and Daniel I made the point that the
cumulative Effect of liberalized hunting regulations is one of the major reasons there
has been a dramatic decrease in the population of prey species, especially whitetail and
mule deer. The result is that the cougar, wolf, bobcat, lynx, coyote, bear, goshawk,
horned owls have a constant diminishing food source to hunt. I also reminded
Richard and Daniel that Limited Entry Hunting of whitetail doe, moose and elk
populations in the Boundary were rolled over to General Open seasons.
Both hunter were in disbelief when I described the length of deer hunting seasons in
the Boundary and consequently agreed that the cumulative effects of hunting
opportunity would dramatically reduce prey species and in due course predator
British Columbia 2018-2020 Hunting & Trapping Synopsis
Boundary 8-12, 8-14, 8-15
whitetail buck rifle season- 82 days plus youth/Bow seasons
whitetail doe rifle season since 2010- 21 days
mule deer buck- 4 point 62 days plus youth/ bow seasons
Washington State- Modern Firearm General Deer Seasons
whitetail buck rifle season 14 days-Ferry/Steven Counties that touch the border
whitetail- Hunters 65 or over, disabled and youth General Seasons have been replaced
with a conservative number of special permits given on a draw system based on
application history of each applicant.
Mule deer buck rifle season 11 days
Rick Seymour lives in the Christina Lake area, his property is adjacent to the border
and Highway # 395. I recently had two conversations with Rick, before and after
conversations with Richard Eich and Daniel Blatt.
Ten years ago 50-60 turkeys were a common sight on his property as there was in
adjacent water sheds: Fife, Santa Rosa and Stewart Creek. Rick hasn’t hunt turkeys for 5
years. Recently he counted 6 in his field.
After informing him that Washington State had plenty of turkeys Rick agreed the
Cumulative Effects of hunting opportunity was one major reason the Boundary
turkey population collapsed. He believes predators particularly the bobcat in his area
were a primary reason for the collapse of the turkey population.
In conclusion I believe the hunting opportunity agenda that embraced the
alternative prey hypothesis and sanctioned the whitetail deer hunting seasons that
have destroyed the population is one of the reasons the Merriam turkey population in
Region8 Okanagan has collapsed.
An example of the science that describes the alternative prey hypothesis is explained
in “Effects of white-tailed Deer Expansion on Cougar Predation of Mule Deer” in
two new independent study areas (Kettle Fall and Republic) by capturing and radio
monitoring cougars from 2002 to 2004, a good starting point to critique the NDP
Government current agenda of destroying moose populations to help adjacent caribou
populations to recover.
Our results suggest that increased numbers of white-tailed deer results in an
increased number of cougars. The increased number of cougars results in increased
cougar predation on mule deer and possibly increased cougar complaints.
The Big Question Conveniently Ignored!
Murphy reminds us assumption is the motherhood of all screw-ups.
Knowledgeable hunters, naturalists and concerned citizens have been forced to
witness a catastrophic collapse of wildlife populations in B.C. not seen in the modern
era of wildlife management on the North American continent!
The alternative prey hypothesis is meaningless dribble when prey species
populations are at historic lows!
- Les Best- Rock Creek- Hard to find turkeys, hunted in 2019 and didn’t see a
- Guy Owen- Midway- Guy sees a few turkeys in Kerr Creek watershed but most
birds in his area are adjacent to the International border.
- Al Grant- West Johnson Creek west of Rock Creek, seldom sees turkeys, no
- Dawson Long- Rock Creek few turkeys sighted.
- John Halstrom- Greenwood- Deadwood flock gone, sees a few in Kerr creek.
- Fred Marshall- Kerr Creek NE of Midway, agrees not enough turkeys to justify a
Limited Entry Hunt.
- Ollie Alendale- Grand Forks- turkeys have disappeared.
- Del Hiltz- Penticton- hunts the Christina Lake area sees few turkeys, no hunting
camps as was the way in the past.
- Barb Nicolson- In my experience the Turkey used to be in almost every part of the
guide territory. Sadly in the last number of years it is difficult to find them outside
of private property. Yes, they can be found but it feels morally wrong to harvest
one as is becoming the case with other species in B.C.
10.Bear Brandow- I could harvest a turkey but I would feel guilty when the
population is so small.
11.Rick Seymour- Christina Lake property adjacent to border and Hwy. # 395- few
birds, haven’t hunted on his property for 5 years.
The Merriam turkey population in the Boundary is not large enough to
legitimately justify a Limited Entry Hunt; nevertheless the turkey season will remain the
same for decades, after all that is the British Columbia way of managing wildlife.
Barry Brandow Sr.
Newsletter- Resident Hunter II
The newsletter is longer than normal but I am trying to educate you with the facts
that are highly critical of the provincial hunting opportunity agenda. If as expected the
2020-2022 Provincial Hunting Regulations have no significant reduction in Hunting
Opportunity then the political game going forward will resemble the North Atlantic Cod
and Pacific Salmon story, lots of criticism but no reduction in the harvest of wildlife.
Alex Rose’s message on the cover of his critical journal, Who Killed The Grand Banks
16 years on July 2, 1992 has been conveniently ignored by British Columbians “There’s
a price to pay when a society ignores it’s role as a steward of the environment. This
book poses the question of our generation: will the ecological disaster that befell the
northern cod happen again?”
Rose has salvaged one hard truth: the Grand Banks cod fishery was wiped out because
of made in Canada greed and wilful blindness.
The Hunting Opportunity Agenda in B.C. was driven by convenient facts that in
due course would prove to be one of the major reasons wildlife populations have
declined. The sad reality is that Hunting Opportunity was a fool’s game and has punched
a hole in the credibility of the British Columbia hunting fraternity.
The wildlife management bureaucracy is broken and needs a major overhaul.
Harvey Andrusak, the former B.C.W. F president and former provincial government
Fisheries Biologist, has insightful comments on the problem: Jan/Feb 2019-
Central Authority- an issue that I am all too familiar with is the structure of the
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development which is
problematic for managing Fish and Wildlife. When the Fish and Wildlife Branch was
eventually shuffled into this ministry some years back it moved from a central
authority model to a regional model!
The downsizing of Fish and Wildlife positions over at least two decades has also
resulted in the loss of experienced staff due to retirement and that is true for the rest of
their ministry. Fish and Wildlife management expertise is now most often outside of
Too often we have observed that inexperienced biologists don’t want peer review of
their proposals or management measures and find it easy to simply convince the
regional decision maker who knows little about fish or wildlife.
In summary,central authority is required for the effective management of fish and
wildlife. There are too many examples of poor decision making within Regions that
Victoria staff know about but can do little about. This situation needs fixing.
How do British Columbians who care about the province’s wildlife resource square up
with the wildlife management statistical dribble masquerading as science: preseason
ungulate population estimates, wildlife theory – you can’t compromise whitetail
populations with a rifle season on the whitetail doe and Hunter questionnaires which
obviously extrapolate the information in the wrong direction.
It is sad but true there is no better words to describe the sorry state of wildlife
management in B.C. than Mark Twain’s call: there are only lies, damn lies and
Together for Wildlife, A Proposed Pathway for Improving For Improving Wildlife
Management and Habitat Conservation in British Columbia in reality is a weak
government document dominated by bureaucratic thinking and decisive words and
action that could instantly have a positive impact on wildlife are totally lost.
The new buzz phrase wildlife stewardship will be a long painful journey when the
mandate is to modernize our data and knowledge systems in collaboration with
indigenous governments, local governments, resource industries, stakeholders, nongovernment
organizations and the public.
The measure of Together For Wildlife and the credibility of the bureaucracy will be
front row centre when British Columbia’s ungulate species regional population estimates
and status preseason 2020 report is released to the public. Since 2000 the reports have
been released every three years. I will send you the 2017 report to once again remind
you that not one credible hunter I have spoken to agree with the numbers for large
How do we convince Premier John Horgan and his Cabinet colleagues the only way
to save the credibility of Together For Wildlife is to totally bypass the bureaucracy
The History Lesson-Hymns of the Republic. The story of the final year of the
American Civil War: S.C.Gwynne
President Abraham Lincoln and Ulylesse S. Grant Lieutenant General of union
armed forces marginalized the authority of war department officials. Consequently
Lincoln and Grant were able to agree on the disposition of Union soldiers which
resulted in the defeat of General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.
“Within the week Halleck, a brilliant political infighter was lobbying hard for large
transfers of troops from Virginia to northern cities with potential draft riots. This was
typical war department thinking: almost paranoiclly cautious, logical in a small
way but strategically unwise, unable to assess actual risk, and always willing to
overestimate a threat.”
“ Grant, with Lincoln’s oratory language sounding in head, asserted full control over
military affairs. The union commands on the Upper Potomac would be consolidated
as Grant had wanted them to be.”
The seven interconnected principles of the North American Wildlife Conservation
Model of Management is another marker for the collapse of responsible wildlife
management in British Columbia.
The North American Wildlife Conservation Model is an amazing natural
resource success story that most non-hunters and many hunters are unaware:
Conservation Matters Executive Summary- Guide Outfitters Association of British
Columbia Dec. 2011:
- Wildlife is a public resource
- Balance the market for wildlife
- Manage wildlife through law
- Hunting should be democratic
- Wildlife should only be killed for legitimate reasons
- Wildlife is an international resource.
- Use science to guide wildlife management decisions.
The Executive Summary is a wake up call that should be read by hunters and
I have cherry picked a few quotes appropriate for the newsletter:
Social change and the 70% in the middle
“ If hunters are not active in promoting conservation and defending sustainable
use society will add hunting to the list of things that had to go.”
Looking Forward- The Fundamental Shift “The public wants to know that those
who use resource are thinking about the future. Accusations that hunters are selfish
and shallow are best countered with tangible proof of conservation projects, community
initiatives and funds dedicated towards science and conservation. The proof is in the
pudding. When it is obvious that hunters truly care about the future of wildlife the
70% in the middle will become more receptive to the benefits of hunting.
How do we reconcile the Looking Forward message with Hunting Opportunity?
B.C.Wildlife Federation Indictment
Outdoor Recreation Report Sept. 2017
Harvey Andusak, the new BCWF president explains that the organization is
evolving from being primarily a hunting organization to primarily a conservation
organization. Over the past 10 years B.C. resident hunters have increased by 20% to
The Federation Strategic Objectives are centered on the sound long term
management of British Columbia’s fish, wildlife, park and outdoor recreational
resources in the best interest of all British Columbians.
BCWF is concerned about the state of up to date wildlife inventories.
Harvey is confident that the only way to succeed in our common conservation goals is
to work co-operatively. I agree with Harvey Andusak’s message but how do we
reconcile hunting opportunity with the Federation’s concern about the state of up to
date wildlife population inventories and sound long term management of wildlife?
The truth of the matter is challenged by the following facts:
Plan to declare open season on white tailed deer draws fire-Ministry’s estimates are
inflated, guide-outfitter says- Vancouver Sun May 2010. “Brandow believes a general
open season on whitetails is not sustainable and irreparable harm could occur.”
Jese Zeman , co-chair for wildlife allocation the Wildlife Federation said the Ministry
has the best available science at it’s disposal to estimate numbers. Zeman said he
believes the ministry’s numbers and pointed out that in the town of Grand Forks, the
white tailed deer are so numerous they have become a major nuisance.
The 96-97 winter was long and brutal and as a consequence a few whitetail sought
refuge in the City of Grand Forks. A few residents fed them and the population steadily
grew. To-day the population in the city, regional district are down dramatically and the
whitetail on their historic range are down 95%.
Robert D. Pietro, a veteran hunter from Creston challenged the white tailed doe rifle
season and subsequently advertised his message on http://www.nomoredeaddoes.ca Jan. 16,
“The rural deer population is in drastic decline and in some areas has already
been decimated but our provincial wildlife biologists, working with outdated data and
very little resources still recommended the hunting of whitetail does or their fawns in a
21 day General Open Season. The population is crashing and every year countless
numbers of whitetail does and fawns are still killed.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation’s response to Robert DiPietro initiative was an e-mail
dated Dec. 11, 2017 by Gerry Paille- The B.C.W.F. Supports the principle of wildlife
management for the purpose of both consumptive (hunting and trapping) and nonconsumptive
uses and sees retention of hunting opportunity as a major priority.
Conservation is always of primary concern- that being said the B.C.W.F supports
General Open Season whenever possible and does not oppose the harvest of
anterless animals unless there is a conservation concern.
B.C. Outdoors magazine March/April 2019. President’s Report.
Moose and deer are in steep decline throughout the interior of the province-
Changing local hunting regulations will have little effect given the extent of the
The science indicates the moose and deer habitat are in poor condition due to
road and other linear development, extensive use of round up in the north, overgrazing,
extensive wildfires and forest in-growth.
The key to future success is continued emphasis on conservation as the B.C.W.F.
B.C. Wildlife Federation Member Update Jan. 9, 2020
The proposed provincial government regulations include more hunting restrictions for
some ungulate populations such as deer, elk, moose and caribou. The Wildlife
Federation wants the government to address declining wildlife populations by
investing significantly in better research and management rather than merely
BCWF-Outdoor Recreation Report 2017
As a large organization with a hefty membership base, the BCWF often uses it’s voice
to lobby government to advocate more support from provincial agencies.
The BCWF to-day claim they have 43,000 members but how many are hunters? How
many are members because of liability insurance and shooting range privileges?
In my strong opinion the BCWF message sum and total does not connect with
Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada- 1982.
Wildlife is a great Canadian heritage, yet too little has been done to ensure it always
Economics apart, the enjoyment of wildlife is widespread and greatly valued.
Therefore Canadians wish to ensure that wildlife will always exist in something like its
present diversity and distribution.
The first is that all Canadians are free yo use and enjoy wildlife subject to laws: the
second is that the maintenance of wildlife populations must take precedence over their
The maintenance of viable wildlife stocks always takes precedence over their use.
Canadians are the temporary custodians not the owners of their wildlife heritage.
Conservation of wildlife relies on a well informed public.
The Brandows in Grand Forks have owned and operated a Guide-Outfitting
business since June 1,1980. In our world credible hunters and outfitters must be a strong
voice for wildlife and have a C.V curriculum vitae to validate their measure.
Yes, there is at least one more chapter to the sorry story.
Barry Brandow Sr.
NEWSLETTER – RESIDENT HUNTER
Preface: There are two chapters to my resident hunter story: the problem of recruiting
new hunters when wildlife populations are at historic lows and hunting opportunity
an oxymoron/contradiction typical of B.C. politics since the mid-nineties!
The resident hunter is analogous to the private in the army. Successful armies need
plenty of privates but they have to be trained by officers who have a successful track
The future of hunting in B.C. is going to demand the recruitment of new hunters,
an onerous task when you consider that many wildlife populations are at historic
lows not seen in the modern era of wildlife management on the North American
A message from retired provincial government biologist, Lincoln in his report , Deer
Harvest in the Okanagan, Past Results and Future Direction December 1987 is a
reminder why sustainable hunter recruitment demands a healthy vibrant wildlife
population: “Whether or not an individual deer hunter was successful, we have received
many reports suggesting the hunt was of high quality and enjoyable based on the
number of deer seen. Other advantages are naturalists, tourists, sportsmen and others
who enjoy the deer viewing opportunities throughout all seasons of the year.”
A generation ago Bob Lincoln’s Dec. 1987 Region 8 Okanagan conservative
management strategy was endorsed by Wildlife Federation member clubs in Region
- “In the Okanagan where roads are abundant suggesting a potential for localized overharvest
and where the wildlife management staffing capacity does not allow for careful
monitoring of local deer herd status, it is prudent to be fairly conservative in harvest
strategy.” In recent years Okanagan deer hunter success rate has been notably good”
Conservative wildlife management that stops the decline of many wildlife populations
is the only realistic hope to recruit new hunters which is a polite way to describe the
divide/schism in the B.C. hunting fraternity.
Beyond Fair Chase, the Ethic and Tradition of Hunting states the obvious message
readily accepted by credible hunters: A hunter is a predator participating in a world
where predation belongs. Just as predators belong. to the natural system, an ethical
hunter also belongs to the natural system” (page 20)
Sound bytes from names reinforce the importance of recruiting new hunters and
also bridging the divide/schism in the hunting fraternity:
I recently had a phone conversation with two past BC Wildlife presidents, Carmen
Purdy and Harvey Andrusak. Carmen Purdy and I have known each other since the early
eighties. He was a BCWF president in the mid-eighties, a long time emeritus board
member of Nature Trust and a major player in the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund, the
sponsors of the April 13, 2019 Big Game Symposium in Cranbrook. Remember the
Wildlife Symposium was well attended because participants were fully aware there has
been a dramatic decline in wildlife populations in Region 4 Kootenays.
Carmen’s description of the B.C.Wildlife Federation hunting opportunity agenda was
certainly original: “ They are on the wrong mountain.” Like all credible hunters he
agrees the first step to stop the decline of many wildlife populations is a reduction in
hunting seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry Hunting authorizations.
The reason I ask hunters and non-hunters if they agree the hunter is a predator is
non-hunters don’t have the knowledge to make the call in reducing hunting opportunity a
point made by BC Liberal MLA, Donna Barnett from 100 Mile House in a recent phone
Donna responded to the question by saying she would publicly support a new
wildlife management plan for the eight wildlife management regions in the
Donna has a long history of being outspoken and may well be our best hope to find
the sum of the reasons the whitetail deer population has been ruthlessly exploited.
Carmen Purdy agreed some animals shouldn’t be hunted. And yes, both of us were
critical of the behaviour of Mark Clark and Jese Zeman.
Harvey Andruchuk is not a hunter so my conversation with the recent two term
president of the BC Wildlife Federation was short. Nevertheless the two topics
discussed have a large impact on the future of the province’s wildlife resource and
hunting: predators and hunter recruitment.
Harvey agreed the hunter is a predator but deflected the question of reducing hunting
opportunity by stating the prey/predator balance is out of control. I believe every
veteran, credible hunter in B.C. will agree with Harvey’s call but does not a
prey/predator cycle out of balance validate conservative wildlife management?
In Grand Forks the red flag that is now reality started early December 2005 at the
8km spur on the Sand Creek Road one of my old hounds cranked her tail on a frozen
cougar track, went up the road farther and started trailing three tracks barely discernible
in the hard snow-wolves!
Yes there are more cougar sightings than in the past notwithstanding the fact the
cougar population in Greenwood, Grand Forks and Christina Lake is a shadow of my
time guiding non-resident hunters. Cougar sightings have increased because of the
dramatic decline in prey species and deer seeking refuge on private property.
A few years ago I was talking to Albin Hochsteiner who started cougar hunting in the
mid-sixties. Albin was adding up the number of hounds recently killed and when the
number got over 10 I asked Albin “are we talking about cougars or wolves?”When
he said cougars we both laughed.
Credible hunters will quickly tell you deer populations are down 90-95% since the
mid-nineties and in desperation to survive deer have moved to the urban environment.
As a consequence the young cougar hunts in your backyard for deer, house cats and
The wolf is the major problem and there is no socially acceptable solution to
reducing their numbers where there is a large forest company.
Harvey and I did agree recruiting new hunters is going to be a challenge. He made
the comment there are few 40-50 age hunters.
In one of my conversations with Andrew Wilkinson the leader of the BC Liberals he
reminded me that after WW11 hunters as a percent of the population in B.C. was
significant. To-day hunters as a percent of the population in B.C. is polar opposite:
100,000 versus a B.C. population of 5.071 million.
When Andrew Wilkinson steps out of the gladiator ring he lives in, you can have a
constructive insightful conversation. So I asked him if he would support a public review
of wildlife management. He said he would. Unfortunately the wildlife management
data is so inaccurate and off the mark that the sum of the information underscores the
importance of decisive political leadership!
A classic example of the problem repeated many times throughout B.C. is the
whitetail and mule deer population estimates in region 8 Okanagan versus anecdotal
reports from credible hunters throughout the region.
British Columbia ungulate species Regional Population Estimates and status-
Preseason 2000 to 2017 in three year increments do not change.
Estimated Mule Deer 28,000-42,000 – stable
Estimated Whitetail Deer 31,000-44,000 – stable
The sum of the anecdotal stories of the many hunters I spoke to in Region 8
Okanagan plus the meeting of 55-60 hunters at the Kelowna Rod and Gun Club March
3, 2019 all add up to populations for both species well under 10,000.
Together For Wildlife acknowledges the problem but advocates a slow tiresome
game plan polar opposite to stopping the steep decline of many wildlife populations.
Goal 2- Informing stewardship: Management Driven By Data, Information and
Knowledge.The right data, information and knowledge are essential for successful
Action 4- For example we will fill critical gaps in wildlife monitoring and
inventory and develop wildlife population and habitat supply models.
Decisive political action demands totally end running the wildlife management
bureaucracy a point made by a history lesson I will share with you next newsletter.
The Southern Interior Land Trust (SILT) announced March 2, 2020 Bighorn
Habitat Saved, a key habitat area for a herd of 200-300 bighorn sheep has been
purchased by a non-profit conservation group.
The 270 acre land purchase connects with 301 acres owned by Nature Trust in the
Morrissey Creek Watershed on the Gilpin Grassland ungulate winter range.
The land purchase also connects with the strong message on page 1 of the Draft
Management Plan July 2008 Proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management
Area. The primary rationale for considering this WMA is the presence of year round
wild sheep habitat, winter essential winter mule deer habitat and species and
ecological communities at risk.
There is still one big story to tell. My son, Bear made an $85,000.00 contribution, the
go to the proposition that started the land sale game.
He also took the high road and convinced Region 8 Provincial Government
Biologist, Andrew Walker to reduce the harvest of rams and in doing so readily accepted
a reduction to his five year quota. Andrew’s call was based on science.
Bear tells me a hunting club in Abbotsford contributed $10,000. That’s impressive!
Len Mehmal whose family owned the property also has a story to tell next newsletter.
Buying land for wildlife is an arduous task whether it be governments or the private
sector but when the purchase is made plans immediately become yesterday. A good
example is the 301 acres owned by Nature Trust immediately north of the 270 acres.
The Wild Sheep Society of British Columbia made a $50,000.00 contribution which is
likewise significant. The bighorns have been on the Gilpin Grasslands since March
1985 and yet the resident hunter footprint has been a non-starter since a letter
written by the B.C,Wildlife Federation Wildsheep Committee Chair Darrel Winsor Jan.
Remember when you read Darrel’s quote the bighorns are on Gilpin because of a
team of credible British Columbians: “if you put the misguided intentions of a
particular member of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce and her guideoutfitter
husband ahead of the 20,000 members of the B.C.W.F. or more pointedly, the
members of the Okanagan Region, then we are all in serious trouble…I admire
everyone’s concern for the resource, however I loothe their intentions!!!!
The letter was written to Bob Lincoln Regional Wildlife biologist. Bob Lincoln and
Provincial Government Biologist, Al Peatt did an excellent job of selling the merits of
the bighorn transplant!
The coronavirus has a presence in Grand Forks. The story has been confirmed
by the Doctor’s Clinic.
Barry Brandow Sr.
GLOBE AND MAIL March 31, 2020
Two articles in the Saturday, March 28, 2020 edition of the Globe and Mail
underscore the problem and solution to meaningful, honest debate about the future of
British Columbia’s wildlife resource.
The problem is well advertised in the article titled Takaya the grey wolf should
become B.C.’s Cecil the lion: “But why would anyone kill a wolf ? This question is
setting social media channels ablaze”.
“Although concealed under a smokescreen of scientific wildlife management,
regulations that attempt to legitimize a behaviour so grossly misaligned with societal
values ought to be challenged and vigorously.”
The solution to challenging British Columbia’s dismal management of the province’s
invaluable natural resources is well made in the article titled; Globe relying on science
experts to help readers through the crisis-
“Journalism has been declared an essential service by provincial governments and
maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and fairness, while continuing to
challenge government leaders for more action and transparency has never been
more critical- both to save lives now and to safeguard our future.”
Reporters cannot and must not just record what experts say. They must use their
experience to ask probing questions about whether Canadians are being told what they
need to know”
“Personally I’m beyond grateful to be a Canadian journalist who doesn’t have to deal
with political leaders who dismiss science and factual news coverage”- Sylvia Stead-
Is there a future for the province of British Columbia’s wildlife resource when
harvesting a wolf is grossly misaligned with societal values and in the process
dismisses science and factual news coverage?
I have written many newsletters since the new millennium as a resident hunter/
guide-outfitting family highly critical of wildlife, range, forest, water, park management
always using names and quotes. The news media has been virtually silent!
The irony of the current attack on the harvesting of predators especially the wolf
is that a debate driven by all the facts will quickly underscore a major problem, a
catastrophic collapse of most ungulate populations, primarily because the prey/predator
cycle is out of control!
The closure of the grizzly bear hunt by the NDP government was an emotional
decision driven by an aggressive social media campaign that has done incalculable
damage in challenging the exceptional weak science that dominates natural resource
management in B.C.
The Globe article Takaya the grey wolf should become B.C.’s Cecil the lion begs an
important question, how do British Columbians square up with voices that are polar
opposite to recently deceased and well revered Post Media journalist, Christy
Blackford’s call- “Truth always regardless of Consequences?
Barry Brandow Sr.