Category Archives: Commentary

Riparian Area Management

The problem continues both in the bush and in the halls of decision making power.
And again we have collected testimonials of hunters and others related to this. Check them out in the ‘testimonials 2015‘ page.

But this year we also invited a Biologist, Mike Pearson, to come and take a look at some of the places nearby which are of concern. Mike specializes in Aquatic and Riparian habitats.

Barry Brandow Sr. also has some words on that topic




Wildlife Heritage Forever November 28, 2013

The province of B.C.’s wildlife resource is in serious trouble. Many wildlife populations have declined dramatically because the resource cannot compete with long hunting seasons, especially hunting seasons on female ungulates, monstrous road access that gets larger every year, 4X4 trucks and the new problem: the quad bike hunter.

In the background are the never ending survival problems for many wildlife species; hard winters, predators, vehicle wildlife collisions and land alienation.

The Boundary deer herd, the largest in our province for decades, is in a death spiral. Sound bites from credible hunters and concerned citizens make the point that if there is not immediate cancellation of the three week whitetail doe season and a dramatic reduction of hunting pressure on young males the whitetail, like their mule deer cousin, will be a rare sight on its historic range indefinitely!

The critical mass of the mule deer in the Boundary has been lost and a credible mule deer recovery plan will endorse a dramatic reduction in hunting opportunity. After all: the only immediate help we can give wildlife populations in steep population decline is a significant reduction in hunting pressure and thus a significant decline in the harvest.

The government rationale for destroying the whitetail deer population “The provincially white-tailed deer season was implemented based on sound wildlife management principles and experiences throughout North America” is a complete failure in the Boundary.

Furthermore, because both the whitetail and mule deer populations have collapsed there is no conflict between them during the critical time in winter that determines if they live or die Feb/March.

If the BC Liberal Government is determined to maximize revenue from the province’s wildlife resource then they should immediately abandon maximizing hunting opportunity that has resulted in many wildlife populations in steep decline and embrace the only sensible, prudent, responsible sustainable management agenda-manage wildlife not hunters!
– Barry Brandow Sr.

Those words are Barry’s but I, Les Johnson, tend to agree.
I’ve heard these ideas and complaints from others which you can listen to on the testimonials posts.

Growing up in the city I had little to do with wildlife. While others in my extended family hunted and lived in rural locales I never took up hunting myself. Now I’m living in a small rural town in the interior of British Columbia I run into the ironic situation that those who are clamoring for things to change to help the animals on the wilderness turn out to be the hunters and guides. It makes sense though:

  • These are the people who actually go out to where the animals are, year after year. They would be the ones to have experienced the decline in numbers, and change in habitat, personally.
  • The health and welfare of the animals, and their herds, directly impacts on the activities of these people. In the case of guide / outfitters it also impacts on their livelihoods.

I may not hunt or spend much time in the bush but every week I travel the highways in the area from Nelson to Kelowna. Day time and evenings. And while I might sometimes see deer on the way home, the only sure place I see deer every time is right in town when I return home. The only danger they face in town is the vehicles they run into. (ok, sometimes the vehicle runs into them.)

2012 – What Has Changed?

Two years have passed since this site was created and the meetings and testimonials took place.
What has changed?

At at February 2012 meeting in Grand Forks a number of people voiced their displeasure, opinions and observations.
Below you can watch and listen … and hopefully learn something.

Contrast what you find here with how it is dealt with just south of us in Washington state in the text below on this page.

How different are Washington state and British Columbia? What’s different?
Below is an email from Jay Shepherd regarding this:

Hi Mr. and Mrs. Brandow,
I jointly interviewed Woody Meyers (Wa. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife mule/white-tailed deer and elk researcher with approx. 30 years of experience in the western and eastern Okanogan among other places) and Dana Base (Steve Zender’s replacement in Colville, 14 years in the area now as he worked for Steve for 12 years). Steve Zender was out of the area. The answers below are a summary of their combined answers while sitting together.

Mule Deer

1. Why does Washington State game units; 101, 105 and 108 have a 9 day mule deer buck rifle season with a 3 point minimum?

We have low current numbers compared to historic numbers as you know. This may be due to some harsh winters, drought conditions for several years, and other habitat problems associated with fire suppression, weeds, cattle etc…We also have a very crowded west side of the state and so we have a large population of hunters. The relatively conservative harvest approach limits vulnerability and may increase deer numbers. Many want a full cessation to antlerless harvest which may occur in 101 during archery.

2. Why have Washington State biologists not accepted the BC argument that healthy sex ratios of 20 bucks per 100 does is an acceptable wildlife management strategy that justifies long rifle seasons on small wildlife populations?

Actually, and unfortunately we have a recommendation of “ greater than 15 bucks per 100 does” in our Game Management Plan. We are just not there yet in our thinking either and Woody suggested studies are showing even 20 is low given the that mule deer bucks do not breed like white-tail bucks, and are more sedentary and pursue does less, and therefore more bucks may be needed in a mule deer population.

Mule deer in the Grand Forks area once numbered in the thousands have declined to a few hundred and yet management Unit 8-15 (Grand Forks area) has a 52 day rifle season on the buck.

Whitetail Deer

3. Why does Washington State Game Units 101, 105 and 108 have a 14-15 day rifle season on the whitetail buck?

Basically the same answer as Question #1. We have low current numbers compared to recent numbers before the 2007 and 2008 numbers. The current numbers are due to harsh winters and other habitat problems associated with less agriculture, particularly the reduction of alfalfa and hay. We again have a very crowded west side of the state and so we have a large population of hunters.

4. Would Washington State Game Managers consider a 3 week whitetail doe season state wide? Please explain why yes or no.

No, the politics would stop consideration of that idea. We would not do this because our hunters want higher densities and we need to regrow out population after the hard winters a few years back. We just cut back on antlerless hunts in some units and now have a 4–point minimum in our 2 best white-tail units.

5. In the Grand Forks area the whitetail buck rifle season is 82 days long. What impact would an 82 day rifle season have on the whitetail buck in Units 101, 105 and 108?

It would reduce escapement of bucks and would not support good hunting in those units and be sustainable in the long term.

BC is encouraging people to hunt and one of the tactics is to allow hunting opportunity on a significant number of animals at the same time contrary to past wildlife management practices of first and foremost considering the impact on the animals.

6. What is the [position of Washington State Game Managers on the smorgasbord approach to game management? Do you encourage hunting regardless of the impact on specific animals?

We have some multi-species seasons to be honest. We do not encourage hunting to the extent the long-term effects on a species can not be sustained.

7. In BC you can hunt with rifle, bow and cross bow.
Why do hunters in Washington State have to declare and subscribe to only one method of hunting?

Our hunters demanded less crowding, mainly lower hunters numbers. We are also attempting to reduce direct pressure indirectly by choose your weapon and encourage escapement of more animals for all of the above mentioned reasons.

Links and Comments – 2010

The BC Government’s
Ministry of the Environment
Hunting and Fishing Regulations

Vancouver Sun article
on this issue
with quotes from Barry Brandow Sr.

Vancouver Sun article:
Plan to declare open season on white-tailed deer draws fire

The comments given in response to that article show the depth of feeling on this:

  1. Well, there you go. The mentality of the average “resident hunter”has come to the forefront once again. Where is the BCWF’s “conservative…save for the future” mentality? If you have no knowledge of the outfitter business or guiding in “general” keep your uninformed thoughts to yourself. Guide outfitters have quotas on few animals but realize that a GOS only opens the door for everyone…resident as well as outfitter. This outfitter is stating there is not enough deer and is declining the “open” possibility
    of more income to leave a future generation a chance to have the same choices we have. For you who “know” Grand Forks think again. You obviously don’t know as much as you want everyone to think. Or you would be stating some intelligent facts…not fiction. Fact…a little more than 2% of B.C. Residents are hunters. Fact…more than 86% of B.C. Residents value wildlife. Think about it.
  2. Our Rod and Gun Club has been fighting this season since it was proposed and recommending that it be only in Regions and Zones that have high populations of Whitetails. Read back in history, every time we have a GOS antlerless season it ends up in LEH on the entire species a few years later. Take moose in Region 4, the year after the GOS any moose all moose went on LEH and except for immature bulls they are still on LEH 20 years later. The same happened in Region 3 only ten years earlier. Region 3 moose are still LEH
  3. There is no reason why we cannot have a GOS season on whitetail deer in any portion of the province where populations are at maximum. This is why the Regions and Zones within the Regions were set up as they are. Now this system is being disposed of and game management is by province, this is not acceptable as we have too much diversity within B.C. This GOS whitetail season should be only where the populations are near maximum sustainable populations. I am a hunter and I will not support an over the province GOS but will support it in high population Regions.
  4. The B.C. Ministry of Environment is full of career, bloated,overstaffed bureaucrats who are just pencil pushers who wouldn’t know a mule deer from a chicken. A good place for the government to start cleaning house starting at the top senior managers.
  5. Our gov. has no knowledge of how to manage and protect our wildlife. From seals to deer, to domestic animals, the govt is clueless. It is a tragedy and a SHAME.
  6. Can the gov’t please add cows to the “open season” list?
  7. That’s the problem with bureaucracy
    It’s run by a bunch of bean counters that would probably get lost two blocks from a bus stop.
    Like the man says, get out and see for themselves.
  8. I am sickened once again by the actions of this Campbell gov’t. There is simply no respect for our environment or the beautiful creatures in it.
    It’s just killing and more killing. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???
  9. As always, non hunters make the hunting decisions. I lived in Grand Forks a while back and still visit there on occasion. There is no doubt that the white tails are in there in unacceptable numbers but to have an open season will do nothing to fix the urban deer population. If anything it may make it worse, with “refugees” making their way into town to get away from the hunters.
  10. The environment ministry has little to do with the environment. They are frequently out of touch with reality.
    The “open season” is just kill, kill, kill. They want to kill more deer.
    They clear cut eagle habitat-just check, Lannan Forest, Comox Valley
    They want to build a gas station on an estuary in Comox.
    The government does little for the homeless and they die also. Insufficient health care results in people dying.
    It’s a killing and dying event but Gordo sure wants dams on all rivers under the “temple” of green. Its just killing the rivers and fish.
    What will be left alive in this province.
    How much more will die before campbell & co. leave office?
  11. It is too bad our Government has absolutely NO CLUE, how to manage wildlife resources. They managed TO DEATH, THE EAST COAST FISHERIES,WEST COAST FISHERIES & GREAT LAKES FISHERIES. Meanwhile they tell us ‘IT’S THE SEALS, SEA LIONS & ORCA’S that have depleted the stocks. Or in the Great Lakes the Government says it’s the Cormorant Bird, because it eats 3 times it’s weight daily. They only weigh about 5 pounds, so them eating 3 times their weight is minuscule. It’s amazing that FACTORY SHIPS PULLING IN 1,000’S & 1,000’S OF POUNDS HAD NO NEGATIVE AFFECT.’ Stop the hunting now for a few years, nature takes care of itself if you let it. Even Deer & Bears are only going to be seen in books & stuffed in museums like Dinosaurs if THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T SMARTEN UP! RE:ECONOMICS…MANY MORE PEOPLE COME TO SEE THE WILDLIFE THAN COMES TO KILL IT, SO MORE MONEY IS MADE FROM HAVING LIVE ANIMALS.
  12. Another insane stupid decision made by people with no sense of reality. I used to donate to the B.C. Wildlife, but no longer have faith in their ability to make smart decisions.
    Mother nature knows best. Get ready for the predator invasion.

Letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun from Barry Brandow Sr.
Draconian hunting regulations