Monthly Archives: April 2016

NEWSLETTER December 14, 2015

My wife and I saluted the recent passing of former Premier Bill Bennett and reflected on our good fortune to have connected with Socred Governments who were great believers in small “d” democracy.

If you flew their colors and supported the party and had an issue it was always the same game plan; people, project, politics. Someone had to be on the point that they trusted, the project or issue had to make sense and you had to make it sellable!

Travel Highway # 3 between Grand Forks and Christina Lake with your eyes wide open and you will witness three significant projects which have the footprint of three Socred Government Premiers.

Travel east of Grand Forks and you will quickly see an 11KM wildlife fence adjacent to Highway #3 and with good fortune you will see bighorn sheep. In October 1984  MLA, Jim Hewitt, a Cabinet Minister in the Bill Bennett Government supported the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce  bighorn sheep transplant, a tourism initiative.

Near the eastern end of the wildlife fence you will see signs identifying the Class A Gilpin Grassland Provincial Park created by the BC Liberal Government in 2007. The heart of the Park is a 1470 acre ranch purchased by the WAC Bennett Socred Government August 1972 using their Green Belt Fund. Frank Richter, the Socred Cabinet Minister supported a petition and letters urging the government to purchase the ranch because the rancher had been accused of killing deer in his fields for years!

As you travel through the community of Christina Lake you will notice an Art Center built on land that touches Highway #3 and Christina Lake.  In the late eighties Socred Cabinet Minister Howard Dirks in the Vander Zalm Government  supported the wishes of six town/city councils in the West Kootenay/Boundary  that the government purchase the property and designate the land a park to increase tourism.

To-day getting support for any issue that embraces the hallmark of good government transparency and accountability is literally a pipe dream since the demise of the Social Credit Government!

Barry & Midge  Brandow

Grand Forks

250-442-2849

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NEWSLETTER November 28, 2015

I am sending you an email I received from Fred Marshall who lives near the town of Midway.

Notwithstanding the obvious negative impacts on wildlife populations of long hunting seasons and predators the lack of meaningful access and wildlife habitat management are the two biggest challenges to reverse the economic and scientific madness of provincial politicians starting with the 1996 Glen Clark NDP Government who have demanded more revenue from all of our natural resources.

There is only one way you maximize revenue in a responsible sustainable way and that is to minimize the political footprint.

In spite of the fact that the Gilpin Grasslands has been recognized as an important wildlife habitat area because of its south facing grassland slopes and adjacent forest to a large number of wildlife species including blue and red listed species and endorsed as a significant wildlife area by three provincial governments; Social Credit, NDP and BC Liberal plus two land conservancies; Nature Trust and the Land Conservancy who have purchased 792 acres a recreation area for quad, dirt and mountain bikes was deemed more important!

Another example of Minister Steve Thomson and his staff’s failure to understand the meaning of statutory responsibility. Absolutely no rancher, hunter, outfitter, trapper, naturalist, environmentalist or concerned citizen who values the province’s grassland ecosystem which is described as the province’s most threatened, less than 1% of our land base and home to most of the provinces blue and red listed was included in the process.

BC Grasslands Newsletter October 2015

“That the current approach to resource management is failing the environmental health side of the resource management equation doesn’t seem to surprise many. What is surprising is that we continue to live with it.”

It was recently brought to my attention that the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Official Community Plan is supportive of elevating the management of provincial parks.

Official Community Plan Extracts:

“To encourage the province to develop and manage provincial parks in a manner which is environmentally sensitive while serving the needs of local residents and visitors.”

“To support the preservation of land and water with high scenic natural and recreational values for public use and enjoyment.”

A few years ago probably seven a public meeting was held at Selkirk College in Grand Forks at which a power point presentation was made for the Gilpin grasslands supportive of a Wildlife Management Area designation for the Gilpin Grasslands. Many pictures of cow and motor vehicle damage were displayed as were important Freedom of Information Letters.

Former Kootenay/Boundary Regional District Area D representative Irene Perepelkin on a field trip on the Overton Creek Watershed immediately north of the city of Grand Forks made the point that my pictures did not do justice to the damage that cows had done to the watershed especially the riparian areas on the few water sources in the watershed most of which are on Nature Trust property. A few years later she became a fanatical supporter of rancher, John Mehmal a point she made at a meeting prior to the 2011 regional district election.

When I think of Irene Perepolkin’s dismal performance I am instantly reminded of that great quote from H.L. Mencken-“A foolish consistency is the hob goblin of small minds.”

It is time to have a public meeting to discuss the future management of the Class A Gilpin Grassland Provincial Park, probably March next year!

I will send you a few newsletters in the near future on the wildlife management file that will showcase deer management in the wildlife management units in Washington State that touch the international border. The information is a result of a conversation with Dana Base, the Senior Biologist for the NE corner of Washington State late August who gave me the link to the 312 page Washington State 2014 Game Status and Trend Report.

The backbone of the discussion will be population estimates, importance of access management and how the state deals with nuisance deer complaints

The 2015 Sept/Oct BC Outdoors has an article titled 2015 BC Hunting Forecast by recently retired provincial biologist Brian Harris that reinforces my argument that he was never qualified to speak for the vast majority of British Columbians who value wildlife but do not hunt. Yes I will share my comments with you on specific points Brian has made that do not square up with responsible hunters.

I have a paper titled “Guidelines for Wildlife Policy in Canada” developed between 1980 and 1982 by a committee of the Federal Provincial Wildlife Conference and the final text was approved by the Wildlife Ministers Conference September 30, 1982.

The Table of Contents provides plenty of information which I will share with you that showcase the curse of political agendas; concept, goals, guiding principles, elements and actions to consider!

Barry Brandow

The following is the email sent by Fred Marshall on December 4, 2015:

“As is well known the Boundary area already has a plethora of roads—15,000 km+ with many more planned.

As is also well known, roads are responsible for 95% of erosion and siltation in our water courses.  The amount of silt in the Kettle River during the spring freshet is evidence of this in the Boundary.

An attempt to develop a Zero Net New Roads policy in the Boundary within the KR Watershed Plan was, unfortunately, unsuccessful.

The critical question therefore is—How many more roads should be allowed or will be constructed in the Boundary?  When is enough—enough?

The following critical question is—How many roads will be closed and rehabilitated in the Boundary each year?  The ORV groups and many others, including the cattlemen, want more roads and trails and access to all—all the time hence—likely very few.

The problem with siltation and the inherent cost of maintaining all the roads in the Boundary therefore becomes staggering and hence does not happen near to the degree it should…therefore ever increasing siltation in our waterways.

Will BCTS and Interfor commit to properly maintaining our roads under their jurisdiction as long as the roads exist?  Obviously this is their responsibility so the proper maintenance of these roads is inherently theirs.  To date the road maintenance in the Boundary has been well below acceptable levels.

Also, an ever increasing incursion into the forests means a significant reduction in the forest cover throughout the Boundary.

Plus ever increasing negative impacts on all species of wildlife occur with each new road built.

All of the above issues must be addressed before any new development occurs in the Boundary TSA.  The future of the Boundary forests is at stake.

Fred

NEWSLETTER October 30, 2015

I am sending you a few pictures that represent a typical water/grassland scene on the Gipin Grasslands.

The pictures showcase the largest tributary to Morrissey Creek before the creek drops into a canyon and an adjacent meadow that was the site of a recent forest thinning burn. Morrissey Creek watershed is one of five watersheds within the Proposed Gilpin Grasslands Wildlife Management Area designation.

In July 2007 I had convinced Range Manager, David Borth from Kamloops to accompany me on a field on the Gilpin Grasslands and once David discovered my behavior wasn’t as bad as my reputation we got along. We both are old grads from UBC so the ongoing discussions were cordial but blunt.

Not long into the field trip David informed that he recently had been Executive Director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association. I immediately realized why the Minister of Forest Range at the time, Rich Coleman glared at me and defied me to shake his hand at a meeting in his Aldergrove office in early November 2005.

I asked David why Range employee, Werner Baliko had given the prestigious North American Grazing Award to ranchers John and Wally Mehmal which was well advertised in a feature picture story in the Grand Forks Gazette November, 2006. His quick response-Werner was pressured to do something. In other words the ranchers were getting weary of my constant criticism which wasn’t much of a cross to bear when you consider that virtually every important water course, quality recreation site and areas critical to wildlife in the Boundary are seriously compromised by the cow.

As you would expect if you know squat about the history of range management in BC he forcefully reminded me “We will never change”. Walkerton, Ontario ; 7 deaths, 2300 ill and over 40 with life health challenges all from cow manure in one of the town’s wells May 2000 was an event of no consequence for the BC ranchers.

Eventually our field trip took us to the meadow in the pictures and we both agreed that a forest thinning/ fire project to create more browse and grass had merit. I supported the project which took place 2 ½ years ago but as expected cows remained at the site until the grass and browse had been severely cropped.

I submitted a formal complaint that resulted in a field trip September 24th with Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources employee Terry Corley. It is a go around for sure but ranchers are going to learn sooner than later their behavior has a dark cloud hanging over it. So it begs the question is it possible to get a pro bono (freebie) from a capable environmental lawyer and start the process of a Class Action Lawsuit directed at getting domestic animals out of our important water courses, quality recreation sites like parks and areas critical to wildlife?

If you subscribe to Net Flix check out “Cowspiracy” which you can find under the label, political documentaries!

Barry Brandow

NEWSLETTER August 14, 2015

I spent more hours wildlife fencing this spring than I have in years. It goes without saying that there is always an adversarial cloud hanging over every project that defies the long standing tradition of wildlife losing every fight on the grassland ecosystem in our province.

My Highway #3 wildlife fencing crew volunteered 90 hours replacing old sections of the 11 1/2 KM wildlife fence construction started in 1985. The current director of wildlife, Dan Petersen hacked me big time on the future of the wildlife fence so he must know a lot more about politics than I do. Remember our Socred MLA, Jim Hewitt convinced his Minister of Environment colleague, Tony Brummett to support the Gilpin Bighorn Sheep proposal October, 1984 because I convinced Jim the bighorns would not create a problem for the driving public on Highway #3.

A small group of us spent 185 hours building a wildlife friendly fence to exclude cows from approximately 6 acres of Nature Trust property. Al Grant from Rock Creek made a substantial time and money commitment to the project. Al spent 51 hours on his tractor digging fence post holes and another 13 hours stapling wire to the posts. He also donated seven roles of barbed wire. Amazing when you consider conservation to-day is all about money raised by surcharges on species hunting tags and with few exceptions; all workers are paid a good wage.

Initially the project objective was to exclude cows from a spring adjacent to the Overton Creek Road but after two field trips with Nature Trust employee, Nick Burdock the perimeter agreed upon was much larger than initially planned.

When you travel a road as often as we did you become aware of how much damage the cow does to the land in a short period of time. The enclosure will quickly give us a bench mark to compare the damage the cows does to riparian areas and important wildlife shrubs such as blue elderberry, Saskatoon and chokecherry, all of which are highly desirable by the cow.

If you take the time to check out www.boundaryalliance.org you can get the skinny on the Nature Trust properties in Grand Forks.

Remember I have been steadfast in stating that good government will support ranching but good government will honor its statutory responsibility and mandate a much higher level of management of the cow on all our province’s sensitive important environments.

If you accompany me on a time and site specific field trip on the Nature Trust properties and the Gilpin Grassland Class A Park you will quickly agree the damage done by the cow is unacceptable.

Mike Pearson’s presentation April 9th  at the Grand Fork’s Senior Center showcasing the sorry state of the management of fish bearing streams in the Fraser Valley is on our web page; http://www.wildlifeheritageforever.com . If you take the time to watch the presentation you will agree Mike did an excellent job of making the case that riparian area management of fish bearing streams in the Fraser Valley is unacceptable.

His presentation included 3 pictures of the Lost Lake Marsh and 1 picture of a spring and a cow immediately adjacent on Nature Trust property that is now within the fencing enclosure just constructed.

In my world the dots all connect and when you have a contractor like Mike Pearson who is not afraid to make a call you have someone special. I found it interesting but not surprising when he mentioned Don Gayton’s name. Don Gayton’s “Review of the Gilpin Grasslands” March, 2003 is a central part of any intelligent discussion of the Gilpin Grassland Class A Provincial Park. His conclusions and recommendations in his report are a must read for anyone concerned about the province’s grassland ecosystem. Remember wildlife loses every fight with the cow.

The surface water management file that I bring to your attention does beg the question how is it possible in this time of our province’s history that British Columbians are forced to embrace such a pathetic standard of water management when the water resource is rapidly escalating in importance?

Vancouver Sun outdoor writer, Larry Pynn wrote an interesting article that appeared in the paper June 5th highly critical of the Seabird Island Band who in partnership with Jake’s Construction received senior government’s permission to extract about 100,000 cubic meters of gravel from a stretch of river that environmentalists and fish experts warned would destroy known spawning habitat of endangered white sturgeon.

The comments from a former provincial biologist carry a powerful message, “I don’t know of any time in my 35 year career as a fisheries biologist that a more absurd impact to the environment occurred than this project” said Marvin Rosenau, who now teaches in BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program.

“What was astonishing was that outside of a small group of individuals, nobody gave a rat’s ass”.

“I think we need to go back and examine the strategy in respect to how to influence decisions that are made in the 21st Century in BC. As scientists, outdoors people and advocates for a level of sustainability of the environment, common sense and good thought, and being polite, simply no longer cuts it”.

I recently had occasion to speak to retired agrologist, Werner Baliko. We have been extremely critical of each other but after a 10 minute discussion I reminded him that our values were similar and we shook hands.

At issue was the fact that Werner agreed with me that range management is an oxy moran, in other words a contradiction because there is no way you can control the invasive weed problem because you cannot control the erosion caused by the cow and riparian area management does not exist and never will in any meaningful way.

The province’s first range handbook titled Range Management Handbook for British Columbia in which Dr. Allistair McLean is the final signatory contains a few gems that illustrate the dramatic decline in range management ethics to-day.

On page 82 of Range Management the following quote describes a major problem especially in a drought when cows don’t move far from water; “Untended cattle settle in one area and graze there indefinitely. This continual use leads to abuse of forage and can lower cattle condition”. Two of the most egregious examples of water management on the Gilpin grasslands are in Morrissey Creek watershed; Nature Trust’s 301 acres and the eastern tributary adjacent to an overgrazed meadow, the site of a controlled burn a few years ago. I will send a few pictures that tell the story.

The suggested solution-“Good range riding will repay its cost.”

The following objectives set by government for water from the Range Planning and Practices Regulation have no connection to reality.

The objectives set by government for water are as follows:

  1. Maintain or improve water resources.
  2. Maintain or promote healthy riparian and upland areas.
  3. Maintain or promote riparian vegetation that provides sufficient shade to maintain stream temperature within the natural range or variability.
  4. Maintain or promote desired riparian plant communities.

The political reality that I have brought to your attention is that the former director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, David Borth was hired in 2005 to oversee the province’s range bureaucracy and as a consequence ranchers literally own the province’s grassland ecosystem- there is no mix and match, no give and take-they take it all.

Contrary to the attitude of politicians and ranchers to-day Dr. Alistair McLean and his 25 colleagues who together drafted the 1979 Range Management Hand Book made the case they had an ethical and moral compass when they offered the following advice on page 5 to resolve conflict with wildlife.

“Grazing by domestic stock and wild ungulates is not always compatible but conflicts can be reduced or eliminated by good range management. For example individual range areas that are critical for the survival of game are seldom large. Wildlife should therefore be given preference over most other users on such areas because grazing habitats of game animals cannot easily be changed”.

“The importance of wildlife in the province is difficult to assess since it must be measured not only in direct economic terms but also in the well being of the citizens through recreation and quiet enjoyment”.

Jim White, a former provincial agrologist who was one of the 25 knowledgeable sources of information that created the 1979 Range Management Hand Book and who also has a strong connection to former NDP Minister of Forests, David Zirnfelt; and the Grassland Conservation Council of BC wrote a paper titled; Cattle-Wildlife Interactions (no date)

His advice to resolve the deer/cow conflict is one of the major arguments why the management of the Class A Provincial Gilpin Grassland Park is not acceptable.

“If cattle are allowed to concentrate for any length of time in the fall in areas that are critical for deer winter use, the stage is set for severe conflict. They may browse off (excuse me, they do) significant amounts of Saskatoon, willow, current, snowbush, red osier, dogwood and rose—species important for deer winter use.

There is the problem, now what is the solution? The first and obvious one is simply not allow fall cattle use of deer winter range. This is done wherever possible.”

Remember the Socred Government August, 1972 paid $190,000 for the 1470 acre Boothman Ranch and the multi agency bureaucracy agreed October 20, 1972 that wildlife would be the major management objective on the Gilpin Grasslands!!!!!

The definition of government corruption I stand by says it all- The perversion or destruction of integrity during the discharge of public duties for profit or favor.

 

Barry Brandow Sr.

Grand Forks, BC

250-442-2849

NEWSLETTER May 29, 2015

The purpose of the newsletter is to give you information that showcases the collapse of integrity in the management of the province’s wildlife resource.

Two polar opposite meetings took place recently that demonstrates the pathetic leadership of two biologists compared to the good counsel and advice of two Forest Practices Board employees.

The whitetail deer cull results after the November civic election were approximately 900 votes for a cull versus approximately 600 against so as a consequence the May 19 Grand Forks City Deer Committee meeting was primarily about constructing a motion to be presented to the Grand Forks City Council requesting the resources to implement a suggested cull of 80 whitetail. My primary focus as a deer committee member who does not support a cull was to convince the deer committee to make a public statement that states the obvious- the whitetail deer population on their historic range thanks to the five year whitetail doe rifle season has resulted in a 90 plus percent population decline.

After and during the meeting I spoke to retired biologist, Brian Harris and current biologist, Craig McLean who have consistently been steadfast as is Director of Wildlife, Dan Petersen that because the whitetail deer field counts in the main Kettle River watershed have not declined therefore the whitetail doe rifle season has not negatively impacted the animal. Whatever the sum of the reasons this scientific assumption is completely false, a fact supported by substantial anecdotal information!

On May 22 I participated in a field trip that included two Interfor employees, Doug Noren and Randy Waterous and Forest Practices Board employees, Rob Thompson and Glen Pilling. Although my Forest Practices Board complaint is an ongoing story for a future newsletter the thoughtful questions, information and leadership provided by both Glen and Rob I have not witnessed from wildlife managers since the 1994-96 West Kootenay Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment. The subsequent report will describe my point.

A few years ago I called biologist, Brian Harris a liar because of his consistent statistical argument that in effect justifies the liberalized hunting seasons that are one of the major reasons the Boundary herd population has collapsed. I retract that statement. My recent conversation with both Brian and Craig McLean made it very clear that neither have the gravitas, depth or measure to make a call on wildlife management.

The red flags have been conveniently ignored: extremely small road kill compared to past decades even though there is much more traffic; wildlife sightings adjacent to roads and in fields are down dramatically; The Report and Declaration of Guide Outfitter that gives the vital information on a non-resident hunt will show a decline in harvest compared to past decades and the critical important anecdotal information from credible land owners and concerned citizens has been ignored.

Remember that the scientist is expected to have a curious mind and be a master of how, who, what, when and where in the field of his expertise. Needless to say without transparency and accountability the province’s wildlife resource has a grim future.

It is also important to remember failure is a larger fact of life than success. Statistics Canada regularly reminds us that 80% of small businesses-100 employees or less fail within their first five years.

The other side of the equation is equally as brutal! A university professor thirty- forty years on concluded after extensive research that people in hierarchical organizations like bureaucracies are eventually elevated one position beyond their level of competence. He called his theory the Peter Principle.

I further remind you that on page 14 of the current Hunting and Trapping Synopsis: It is an offence for we the people to make a false statement to an officer, conservation officer or constable.

The most telling information I have that challenges the economic and scientific madness that has destroyed the Boundary deer herd consists of two short easy to read 1987 reports by biologist, R.C.Lincoln and A.D.Peatt. You can find both reports on our web page: wildlife heritageforever.com

If you are an ardent hunter or a concerned citizen I recommend you read the reports. The one sound byte of many that challenges liberalized hunting of the province’s wildlife resource I used in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Vancouver Sun April 29th; “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.”

Another insightful quote conveniently ignored by current wildlife managers and the BC Wildlife Federation in Al Peatt’s report on page one- “Our agency still suffers public criticism caused by poorly per ceived antlerless kills in the 1950s and 1960s. This proposal is far from that situation and is deserving of your full support because it will benefit both deer and hunter.”

When Al and Bob were hired as biologists in the early eighties there was no doe deer hunting opportunity so as a consequence of mild winters and a low cougar cycle the deer herd population increased. Al Peatt’s rationale is well explained on page 1 of his report titled An Improved Deer Harvest Strategy for the main Okanagan Valley “The Strategy outlived here is conservative. It will not lead to over exploitation of the deer resource. A Limited Entry Whitetail Doe Season was implemented.”

If you read the reports you will notice that the biologists were worried that BC Wildlife Federation Clubs  in the Okanagan would not support the hunt. This point was made in Bob Lincoln’s Report on page 2 “A prime concern of these Federation members is that the deer resource not be over-exploited. They have lobbied hard for very conservative harvest of deer”. As a consequence of the implementation of the conservative antlerless Limited Entry Hunting Program , the BC Wildlife Federation clubs in the Okanagan quit participating in the Okanagan Boundary Wildlife Advisory Roundtable.  A generation on the BC Wildlife Federation is a shadow of its former self!

How is it possible that there is more hunting opportunity for whitetail and mule deer in Region 8 Okanagan/Boundary in 2015 compared to 1987 when the access and quad bike hunters have dramatically increased?

DEER SEASONS in the BOUNDARY-MANAGEMENT UNITS 8-12, 8-14, 8-15

  1. 1987-Rifle season any whitetail buck= 67 days

2015- Rifle season any whitetail buck= 82 days

 

1987-Rifle season whitetail doe= conservative number of Limited Entry Hunting Permits

2015- Rifle season whitetail doe= 21 days

 

1987- Archery only season buck only= 9 days

Any sex= 9 days

2015- Archery only season- buck only= 9 days

Either sex= 20 days

 

  1. 1987- Rifle season any mule deer buck= 52 days

2015- Rifle season any mule deer buck= 0 days

4 point bucks                      = 62 days

 

1987- Rifle season mule deer doe          == none

2015- Rifle season mule deer doe          = none

  • Limited Entry permits =15

1987- Archery only mule deer buck =9 days

Any sex          = 9 days

2015- Archery only season mule deer buck= 9 days

Although population estimates for ungulates prior to hunting seasons are not new the BC Ungulate Regional Population Estimates and Status- preseason 2014 Report which you can find on the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources web page once again are a farce for whitetail and mule deer populations in Region 8. Okanagan/Boundary

Mule Deer-        28,000 to 42,000

Whitetail Deer- 31,000 to 44,000

Both Populations are described as stable

These numbers are nothing less than sophisticated dribble and every hunter I have spoken to laughs at these numbers.

It is important to remember that in the early eighties at a wildlife hearing in Victoria, one of British Columbia’s prominent trial lawyers , Terry Robertson forced Region 2 biologist Bob Forbes to admit he was lying about black bear population estimates.

If you know squat about American politics than you would be familiar with a quote connected to former Republican President, Ronald Reagan- “Trust but verify”. Steven Fletcher the conservative quadriplegic MP from Winnipeg used this quote when describing the Canadian Senate Scandal.

Dana Base, the senior biologist for the NE corner of Washington State describes population estimates as part art part science. When I told him that after five years of three week whitetail doe rifle seasons you see very few whitetail deer on their historic range and yet the current population for Okanagan/Boundary is 31,000 to 44,000 his response was “It does appear something is wrong”.

The farce of the 2014 population estimates is that the 2011 preseason population estimates for mule and whitetail in Okanagan/Boundary are virtually the same. Mule deer- 28000-42000

Whitetail- 31000- 44000

So why has there been no attempt to verify these outrageous numbers when every credible deer hunter in Region 8 knows they are not true? I suspect former Director of Wildlife , Ian Hatter knew the whole process was a farce when he made the following comment on page 27 in a September 17, 2009 report titled Mule Deer and Whitetail deer Population Review for the Kootenay Region of BC. “The single factor controlled by the wildlife manager is hunting regulations and these are often changed for reasons other than data quality. 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”

A few months ago I had a conversation with two Washington State hunters, both who I know because they have hunted with hounds for 30-40 years.

Ron Warren is a First Nation hunter who lives on the large Colville Confederated Tribe Reserve south of Republic. I was surprised with his answer when I said everyone in my circle believes the mule deer and whitetail have declined 90% in the last 30 years. His response-same here! Then he said I guide hunters in the SE corner of the state and I do very well because I hunt on private property.

Richard Eich lives in Republic and he claims the mule deer are down 70% in his time and the whitetail are still okay. I then told him that although BC ungulate specialist Gerald Kuzak admits the mule deer population in BC is in serious decline but there has never been a public statement from wildlife managers or the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Steve Thomson or his senior staff every time a community complains about mule deer. Richard’s response-same here!

I reminded Richard that there was a major agriculture/rancher agenda demanding a dramatic reduction in deer and elk populations. Richard’s response-same here!

Rather than quote from the Western Producer, an agriculture/rancher publication I will send you the paper.

Remember that in2005 the BC Liberal Government hired David Borth, the Executive Director of the BC Cattlemen’s Association to oversee the province’s range   bureaucracy. I also remind you that Amanda Lang a well respected CBC TV reporter in an April 8, 2015 conversation with Ed Broadbent the former National Leader of the NDP said “To-day Canadians believe politicians are liars seeking election so they can help their friends!”

Agriculture/ranching complaints publically vetted come to nothing when complainants know their agriculture/ranching behavior will be thoroughly scrutinized.

If you take the time to scan “Is this the beginning or the end of the North American Wildlife Model?” you will find that it is an easy read that is all about power points. Here are some of the power points BC hunters can readily connect with:

  1. Whitetail and turkey are thriving on private lands east of the Mississippi.
  2. The western United States- public land states- herds are dramatically declining.
  3. Mule deer populations are down 50-70% throughout the west.
  4. Elk herds are down 50-70% in several Idaho, Montana and Wyoming wilderness areas.
  5. Moose hunts have closed in Jackson and Cody Wyoming.
  6. Some herds of Caribou and moose in Alaska are in dramatic decline.
  7. Stone sheep are down 50% in BC.
  8. Pheasants have disappeared from Idaho and Utah.

 

How do hunters respond?

 

-Utah: archery vs. rifle vs. muzzleloader

-Alaska: Native vs. Native residents vs. non-residents

-British Columbia: Guides & Outfitters vs. local hunters.

 

Who gets to shoot the last Animal!

 

Barry Brandow Sr. Grand Forks, BC     250-442-2849

 

NEWSLETTER February 18, 2015

The purpose of this newsletter is to give you facts that with few exceptions can be corroborated that illustrate why nothing less than a complete overhaul of the management of our wildlife and wildlife habitat resource  can reverse the dramatic decline in many wildlife populations and the steady compromise of critical wildlife habitat by other stakeholder interests.

I have been on the phone many times since that last newsletter obtaining more information that showcases the failure of wildlife and wildlife habitat management to reflect the values of most British Columbians.

I am sending you a copy of a letter in which I again asked Minister Steve Thomson’s staff to review their support for an aggressive motorized vehicle recreation agenda on the Gilpin Grasslands. Contrary to the BC Liberal Government’s approach to access management the Regional District East Kootenay Area; Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford has an exemplary access management agenda in co-ordination with the BC Conservation Service. I thank Conservation officer, Inspector Joe Caravetta for the information. This is the link: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/eco/accessmaps.htm

I have submitted a Forest Practices Board complaint protesting the largest clear cut I have ever witnessed. The clear cut is in the Dry Creek watershed which is immediately adjacent to Boundary Creek 19KM north of Hwy. #3 near Greenwood. Boundary Creek is an important tributary of the Kettle River as it has many feeder streams flowing into it. In due course I will send pictures.

Other than stating the obvious that the clear cut is a virtual dead zone for wildlife and an example of contempt for water management I also submitted the BC Trapper Association Position paper on Forest Practices plus a copy of an article in the Vancouver Sun dated Nov. 8, 2014 titled “Hunters, guides, trappers call for more oversight of resource sector”. The salient point in the article says it all “The BC. Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters of B.C. and BC Trappers believe the government’s move in the past decade to rely on professionals hired by industry to make decisions on the land base with little oversight has failed”. Large clearcuts are destroying the integrity of registered trap lines province wide.

Last June Vancouver Sun outdoor writer, Larry Pynn wrote four articles describing the sorry state of fish bearing streams in the Fraser Valley. In two of the articles biologist Mike Pearson was blunt in describing the farming practices that were the major problem. Mike has agreed to come to Grand Forks before “green up” end of March/early April.

The plan is to film Mike critiquing the management of Lost Lake Lagoon; a small marsh immediately adjacent to Nature Trust property on the Gilpin grasslands; Gilpin Creek and Eholt Creek. Remember Eholt is a fish bearing stream immediately adjacent to Highway #3 and is the benchmark for stream management in our province. You can find my comments on the management of Eholt Creek on www.wildlifeheritageforever.com and Al Grant’s comment on www.boundaryalliance.org .

I am still trying to get an opinion from both Federal Fisheries and Environment Canada on who has the statutory authority to rule on the four rows of manure adjacent to the Kettle River on Kevin LaFond’s farm. The issue that will decide whether this is a provincial or federal decision is the Kettle River’s status as a source of water significant to salmon in the Columbia River.

The management of the Kettle River in the future may well be influenced by the Washington State First Nation’s salmon enhancement agenda that will result in salmon successfully traversing the Grand Coolee Dam. In a recent conversation with Dan Base, the senior biologist for the NE corner of Washington State he is convinced it’s going to happen.

The allocation process that has resulted in outfitters getting back some of the hunting opportunity permits they lost in negotiations with the BC Wildlife Federation in past years has resulted in a lot of media attention and a lot of bad feelings between resident hunters and outfitters. GOABC and BCWF have always had an adversarial relationship in allocation of hunting permits but to get into a media fight when the BC Liberal Government hunting opportunity agenda in concert with all the problems wildlife species face every year to survive that  has resulted in the collapse of many wildlife populations is absolute madness. This newsletter is all about making the case that our wildlife resource is more important than hunting and therefore hunting seasons and access management should reflect responsible management which is certainly not the case.

In an attempt to generate more light than heat I have asked my son as I am asking you to help compile an accurate list of the hunting opportunity demanded and received by the stakeholder groups that meet with ungulate specialist, Gerald Kuzyk twice a year: BC Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters of BC  and the BC Trappers Association. The non-consumptive users of our wildlife resource then can decide who is credible in the fight to demand responsible wildlife management!

Remember the immediate objective is to strengthen the argument for a wildlife advisory roundtable of all stakeholders, one for each of the eight wildlife regions in our province. A roundtable would not have statutory authority but it has to have enough political influence to challenge the exceptionally long hunting seasons, lack of a meaningful access management agenda and the unacceptable percent of money generated from hunting committed to general revenue that has resulted in inadequate funding for an effective conservation service and staffing and programs critical to wildlife management.

Needless to say wildlife habitat is losing virtually every fight with forestry companies and the agriculture sector.

I will send you a newsletter in the immediate future sharing my thoughts on wildlife management as a result of conversations with provincial ungulate specialist, Gerald Kuzyk, Washington State biologist, Dana Base, West Coast Environmental Law employee, Andrew Gage, NDP MLA Katrine Conroy, BC Liberal MLA Gordie Hogg and Environmentalists Vicky Husband and Gwen Barlee.

Barry Brandow

Grand Forks, BC

250-442-2849