Monthly Archives: April 2016

NEWSLETTER April 26, 2016

I am sending you pictures of the ongoing logging in the Interior Douglas fir zone, the most important wintering area for deer immediately adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands. Interfor and their contractors have completely ignored ungulate winter range management guidelines.

I am also including a letter that the Grand Forks Gazette decided not to print that outlines why the current logging in a critical ungulate winter range is not acceptable.

I have no proof that Interfor has violated current forest management guidelines but the pictures and letter describe why the wildlife resource in our province has a grim future if there are not immediate steps taken that guarantee critical wildlife areas be managed first and foremost for wildlife.

I did spend over an hour with Interfor Forester, Doug Noren in his office describing my concerns with current logging and road construction on Gilpin.

Is there merit in another Forest Practice Board complaint, after all last year’s complaint on the exceptional large clear cut in the lodge pole pine forest in the Dry Creek watershed 20km north of Highway #3 via Boundary Creek logging road is still ongoing? Is this delay connected to the Mike Morris Report “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia”?

The Mike Morris Report drafted August 2015 and released November 2015 would never have seen the light of day if Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Steve Thomson did not have the blessing of the BC Liberal Cabinet.

Getting The Balance Right is a new starting point for the many grievances that are jeopardizing the future of the province’s wildlife resource: “In order to make fully informed decisions respecting resource development the annual value and the compound value over time of wildlife and wildlife habitat in all forms needs to be considered. In addition all resource development initiatives should be put in context of their impacts on wildlife habitats”.

Two current political events offer some hope that reasoned thought will no longer be a complete stranger to wildlife management decisions.

NDP MLA, Katrine Conroy and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources , Steve Thomson are quoted in a Black Press article titled “BC Wildlife Management Overhaul Coming” that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette April 20.

As this article represents a small positive step I am sending it to you.

Katrine recommends a provincial wildlife advisory roundtable. Minister Thomson does not agree. Here is the link to Katrine’s presentation in the legislature –https://you.tu.be/WZsP7A5-_t4

A provincial roundtable is absolutely imperative to create a coalition of consumptive and non-consumptive users to pressure politicians to subscribe to the legions of recommendations that need to be implemented in reports on the shelves gathering dust in the Forest Practices board and Auditor General Offices.

If anyone capable of reasoned thought can read the political tea leaves correctly then it is easy to envision First Nations winning every court case in which they demand their fair share of a resource that has been ruthlessly exploited!

So my advice to the BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of BC, BC Trappers and all non-consumptive who value wildlife is to forthwith publically support a round table which will champion the 1982 Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada.

Barry Brandow Sr.

Open Letter to Interfor  April 27, 2016

The management of the Boundary Forest has no connection to forestry practices taught at our colleges and universities.

Interfor has gone down the well travelled road of embracing current forest management legislation that makes timber the central priority while the important forest values such as soil quality, biodiversity, wildlife and water are not adequately managed and protected.

The most recent example of logging practices contemptuous of the public interest is the current logging in the Douglas fir zone, the important area for wintering deer immediately adjacent to the Gilpin grasslands.

The Gilpin grassland south facing moderate to steep slopes and adjacent forest have been recognized as an important ecosystem by three provincial governments and two land conservancies have purchased 792 acres because of critical habitat for yellow, blue and red listed species.

The logging prescription Interfor was honor bound to follow is well described on page 52 of the July 2008 Draft Management Plan for the proposed Gilpin-Morrissey Wildlife Management Area.

“The direction from the Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plan assigned the Gilpin landscape unit an Intermediate Biodiversity Option citing the important ungulate winter range, red, and blue listed species and high ecosystem representation. Forest development plans must therefore place an emphasis on maintaining natural levels of biodiversity and minimize the risk of eliminating native species.”

D.J. Spalding in his 1968 “The Boundary Deer Herd” which is an easy read and can be found easily on the internet makes it very clear in his introduction, “The Boundary must be considered as one of the best mule and whitetail deer areas of the province”.

Spalding then highlights the importance of the interior Douglas fir zone by listing 13 shrub species critical to wintering mule and whitetail deer.

The Douglas fir zone immediately adjacent to the ponderosa pine grassland is the most critical area for wintering ungulates as it is an important refuge mid to late winter from deep snow and cold temperatures and provides adequate thermal cover with minimal snow cover allowing freedom of movement and access to feed.

Responsible logging practices demanded selective logging to open the forest canopy to facilitate the propagation of important shrub species critical to ungulates February-March the critical time in their yearly struggle to survive.

Instead the new bench mark for logging practices throughout the Boundary is large clear cuts especially so in the lodge pole pine forest, a few meaningless standing trees and large piles of wooly debris a major reason the moose and pine martin populations have crashed province wide.

Interfor also has a responsibility implicit in their mandate that allows them to log in sensitive important areas for wildlife to co-operate in ensuring that there is no increased motor vehicle access.

The first Coordinated  Resource Management Plan November 2, 1976 for the Overton-Moody range unit now known as the Gilpin Grasslands states under the list of major problems “Unmanaged access and uncontrolled ATV use have resulted in soil erosion, spread of weeds, wildlife harassment, stock harassment and forage destruction”.

In a News Release dated Feb. 20, 1974 the following quote is a reminder of the consistent contempt by self serving stakeholders to trivialize the significance of the Gilpin as an important ecosystem for wintering deer that resulted in the 1972  1470 acre Boothman Ranch purchase for $190,000. “Deer winter and spring range is the prime use with carefully controlled logging, grazing by cattle and some forms of recreation, public education and game and bird management being acceptable other uses of the unit.”

What is the measure of Minister Thomson’s message that appeared in a Black Press article titled “BC Wildlife Management Overhaul Coming” that appeared in the Grand Forks Gazette April 20th  “Thomson acknowledged more needs to be done. He said an additional 12million dollars in his ministry budget this year is to support wildlife inventory and habitat improvement”.

Will there be an announcement that the ongoing logging by Interfor in the interior Douglas Fir Zone adjacent to the Gilpin Grasslands will immediately subscribe to the minister’s former parliamentary secretary, Mike Morris’ recommendation that appeared in his August 15, 2015 Report titled “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia” “Simply put, new strategies are required to support impacted wildlife populations and the needed habitat to allow species to recover.”

Interfor-Please listen to the better angles of your corporate board nature and respect important wildlife areas.

Barry Brandow

 

 

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NEWSLETTER March 26, 2016

If you took the time to use the link to gain access to the “Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia” I hope you found much to be pleased with, after all it is a small ray of light shining on a resource that has been ruthlessly exploited.

The problem with experience and knowledge is that you can quickly find the problems that question the merit of the project but rather than make my point that questions the credibility of retired provincial biologists and moose population inventory I am going to send you four pages of information that will allow you to better judge for yourself if the cornerstone of the project is on the right track -population inventory.

The following quote gives us the proper perspective for an intelligent discussion on wildlife inventory in B.C.

“Across North America wildlife agencies do not have enough funding and staff to obtain adequate inventory information on populations and habitat- the cornerstone of all wildlife management programs”. Page 2- British Columbia’s Environment- Planning for the Future Managing wildlife to 2001- A Discussion Paper

The two pages of wildlife inventory information from Alberta are an easy read and obtained from the Management Plan for White-tailed Deer and the Management Plan for Mule Deer that can be found on the Alberta Forestry, Lands and Wildlife Web Page.

Both reports are extensive and give an in depth report on many facets of wildlife management very seldom brought forward in B.C.

One of the better sound bytes that gets no attention in BC is found on page 53 of the Mule Deer Report.

Crippling Losses and Illegal Harvest- Crippling losses as a result of hunting are not documented in Alberta but Losch and Samuel (1976) reviewed several studies in the United States and found an average loss equal to 23 percent of the reported kill during either sex seasons (15 studies) and 27 percent during buck only seasons (11 studies)

I am also sending you two pages of information from four retired BC provincial biologists that emphasize the importance of conservative wildlife management and the inherent weakness in population inventory in BC.

Retired Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary biologists Al Peatt and Bob Lincoln who I knew well stress the importance of conservative wildlife management in their quotes 1988 and 1992-93. Compare the road density in their time to the road density to-day and ask yourself how is it possible to have more mule/whitetail deer hunting opportunity and not compromise their population?

Senior Kamloops provincial biologist, Fred Harper in his Okanagan Mule Deer Harvest Strategy Jan. 1998 makes the case that wildlife population inventory “are simply best guesses based almost entirely on empirical information (observation)”

His suggestion that the “hunter harvest data is the only hard data available and will therefore be the primary data base for formulating desired harvest levels” is one of the significant problems that questions the validity of all BC wildlife population inventories especially for animals hunted in OGS (open general season)

Remember Alberta wildlife managers describe indirect methods such as hunter harvest surveys and jaw bone inspection as only providing information on distribution and age/sex ratios but only crude estimates of population size.

In typical assumption that is the hallmark of wildlife inventories in BC the biometric biologist (I forget his name) in the early seventies made the case that cougar hunters were harvesting approximately 450 cougar a year.

As a member of the Fraser valley Trail Hound Association I drafted a resolution that mandated the compulsory inspection of a cougar kill that was unanimously supported at a BC Wildlife Federation Convention in Kamloops.

To maximize our odds of success we convinced Director of Wildlife, Jim Hatter to accompany us on a black bear hunt with hounds in the Skagit Valley. We were successful on two counts; Jim harvested a black bear with his bow and in the process we convinced him to support our resolution.

The upshot of the first compulsory cougar harvest report- 150 cougar.

The facts made it clear that the estimated harvest of cougar in the seventies was nothing more than a wild guess using irrelevant information from the yearly Provincial Game Commission Reports which in 1955 (the only record I have) paid a bounty of $20 for 359 cougar paid at 30 town/cities across the province. A bonus of $20 was also paid for 154 cougar. BONUS?

I have given you a primary lesson on the salient facts that should be used and facts not used in wildlife population inventories that I will present in the near future when talking about specific wildlife populations.

The big question that few people want answered is how many provincial biologists and wildlife managers are on record as fanatical supporters of hunting opportunity and in the process have left sound bytes that question their future employment? Certainly no one is going to be fired but the Mike Morris Report cannot be ignored nor the major problem that is at the center of the problem –wildlife population inventory.

It is true the biggest problem facing the wildlife resource in our province as is the case on the planet is the sorry state of wildlife habitat and the next few newsletters via pictures will show you the challenges facing the long list of wildlife species that inhabit the Gilpin Grasslands a metaphor for the rest of the province.

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

Here is the Moose Enhancement News Release:  2016FLNR0026-000343

Here are the Biologist Quotes:

Quotes from Former Provincial Biologists- That reinforce the merit of Conservative Wildlife Management

BC Wildlife Population Inventory-History

  1. Okanagan Deer Harvest Report

Senior biologist Bob Lincoln Jan. 15, 1988

“In the Okanagan where roads are abundant, suggesting a potential for localized over-harvest and where 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.

  1. Okanagan Mule Deer Harvest Strategy

Senior biologist Fred Harper Jan. 1998

“Unfortunately there is no known affordable technique to precisely estimate population sizes anywhere within the southern Interior Region. The often closed canopy forests make sightability of mule deer totally unreliable thereby precluding any statistically valid population estimates. Any population estimates that do exist are simply best guesses based almost entirely on empirical information.

The Problem

Reliable population census data for the Okanagan area are not available. Unfortunately, there is no known affordable technique to precisely estimate population sizes anywhere within the Southern Interior Region. The often closed canopy forests, make sightability of mule deer totally unreliable, thereby precluding any statistically valid population estimate. Any population estimates that do exist are simply ‘best-guesses’, based almost entirely on empirical information. Winter carry-over counts have been conducted, but sample sizes were usually too small to allow confidence in the results. Such data however, even if sample sizes are adequate, do not provide a population estimate; they only provide an indication of adult sex ratios and herd productivity. These data are critical to monitoring the viability of the living deer herds, fiscal and staffing shortages have precluded obtaining sufficient information to provide conclusive results. The only data available to indicate population trend are hunter harvest data.

Hunter harvest data, specifically the annual harvest and the annual kill per unit effort, can be used to indicate trends in population size, as well as to forecast population trends with varying harvest strategies. However, in the absence of reliable population size and structure data, several assumptions have to be made, thereby limiting the confidence of such data analyses. Nevertheless, the hunter harvest data is the only ‘hard’ data available, and will therefore be the primary data base for formulating desired harvest levels.

  1. Deer Harvest Regulation 1992/93 Provincial Biologist, Alan Peatt

“In general it seems most deer hunters are satisfied with the success rate and effort that they enjoy in the Okanagan. Hunters do not wish to jeopardize that success; therefore changes in Okanagan deer hunting regulations should be incremental and conservative. Each change should be followed by an assessment to ensure that the results are beneficial to deer populations and to deer hunting.

  1. Mule Deer and white-tailed deer population review for the Kootenay Region of British Columbia Garth Mowat- Senior Wildlife Biologist- Gerry Kuzyk Ungulate Biologist

The single factor controlled by the wildlife manager is hunting regulations and these are often changed for reasons other than quality data. No perfect index appears to exist to measure population change so all indices discussed must be viewed with some skepticism and are best used in concert with other population data (Hatter 2001)

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER March 5, 2016

I am sending you four pages of information from the State of Washington-2014 Game Status and Trend Report that represents a quick study on deer management in Washington State.

The information is a consequence of a long phone conversation with Dana Base, the senior biologist for the NE corner of Washington State. Our conversation centered on population inventory and when Dana made the point that his colleagues had counted 3000 deer in the Methow Valley I instantly asked what the population estimate was. He chuckled “we don’t do that”.

The Methow Valley is approximately 60 miles south of Osoyoos and runs NW/SE.

Senior biologist, Scott Fitkin and his partner Jeff Heinlen manage 11 Game Management Units in Region 2 North Okanagan; four GMUs touch the International Border.

Forevermore remember Scott Fitkin’s words when describing wildlife inventory-“preliminary calculations suggest any estimates produced will have extremely wide confidence intervals.

Washington State does road deer counts and every hunter is expected to go on-line and complete a hunter harvest survey. Those who do not are fined a nominal fee when they renew their yearly hunting license.

In my conversation with Scott he stressed the importance of access management. I reminded him of the quote on page 95 of the current Washington State 2015 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations ”Roads have been closed to vehicular traffic in over 65 areas providing over a million acres of relatively undisturbed prime hunting habitat”.

Access Management is only possible if there is a budget that will provide the necessary money and that is certainly the case in Washington State.

Prior to my conversation with Scott I had a phone conversation with John Buckley who is the Licensing-Revenue and Statistics Supervisor in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and received the following information on Recreational License Sales July 1,2014- June 30, 2015:

Total Hunting License Revenue –Big Game = $14,729,482.

Total Hunting License Revenue-Small Game = $2,845,507

Total Hunting License Raffles Revenue          = $    233,500.

Total Hunting Revenue July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 = $17,808,489.

John Buckley and colleague Craig Bartlett connected to the Public Affairs Office confirmed that all the revenue collected from the sale of hunting licenses (firearm and species licenses) is committed to the funding of the wildlife management file.

Scott Fitkin made it very clear that “we have enough money” after he made the point that the Pitman Robertson Act which directs tax money from the sale of guns and ammunition to the State wildlife management program from which the tax is collected.

Although Canadians will never have a love affair with guns in league with Americans why does Canada not have similar legislation?

The last paragraph in Scott Fitkin’s four page report on deer management in North Okanagan describes a sensitive approach to dealing with complaint ungulates once again-polar opposite to BC.

If you care about the future of the province’s wildlife resource save the information as a good reference point if you understand the measure of B.C. Liberal MLA, Mike Morris’ concluding statement in his August 2015 report: Getting the Balance Right. Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia. There is an urgency and heightened concern amongst resident hunters, guide outfitters, trappers, the wildlife viewing industry and conservationists that the province is not acting quickly enough to address the decrease in wildlife populations and degradation of wildlife habitat.

It was my original intention to send you a newsletter every two months but the sorry state of management on our mountains especially the Gilpin Grasslands and adjacent forest is grim so I will send you pictures and information that make my point.

Barry Brandow Sr.

Here is the Washington report:  CCF03072016

Here is the Alberta report:

Wildlife Inventory Alberta

Important quotes from 1989 Management Plan for Mule Deer in Alberta and 1986 Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in Alberta

Introduction page 1  White-tail Deer and Mule Deer

“The wildlife policy stated that the government is to ensure that wildlife populations are protected from severe decline, that viable populations are maintained and that the wildlife resource is passed on to future generations as it was received”

Inventory Survey-

 Quotes from Both reports are the same with few exceptions.

  • Page 12 population estimates were hampered by problems associated with collection and interpretation of survey data.
  • Page 24 In Alberta there is not enough staff to obtain sufficient information through widespread use of indirect indices to estimate whitetail population.
  • Page 100- Population inventory involves direct methods where the deer are actually observed (e.g. aerial survey) and indirect methods (e.g. jaw collection, harvest questionnaires. Direct Methods-can provide all the necessary population information. Indirect methods-can provide information on distribution and age/sex ratios but only crude estimates of population size.
  • Page 101- In the identified high priority WMUs the survey should be flown biannually (using a helicopter) with sampling of a sufficient intensity to produce a population estimate accurate to the plus or minus 20 percent level of precision.
  • Page 59- Current surveys are designed at a sampling intensity that will provide population estimates for the WMU at a precision level of plus or minus 30 percent.

Alberta Mule Deer Management Plan 1989

Introduction  Mule Deer

“The wildlife policy stated that the government is to ensure that wildlife populations are protected from severe decline, that viable populations are maintained and that the wildlife resource is passed on to future generations as it was received”.

  • Page 24 Harvest– before mid 1950s the question of population size was based on isolated counts and the subjective assessment of many people including farmers, forestry staff and game wardens.
  • Page 63-population estimate-current surveys will provide population estimates at a precision level of plus or minus 30 percent.
  • There are many techniques available for deer population inventories such as track counts, pellet counts, browse surveys, night-lighting, road side counts, aerial surveys and extrapolation of hunter harvest data. All methods have good points and drawbacks. The technique that comes closest to meeting our needs in Alberta is the aerial survey.
  • Page 102-population inventory-indirect methods are limited.
  • Page 103- aerial surveys are the only practical direct population inventory method to use in Alberta.

 

NEWSLETTER February 22, 2016

I am sending you a news release from the Wildlife Stewardship Council that is a reminder to all British Columbians that First Nations have the leverage to demand their constitutional right to harvest a fair share of the province’s wildlife resource!

How many BC First Nations bands are going to ask in the immediate future the same hunting concessions given to the Tsilhoqot’in First Nations, after all, the constitutional right of First Nations to hunt super cedes the interests of resident hunters and outfitters?

How do resident hunters and outfitters use the Tsilhoqot”in First nation moose hunting concession as an opportunity to demand a transparent review of wildlife management policy?

Successful business men and women hedge their investment decisions knowing that all assumptions come with risks. The BC Wildlife Federation has been the major player in the corrupt hunting opportunity agenda so are they going to go down the road less travelled and announce that forthwith they will support a provincial roundtable that embraces transparency and accountability?

The BC Liberal Government not unlike the Glen Clark NDP Government before them abandoned their statutory responsibility to manage the province’s wildlife resource so will both parties likewise support a provincial roundtable?

Any way you look at the Tsilhqot’in moose hunting decision the hunting opportunity agenda is in the process of collapsing as all ponzi schemes eventually do!

I am in the process of drafting a newsletter driven by conversations with two Washington biologists, Dana Base and Scott Fitkin and Alberta biologist, Scott Stevens and quoting important points in their respective deer management reports to give you more information to better understand why BC wildlife population theory is corrupt.

The purpose of the newsletter is to give you information you will not get anywhere else in an attempt to explain why the province’s wildlife and habitat resource has a grim future. You do as you see fit with the information I send you.

I have displayed your email address because there is a glaring lack of transparency in many of the important decisions on our land base and when there are management proposals that are transparent most of them are deeply offensive.

A good example of this is the current proposal to extend the rifle season on the whitetail doe to the length of the whitetail buck rifle season; 82 days in the Boundary on the corrupt theory that a statistical analysis of hunter harvest information, field counts and some population surveys make the case that the whitetail deer population is stable or expanding.

Furthermore I want you to be aware that unlike my adversaries I am making maximum effort to give you a transparent reasoned argument that dramatically contradicts government decisions and the email addresses strengthen my argument.

If you don’t want your email address exposed on the newsletter let us know and we will oblige your wishes and if it is a major problem then we will respond accordingly.

Barry Brandow Sr.

Here is the News Release from the WSC:  PRESS RELEASE FEB 18 2016

NEWSLETTER January 28, 2016

 

Every year I pray there is evidence that the statistical arguments that have resulted in increased hunting opportunity that is one of the major reasons why many wildlife populations in BC have collapsed, shows signs our wildlife managers and their political masters realize the magnitude of their failure to honor their statutory responsibility to ensure our wildlife resource is passed on to future generations as it was received!

I received a disturbing e-mail a few days ago from Fred Marshall recommending a dramatic increase in hunting opportunity of the whitetail doe in Region 8- Okanagan/Boundary. I urge all of you who care about the province’s wildlife resource to protest by demanding this outrageous statistical argument be immediately discarded.

The rationale for the increased harvest of the whitetail doe makes the point that “over 20 years of surveys in the Boundary Game Management Zone (GMZ) show stable or increasing numbers of whitetail deer”.

The reality is that wildlife population numbers are only accurate if a sightability index is used, in other words the animals are counted using aerial and ground surveys. If you extrapolate the numbers as our wildlife managers are doing then you are making a crude guess on animal populations that cannot be validated and have consistently ignored the weight of anecdotal evidence.

It is important that we find out who the author of this e-mail is because there is an alarming trend of the BC Wildlife Federation hiring retired provincial wildlife managers and biologists to speak for their interest of increasing hunting opportunity.

The current behavior of the BCWF has no connection to their past history, a point made by former Region 8 Biologist, Bob Lincoln in his Dec. 1987 report; Deer harvest management in the Okanagan: Past Results and Future Directions-“A prime concern of these Federation members is that the deer resource not be over-exploited. They have lobbied hard for very conservative harvests of deer”.

Remember it is the collective vision of a very small percentage of hunters and guides who have the knowledge and experience to validate population trends and that does not include wildlife managers or biologists with very few exceptions.

How is it possible to square up comments from two provincial biologists a generation apart?

Bob Lincoln’s quote in his Dec. 1987 report was valid then as it is to-day; “In the Okanagan where roads are abundant, suggesting a potential for localized over-harvest 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 a recent phone conversation Nelson provincial biologist, Aaron Reid made the point the province’s whitetail deer population has gone from 40,000 plus decades ago to 110,000  to-day. How many whitetail deer were actually counted versus extrapolation theory?

In the near future I will send you a newsletter that will shed more light on the cautionary approach to wildlife population estimates based on conversations with two Washington State biologists and important quotes from the State of Washington 2014 Game Status and Trend Report.

The letter will also include quotes from the Management Plan White-tailed Deer in Alberta.

The bottom line does not change-uncorroborated wildlife management theory is putting a hole in the province’s wildlife resource and the credibility of many wildlife managers and biologists.

Barry Brandow Sr.

PLEASE NOTE

Any intelligent discussion by British Columbians concerned with the current sorry state of wildlife management in BC to-day is well advised to remember the following comments found on page 100 of the Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in Alberta:

Population inventory involves direct methods where the deer are actually observed (eg. , aerial survey) and indirect methods ( eg., jaw collection, harvest questionnaires). Direct methods can provide all the necessary population information but are often impractical because of cost or poor visibility of animals in dense cover types. Indirect methods supplement direct methods or replace them in areas where direct methods are not feasible but their usefulness is limited. They can provide information on distribution and age/sex ratios but only crude estimates of population size.

Here is the link to a proposal for a regional deer bag limit increase:  http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/hunting/regional-deer-bag-limit-increase

 

 

NEWSLETTER January 24, 2016

 

Thanks to Margaret Steele

I am sending you a November 22 Globe and Mail article by Mark Hume titled “BC’s Wildlife Policy Skirts Issue of Habitat Loss Due to Logging.”

Veteran Vancouver Sun outdoor reporter Larry Pynn wrote a similar article Dec. 26, 2015 titled “Timber Firms have too Much Power, BC Watchdog Says”

The report can be summed up by the following quote from the Forest Practices Board “In another report last August the board concluded that most forest stewardship plans governing forest activities on crown land do not meet the public’s needs, are not enforceable by government and provide little in the way of innovative forest management”.

The loss of important wildlife habitat is the biggest challenge facing the future of the province’s wildlife resource and I believe the dismal management of the Gilpin Grasslands is one of the better examples that make the point.

The two newspaper articles critical of the management of the BC forest are connected to BC Liberal MLA Mike Morris’s August 2015 report; Getting the Balance Right; Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in BC.

British Columbians who follow the news and/or have connections to the BC Liberal Party are fully aware that Premier Christy Clark has a weak environmental agenda, a point made in an article in the Vancouver Sun last November, soon after the Mike Morris report was released to the public “BC balks at boosting protection.

Even though the Premier has a weak environmental track record my wife and I still like and care about her. For the record during the BC Liberal leadership race I did tell her that what the BC Liberal Government was doing on our mountains was economic and scientific madness.

The one sound byte that best describes why the Mike Morris report saw the light of day in my strong opinion comes from a party member close to the Premier. In response to my wife’s reason why we are no shows at BC Liberal Party functions her response said it all; I have heard that from quite a few people so you can’t quit!

Barry

Here is the link to the Globe and Mail article:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bcs-wildlife-policy-skirts-issue-of-habitat-loss-due-to-logging/article27435434/

 

NEWSLETTER December 20, 2015

I am sending you sound bytes from hunters and outfitters that once again remind British Columbians that scientific driven wildlife management in our province has lost virtually every fight to the political game of maximizing hunting opportunity.

To put the stories into scientific wildlife management perspective I have included as I will in the future pertinent facts from the 14 page 1982 paper titled; “Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada”.

“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”. Page 2

“Two important principles incorporated in the guidelines are related to the use of wildlife. The first is that all Canadians are free to use and enjoy wildlife subject to laws; the second is that maintenance of wildlife populations must take precedence over their use.” Page 5

The legal commitments to native people must be honored while maintaining viable wildlife populations for the benefit of all Canadians.” Page 12

Len Hagel who works at the Grand Forks landfill, used to count 16 mule deer and 20 whitetail on the rocky grassland slope immediately north and adjacent to the land fill. To-day a few whitetail survive because they use the city of Grand Forks as a refuge. Len was the only whitetail hunter in his group to see a whitetail buck which he harvested during their yearly whitetail November hunt.

The Christina Lake area where Len and his friends were hunting, in my time as a guide was an excellent area to hunt the whitetail buck but when political agendas replace responsible wildlife management you get what we got- an area virtually devoid of deer.

I had a conversation in late October with Albin Hochsteiner and Dawson Long; both are ardent hound hunters and former guides. Their combined knowledge of wildlife is a function of 70 plus years hunting South Okanagan and the Boundary. Dawson made the point that with so many wildlife populations in steep decline why would people want to continue to hunt. Albin was blunt with his assessment of the deer population-“How can anyone be so stupid not to know the deer population has collapsed?”

Phillip Dubey, the Grand Forks butcher on Carson Rd. not far from us was butchering 120 deer when he started in 2000 but now is down to approximately 30 deer mostly does and fawns.

Kenny Corf, a butcher from Rock Creek said his business was doing well. On the October Thanksgiving week-end hunters brought 23 deer to his shop- twenty of which were does.

Wally Thomas, a Grand Forks hunter who operates a trap line in the Burrill Creek watershed which is immediately north of the 28 mile bridge over the Granby River reports that the deer harvest by hunters is the poorest he has seen since he purchased his trap line in the mid seventies.

Testimonials from Outfitters and First Nation participants at the November 24th annual meeting of the Wildlife Stewardship Council.

  1. Dave Fyfe- Lifelong resident of Vancouver Island. Licensed resident hunter since 1966 and Guide Outfitter since 1992.

When I began hunting in the 1960s, portions of Vancouver Island enjoyed some of the highest concentration of blacktail deer in North America. This abundance of deer allowed for First Nations sustenance hunting, recreational hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities that were enjoyed by thousands of people each year. Those of us who hunted were truly engaged in wildlife management and the deer harvested each year were replaced by a new crop of fawns the following spring. In short, this was a sustainable hunt. What has happened over the past 4 decades has been a collapse of the blacktail deer of epic proportions. In fact, I believe that aside from caribou, there is no other animal on the continent that has failed so miserably as the Vancouver Island deer.

Each year I attend meetings to discuss wildlife management in Region 1 and I often bring up the blight of the deer. I have expressed my concern over predation issues, lack of winter range and the relentless hunting pressure that has denied the deer an opportunity to recover. First Nation’s representatives have been equally vocal about their concerns and have sacrificed many of their harvest opportunities to help in deer recovery. Unfortunately those of us speaking for the deer have experienced little to no support in developing a recovery strategy that puts the plight of the deer ahead of the self-interest of a few who refuse to make the necessary sacrifices to recover the deer populations.

  1. Devin Jewell- Outfitter in Harrison Lake area

I live in Region 3-26  Salmon Arm. We had a large winter range above our home out of Styhills area between 2008 and 2015 the winter range went from 150 mule deer to less than 20 from over harvest of mule deer does in that time period wolf numbers were not a concern and cougar numbers were the same as years previous. I believe it was from hunter swarming during November rut and over issuing of antlerless mule deer licenses.

  1. Greg and Faye Williams- Golden Bear Outfitting, Charlie Lake BC

I started my guiding career in 1974 in northern BC and have been in the business ever since.

Over the years we have seen the steady decline in the wildlife populations in BC. There is no doubt that the system is broke and unless we change I do not believe there will be a viable outfitting industry for the next generation.

We need to all become the stewards that we are to be. The wildlife is depending on us to get this right. In order to have good conservation we need to have proper stewardship first.

 

  1. Rudy and Linda Day-First Nations- Shesley River Outfitters- Telegraph Creek, BC -Area 6-26

I’ve been in the hunting business for 35 years, started off with my dad, Fletcher Day. I started to run my own business in 1995. We both live in Telegraph Creek, BC. Over the period of time we have seen the animals decline especially the caribou and moose, the main cause that I have witnessed is the wolf and grizzly bear and also we have a lot of resident hunting pressure thru our whole hunting area.

In 2015 we have formed the Taretan Guide Outfitter Association of which I am president; this is my first meeting in Victoria with the Wildlife Stewardship Council. We are very excited to be a member and part of WSC and to put wildlife first so the future generations can also hunt. Thank you

 

  1. John and Kathy Sievers- Outfitters in Lillooet, BC

My name is John Sievers and I’m second generation guide outfitter. Together with my wife, Kathy we’ve been involved in guide outfitting industry for over 30 years. We currently live in Lillooet, BC where we own and operate a sheep, mule deer, moose and predator area. We also own a concession on the west coast of Vancouver Island where we hunt black bear and Roosevelt elk. During my time as a big game guide I’ve watched game populations in all regions of the province get hunted to dangerously low levels. In fact our ability to harvest a bull moose in 3-32 north is basically non-existent when prior to 2007 we maintained a 100% success rate for our clients. Government’s mandate to manage wildlife to the lowest common denominator just isn’t working. If we continue to manage this way I fear there will be nothing left for future generations.

Government’s “Hunter recruitment and retention program” is an oxymoron. You cannot liberalize seasons to recruit new hunters and expect retention when theres nothing left.

The wildlife in B.C. is in dire straights. Its time to stop the nonsense.

 

  1. Raf De Guevara – Westbank First Nations

As the current manager of Rights & Title for Westbank First Nations, feedback from some WFN hunters is still the same message from last year. Deer and moose are much harder to find, because in many cases there just not there. There clearly needs to be changes made to the provincial management and allocation model within the Interior and Okanagan area. Changes need to be made in favor of animal sustainability not the collection of provincial fees.

I had a private moment with Minister Steve Thomson at the annual meeting of the Wildlife Stewardship Council meeting in Victoria November 25 and asked if he would support a meeting of hunters and concerned citizens at Rock Creek and I was mildly surprised that he said yes.

I attend WSC meetings because of First Nations participation and WSC advocacy of a round table of all stakeholders who in my opinion must have the same influence on wildlife management as the hunting opportunity agenda that has resulted in the steep decline of many wildlife populations province wide. The sorry state of habitat and access management is likewise major problems.

It was brought to my attention in early December that Minister Steve Thomson’s Parliamentary Secretary, Mike Morris had drafted a report titled “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia.”

Mike describes himself as a 32 year RCMP career member who is a conservationist with great respect for our wildlife and its habitat. “I have been a fisherman, hunter and an active trapper for over 40 years.”

If you take the time and read Mike’s report which you can find on the Minister’s webpage it is an easy read. Mike’s comments at the end of his report says it all: “There is an urgency and heightened concern amongst resident hunters, guide outfitters, trappers, the wildlife viewing industry and conservationists that the province is not acting quickly enough to address the decrease in wildlife populations and the degradation of wildlife habitat.”

My son, Bear had a heads up conversation with Mike last August but what does it all mean? Within a week of the release of the report Mike Morris was appointed to the BC Liberal Cabinet as the Solicitor General and subsequently an article appeared in the Vancouver Sun Dec. 21, 2015 titled “BC balks at boosting protection”

The report is a small step forward but to my knowledge there are no meaningful wildlife management hunting regulations proposed notwithstanding wildlife management in BC is a ponzi scheme that has collapsed!

Barry Brandow Sr.

I will send you a copy of the article in the Vancouver Sun