NEWSLETTER February, 2020

In view of the two e-mail messages you have received, one from Interfor Forester,
Doug Noren and veterinary assistant, Brock Ritchie the best way forward is to use the
facts as I know them to describe the Outfitter, First Nation hunter and resident hunter.
To start the discussion the following facts are a reminder, a measure of the contempt
for British Columbians who value wildlife but are not consumptive users and who have
been forced to bare witness to the most destructive,corrupt example of wildlife
management in the modern era on the North American Continent!
Implied but not stated in my argument are the numbers: approximately 100,000
hunters versus a B.C. population of 4.4 million. Every year hunters as a percent of the
population decline.
The wildlife resource of British Columbia is an important asset, a point made many
years ago: The Importance of Wildlife to Canadians, Highlights of the 1981 National
Percentage of Canadians Reporting Maintaining Abundant Wildlife to be very or
fairly important in 1981 by province of Residence- B.C. 88.4%.
There is also a 1991 document Managing Wildlife to 2001 I have quoted in the past.
The Preface says it all: Managing Wildlife to 2001 Confronts the issues jeopardizing
wildlife and proposes major management initiatives to ensure a sound and
sustainable resource.
An outfitter determines a price for an individual wildlife species, he does that in a
free market capitalist system of governance well entrenched in Canada. Canadians
have a long history of selling their natural resources at market price.
Two big exceptions are resident hunters who pay little of the market value for a tag to
hunt an individual animal and ranchers who pay a small percent of the market value for
What the outfitter does is very similar to the Chicago- Commodity Mercantile
Exchange; the options market- puts and calls. The outfitter has a Put option; the legal
authority to sell a Call option to a hunter for a percentage of a commodity at a set time
and price. Check out the scroll on CNBC and you will see the bid price for commodities.
A date in brackets is when the bidding ends.
The kicker: wildlife has lost virtually every important habitat fight since the white
colonists arrived. Why is the value of a wildlife species multiplied to represent a
wildlife population not a lever to help win a habitat fight?
Outfitters strategically support/fund conservation initiatives. They have a long
history of successfully advocating the use of fire to enhance wildlife habitat. They have
also been major players in controlling wolf populations.
On the other hand outfitters with few exceptions do not demand a reduction in
hunting opportunity when a wildlife species is in population decline nor do they call
out the behaviour of stakeholders degrading wildlife habitat.
There is a growing number of First Nation hunters who have purchased Guide-
Outfitting Areas.
The First Nation story starts with the indictment of the behaviour of white colonists
who stole much of the best land occupied and used by First Nations Tribes, punched a
hole in their culture by outlawing the Potlach and sent young boys and girls to
residential schools. Although there was value in educating young girls and boys to
embrace a culture totally foreign to them residential schools were cold and distant, polar
opposite to warm nurturing families who educate and provide an aura of security.
First Nations were also introduced to European curses that bedevilled society for
over 1000 years, alcohol and diseases such as small pox and tuberculosis!
First Nations have a constitutional right to hunt, trap and fish and their rights
supersede the interests of all other B.C. stakeholders. Nevertheless a quote by Raf De
Guevara, a First Nation hunter from West Bank, Kelowna and a Director of the
Wildlife Stewardship Council at a meeting in Victoria with Premier John Horgan offers
insight into his view of reconciliation: “Raf clearly articulated his perspective that the
work of the Wildlife Stewardship Council is what reconciliation looks like, with the
broader communities coming together in a collaborative, shared decision making
All indigenous people on the North American Continent have a principle, a shining
light totally foreign to all other cultures- Remember the Seventh Generation.
Years ago there was an interesting story in the Financial Post that described an
American Indian tribe in the Plymouth, Massachusetts area that thanks to federal
legislation in the 1970s allowed American Indian Tribal Leaders to construct and
operate/manage a casino on tribal land. As a consequence the Plymouth American Indian
Tribe was making plenty of money. The question was then asked, what are you going
to do with the money? Remember the Seventh Generation!
How do we put two divergent stories in intelligent perspective: Some First Nation
tribes are harvesting too many animals to sustain healthy wildlife populations and
resident hunting that is driven by hunting opportunity is one of the major reasons many
wildlife populations are in serious decline.
Dr, Peter Pearce, a renowned economist makes the point in Who Killed the Grand
Banks page 160 that the tragedy of the commons occurs when resources can be
exploited by anyone. In open access fisheries, no fisher has an incentive to leave any
fish behind to breed because he knows the next fisher that comes along will simply
take whatever fish he leaves and subsequently sell it. Its a race to the bottom with both
fish and fishers losing out.
A classic problem he explains and one that can only be resolved when fishermen set
and manage their own quotas. There is a provision though, no management regime
will work in a climate of mistrust and suspicion..
John Henderson, an hereditary First Nation Chief on Vancouver Island told his story
at an allocation meeting in Penticton of resident hunters, outfitters and provincial
government biologists April 27, 2019 how the Roosevelt elk population increased once
First Nation leaders controlled the harvest by reducing hunting opportunity. First
Nation hunters, resident hunters and outfitters were squaring up with the Curse of
the Commons and as a result all three stakeholders are now hunting a vibrant
healthy elk population!
There is also the implied but not stated question! British Columbians own the
province’s wildlife resource so who do they believe will be the best stewards in the
immediate future?
The resident hunter story is long and painful as it describes why public support for
hunting will decline in the future when it becomes well known that one of the major
reasons British Columbia’s wildlife populations have been compromised is ruthless,
irresponsible hunting seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry Hunting authorizations. I
will tell the resident hunting story to you soon!
The B.C. wildlife management bureaucracy is totally broken. The behaviour of
Region 8 provincial government biologist, Craig McLean is a marker that describes a
biologist not capable of reasoned thought but then again where is the leadership of
the Regional Wildlife Manager, the Director of Wildlife and hot shots like Chris
Hamilton and Tom Ethier? The only hope is a mandate letter from the Premier to the
Minister of Forests, Lands And Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
directing him to cut huntng opportunity like Washington State who have maximized
hunting opportunity but have not violated a public trust and compromised wildlife
I will send you Fred Marshall’s current critique of provincial government Craig
McLean’s argument who consistently makes the point that the poor quality of the
habitat/food source is why there is a low survival rate of deer fawns and yearlings and
therefore there is no need to reduce hunting opportunity. The problem is much bigger
than Craig McLean but he is the convenient patsy/scapegoat.
Christie Blatchford long time newspaper reporter who always cut to the chase in her
articles died from lung cancer at age 68. Christie’s articles were polar opposite to the
spineless new mantra of the dying print media-civil conversations.
The headline in an article in the National Post Nov. 20, 2019 describing Christie says
it all: Truth always no matter the consequence.
Barry Brandow Sr.

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