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
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
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-
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
THE RESIDENT HUNTER
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.
HUNTING OPPORTUNITY VERSUS WILDLIFE: AN INVALUABLE ASSET
I am sending you an email message from Fred Marshall, a forester and veteran hunter
from Kerr Creek east of Midway in which provincial government biologist, Craig
McLean makes his argument why there will be no changes to hunting regulations in
Region 8, Okanagan for the next two years.
Craig McLean would have intelligent British Columbians believe that because of the
poor quality of wildlife habitat there is a low survival rate of deer fawns and juveniles
and therefore there is no statistical argument that hunting which is predation has
no connection to why deer populations are in steep decline.
His argument goes immediately south when he gives a link to Washington State to
validate his argument. The maximum Washington State rifle season on the whitetail
buck in 2019 was 25 days. In B.C. in my area the whitetail buck season is 82 days,
which has resulted in very few bucks living longer than one and a half years.
Contrary to the three week whitetail doe rifle season in B.C. which has destroyed the
whitetail population Washington State has short open seasons on whitetail deer for
hunters 65 and over, disabled and youth General season.
The 4 point rifle season on the mule deer buck in the Boundary 8-14 and 8-15 is 62
days: Sept.10- Nov. 10. Pathetic when you consider the population is so low that there
is little hope there ever will be the critical mass for recovery. Pathetic also when you
consider the rut starts either side of Oct. 15 and the buck becomes less wary and the
meat unpalatable. The Washington State mule deer season is 3 point minimum Oct. 12-
Craig’s argument is mindless dribble. How is it possible for anyone capable of
reasoned thought and due diligence to make the case that the quality of wildlife habitat
is why yearlings and juvenile deer survival rate is low so therefore an 82 day rifle
season on the whitetail buck and a 22 day rifle season on the whitetail doe that has
destroyed the whitetail are not a problem.
If you have the knowledge and experience of a veteran hunter and/or non-consumptive
advocate who values wildlife and compare BC Hunting Regulations with
Washington State Hunting Regulations you will quickly discover Washington State has
maximized hunting opportunity but not violated public trust and compromised the
State’s wildlife populations. British Columbia has done the exact opposite which is
always the way when dead, hollow voices win the fight!
Craig McLean is a patsy and not the real problem but nevertheless to allow 2 more
years of hunting to further compromise wildlife populations at historic lows cannot go
How is it possible for a young naive provincial biologist to challenge the integrity of
Together For Wildlife and put a hole in Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and
Resource Operations message: “The issues facing wildlife and habitat in this province
are complex and can only be resolved through reconciliation with First Nations and
ongoing collaboration with industry, stakeholders and the public. Given declining
numbers in wildlife disappearing wildlife habitat and climate change impacts, British
Columbians must work together on shared priorities and the right tools and sufficient
funding to achieve better outcomes for wildlife”. Together For Wildlife Nov. 2019.
I will send you a newsletter in the near future in which I will explain why public
support for hunting will diminish and why slowly but surely First Nations will
become major players in wildlife management.
Please note: I did propose hunting regulation changes for whitetail and mule deer in
Region 8 Okanagan and in the process reminded our wildlife managers that when
General Open Seasons replaced LEH authorizations for turkey, moose, elk and whitetail
doe there respective populations are now in decline.
Barry Brandow Sr.
My second read of “Together For Wildlife”- The NDP Ministry of Forests, Lands and
Natural Resource Operation’s blueprint to rebuild the province’s wildlife populations and
an article in the castlegarnews.com Dec. 19, 2019 convinced me that hunting
opportunity,one of the major reasons many wildlife populations are in steep decline is
still a management objective!
The major flaw in Together For Wildlife is best explained by the opening paragraph in
John Maudlin’s economic newsletter, Thoughts From the Frontline Dec. 21, 2019:
Ignoring problems rarely solves them-not just the effects, but the underlying causes
or else they usually get worse. The older you get, the more you know that is true in
almost every area of life.
There are four major underlying causes why the province’s wildlife resource is in a
serious death spiral: liberalized hunting opportunity, road density, 3rd rate habitat
management and predators especially the wolf. Every credible B.C. hunter will tell you
that there is only one way that will guarantee to stop the decline of many wildlife
populations and that is a dramatic reduction in hunting seasons, bag limits and
Limited Entry Hunting authorizations. Certainly road density, 3rd rate habitat
management and the wolf are serious problems but resolution in favour of wildlife will
be a grind with limited guarantee of success!
Before showcasing what is obviously a tepid step approach to wildlife management
when decisive political action is needed “Province seeks feedback on proposed hunting
regulation changes” castlegarnews.com Dec. 19, 2019 a review of political leadership
since the 1996 NDP Glen Clark Government gives Minister Donaldson perfect cover to
immediately mandate a dramatic reduction in hunting opportunity.
As I have told you in past newsletters in my attempt to connect with former Director
of Wildlife, Jim Walker who obviously had a connection to the land my wife found a
letter in which Jim stated that in 1996 NDP Premier, Glen Clark wanted more money
from the wildlife file.
Jim Walker’s letter well after the fact, explained why senior provincial government
biologist, Fred Harper from Kamloops put on such a dismal performance at the old
Grand Forks Wildlife Hall Nov. 1997.
In response to the dramatic decline of the mule deer population in the Grand Forks
area Regional Wildlife Director, Steve Willett and Senior Biologist from Kamloops Fred
Harper attended a meeting of concerned hunters at the old Grand Forks Wildlife Hall.
All hunters at the meeting with one exception, a young hunter, were unanimous that
the mule deer were in trouble and cutting the season to exclude the rut when the buck is
more vulnerable and the meat not palatable was an important first step in an attempt to
stop the mule deer decline.
Fred Harper for all the wrong reasons got everyone’s attention at the start of the
meeting when he chided everyone at the meeting with his hollow comment that his
count of mule deer on the Ingram winter range adjacent to Highway #3 west of Midway
and a similar count near the turn off to Danville, Washington on Highway #3 west of
Grand Forks was an indicator of a healthy population.
The topper was Fred’s declaration that the only way forward to help the mule deer was
to extend the season two weeks to Nov. 14. The point of Fred’s story is that
politicians not wildlife managers made the call.
Former BC Liberal Cabinet Minister, George Abbott’s story that appeared in the Tyee
July 28, 2019 is a quick reminder why and when the B.C.Liberal Government’s resource
agenda went south on their first day in government: George Abbott looks back at the
BC New Era, and Doesn’t Like What He Sees.
“For former B.C. Cabinet Minister George Abbott, who graduates to-day with a PhD
in political science, the first years after the B.C.Liberal Party formed government were
easily the lowest in his long career.”
Abbott explains how the government’s decision on its first day in office to make a
dramatic 25 per cent cut to personal income rates dictated its path for years to follow.
The reduction created a massive hole in the budget that inevitably led to service cuts,
often with damaging results. “The constant demand to produce more with less brought
frequent invocation of Green’s Law: “Anything is possible if you don’t know what
you’re talking about.”
“Cautionary advice was dismissed and tax cuts quickly translated into a $4.4 Billion
deficit and deep expenditure reductions for ministries other than Health, Education and
Advanced Education. Since the three protected ministries made up 70 percent of the
province’s budget, deep cuts had to be made in the resource and social ministries that
make up the rest of provincial spending”.
Not withstanding the fact the former BC Liberal Government supported maximizing
hunting opportunity a short quote in a November 2019 idea/policy paper changes
direction: “We need to get serious about building up wildlife populations”. I have no
doubt that the Big Game Management Symposium in Cranbrook April 13, 2019
attended by at least 500 hunters/concerned citizens, six of whom were veteran BC
Liberal MLAs is the central reason motivating the BC Liberal Party “to rebuild
I have had two positve wildlife management conversations with BC Liberal Party
leader, Andrew Wilkinson. I asked him if he would publicly support a review of wildlife
management and cut hunting opportunity. He said he would support a review of wildlife
management but only cut hunting opportunity if the facts supported the argument!
As I have said many times, when Trust but Verify is a wildlife management nonstarter
it is hardly surprising that most preseason ungulate population estimates in three
year increments since 2000 have no connection to reality, one of the obvious reasons
hunting opportunity is a fraud!
The three week whitetail doe rifle season and exceptionally long hunting seasons on
the ruffled, franklin and blue grouse are examples of extrapolating science from
jurisdictions where the science was valid but totally irrelevant to the BC land base today!
Once again the preponderance of the anecdotal evidence by far outweighs the
legitimacy of the statistical dribble from the bureaucracy.
Aldo Leopold who founded the profession of game management summed up the
problem in his book; Game Management p. 212: At the present time, however, there is
probably no instance of game shortage, the reasons for which could not be found and
weighed by scientific investigation, and hardly a state which does not contain within its
own borders the man-power and funds requisite to a substantial diagnosis of mooted
The article in the castlegarnews.com Dec. 19, 2019-Province seeks feedback on
proposed hunting regulation changes is obviously a blue print on how our broken
wildlife/habitat bureaucracy is going to attempt to square up with British Columbians
who care about the province’s wildlife resource.
In view of the fact I have not taken the time to google proposed hunting seasons
changes in all eight wildlife management regions submitted by provincial government
biologists and hunting proposals from resident hunters thanks to a wretched cold/cough
most of December and early January I will continue the story in the immediate future.
I am sending you a letter written by veteran Greenwood hunter, John Hallstrom. The
letter in my strong opinion describes the collapse of integrity in wildlife management
in British Columbia!
John Crosbie, the former Conservative Member of Parlaiment and Minister of
Fisheries recently died at age 88.
John Crosbie was well known to Canadians who follow politics for his caustic wit and
intellect in full view when he spoke in the House of Commons.
Many Canadians remember his ongoing fight with Federal Liberal MP, Sheila Copps
and his quip- pass me the tequila, Sheila lie down and love me again.
John Crosbie will also be known for his quote as the Conservative Federal Minister of
Fisheries that forever more describes the Canadian ethic that drives resource
management: “We have opted for the upper end of the scientific advice always
striving to get the last pound of fish”. Who Killed the Grand Banks p. 29.
Once again I remind you that you own all the newsletters and pictures I send you. In
my world winners don’t take counsel from their fear!
Barry Brandow Sr.
LETTER FROM JOHN HALLSTROM December 6, 2019
Room 248 Parliament Buildings
Victoria BC V8V 1X4
Dear Minister Donaldson:
My name is John Hallstrom, I am 65 years old and have lived in Boundary Creek all my life. I retired from the forest service after 35 years and have been a avid hunter since childhood and spend countless hours in the forest every year.
I am writing this letter as I am deeply concerned at the drastic decrease in deer numbers in management unit 8-14 in the last 3 years. I did the deer count for the Kettle River Wildlife Assiociation in Boundary Creek for 13 years. My numbers ranged between 130 and 165 head mostly whitetails. Three years ago my count was 8 and since, I have refused to do the count as no meanful management stratagies where put in place to address this obvious decrease in numbers. To further illustrate this, in areas that I used to hunt in the past it was not uncommon to see 30 – 50 deer in a morning. Now you can spend 4 or 5 days and not see one deer. This situation is echoed by all hunters that I know or talk to in the field. Pockets of deer do exist on or near private land in some areas which get included in the deer counts which in my mind exaggerates the actual numbers of animals that end up on crown land.
As well, I live close to a very popular camping spot for hunters which I monitor almost daily. Since the start of the season I estimate approx. 100 hunters have camped and spent 3 – 5 days, lets say 400 hunter days. The total harvest was 0 elk, 0 moose, 0 mule deer, 2 small whitetail bucks and 10 whitetail does and fawns (mostly fawns). I had observed a whitetail doe that had triplets most of the summer near my property. All four got shot and where hanging from their heads from a pole at one of the camps. This sight was disgusting. If a non hunter took a video clip of this and send it to a news channel it would be a real black mark against all hunters. I have a friend that processes wildgame, he had a fawn brought in and was able to salvage a mere 9 lbs of meat. To have regulations that even allow for this to happen when the populations are so fragile is a disgrace.
Possible reasons for the drastic reduction in numbers vary depending on who you talk to. The following are a few of my ideas.
The regular seasons are far to lengthy and allow for the harvest of does and fawns. In addition we have special seasons and the impact of First Nations rights.
Traffic continues to increase resulting in more animal vehicle collisions.
Predators namely cougar and wolves but they should start declining with the deer numbers. I have heard that cougars and wolves taking domestic animals are on a sharp increase.
I believe that most hunters are willing to accept major regulation changes to help our populations stabilize and begin to reach an acceptable level. I am more than willing to clarify or discuss this letter with your staff, and would appreciate a response from you regardless.
Contact: Telephone 250 445 6181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Larson, MLA Boundary Similkameen
Kettle River Wildlife Assiociation
Grand Forks Wildlife Acciociation
Ten years ago I was of the opinion that testimonials from credible hunters would get
the attention of hunting clubs and the BC Wildlife Federation and strengthen the
argument for a dramatic reduction in hunting opportunity, one of the major reasons
many wildlife populations are in serious population decline!
Unfortunately the new age hunter has little connection to the land and wildlife, unlike
many hunters a generation ago. One of the major reasons is road density that is so
pervasive on the land base that the long standing road density threshold in which
wildlife does not feel threatened and move is virtually non-existent. .6 KM per square
KM/ 1 mile road per square mile. You do not connect to the land and wildlife by riding a
quad bike or 4X4 truck all day as you do walking trails, ridges and spotting and stalking
One of the markers that guaranteed the future of the province’s wildlife resource had
a grim future, is the ongoing whitetail deer hunting agenda led by the BC Wildlife
Federation demanding more hunting opportunity and in the process ignoring Trust but
Verify. Wildlife biologists have tremendous pressure from other stakeholders especially
the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and the agriculture sector so Reagan and Gorbachev’s
rallying cry to justify a mutual reduction in nuclear warhead missiles should be a
prominent tactic in determining hunting opportunity!
The largest whitetail population in B.C. in the mid-nineties was in Region 8 Okanagan
sub units 8-14 (Rock Creek) 8-15 (Grand Forks). The whitetail buck success was high
which attracted a growing number of hunters facilitated by a dramatic increase in roads.
High wildlife populations are always on the cusp of a dramatic decline which was the
case of the Boundary deer herd both whitetail and mule deer after 1996-97, the mother
of all winters. Yet the rifle hunting season on the whitetail buck was increased from 95
days to 101 days and the rifle and bow bag limit stayed at two!
1998-1999 B.C. Hunting and Trapping Regulations
- Buck rifle season- 77 days- Bag limit 2
- Archery buck only- 9 days- Bag limit 2
- Archery either sex- 15 days
Plus 150 limited entry hunt authorizations for whitetail doe
Notwithstanding the Boundary whitetail deer population 8-12, 8-14, 8-15 was a
shadow of the mid-nineties, April 2010 it was announced that the Limited Entry
Hunt on the whitetail doe would be replaced with an October 3 week rifle season and
the hunting opportunity on the whitetail buck was increased.
Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2018-2020 for whitetail deer in the Boundary Sub-
Units 8-12, 8-14 and 8-15 is a prime example of BC wildlife management of
maximizing hunting opportunity regardless of the consequences on the future of
Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2018-2020
Boundary 8-14, 8-15, 8-12
- Rifle buck season Sept. 10-Nov. 30= 81 days
- Rifle anterless season Oct. 10-Oct. 31= 21 days
- Youth rifle buck season Sept. 1-Sept. 9 =9 days
- Youth rifle either sex Nov. 1-Nov. 30= 30 days
- Bow only buck – Sept. 1- Sept. 9= 9 days
- Bow only either sex- Dec. 1- Dec. 20= 20 days
In response to this outrageous example of B.C. wildlife management that increased
hunting opportunity, I arranged a meeting April 2010 in which eight hunters travelled to
Langley to meet and seek support from well known B.C. Environmentalists , Vickie
Husband and Joe Foy. Both Joe and Vicki are well known in NDP Premier John
Horgan’s inner circle.
Henry Stephens a long time friend and hunter was good enough to accommodate the
meeting at his place north of Fort Langley.
There are certainly differences between environmentalists and hunters but then again
wildlife has lost virtually every important habitat fight. To seek support from nonconsumptive
users of the wildlife resource and not make the case you value wildlife
by challenging outrageous hunting seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry Hunting
Allocations would be a fool’s game!
The eight hunters that made the journey to Langley had a strong connection to the
land and wildlife but as is the way of life, Jim Zibin of Grand Forks and Gerry Brown
of Castlegar are gone. Their extensive hunting experience will be foreign forever to the
new age hunter: both hunted with hounds and like responsible hunters most bears and
cougar treed were not harvested; Jim hunted the mule deer and elk with horses on the
alpine tundra and ridges and open slopes later in the season; Gerry was a walker and
likewise hunted the mule deer, elk and whitetail deer on the ridges and open slopes.
Federal Conservative candidate, Helena Konanz held a gun legislative meeting at the
Grand Forks Curling Rink May 2019 and one of the guest speakers was Mel Arnold, a
Conservative Member of Parliament for North Okanagan.
Mel Arnold? I know that name and sure enough there it was; Vancouver Sun May
2010- Plan to declare open season on white-tailed deer draws fire, Ministry’s population
estimates are inflated guide-outfitter says.
“A plan by the B.C. Environment Ministry to declare open season on white-tailed deer
has alarmed guide-outfitters in the Boundary Region.”
“The BC Wildlife Federation supports the plan” said President Mel Arnold.
Once again whitetail population estimates are a farce: British Columbia Ungulate
Species Regional Population Estimates and Status in three year increments since 2000-
2017 do not change for Okanagan Region 8 which includes the Boundary: 31,000to
44,000. To-day the whitetail population in Region 8 is probably in the order of 5000.
My quote in the Vancouver Sun article is then and to-day supported by every credible
deer hunter I know: “Brandow believes a general open season on whitetail is not
sustainable and that irreparable harm could occur”. I have travelled approximately
2500 KM of gravel roads north of Greenwood and in the Grand Forks area and have
seen three whitetail on Crown Land.
“Jesse Zeman, Co Chair for wildlife allocations at the BC Wildlife Federation said
he believes the ministry’s numbers (81,000 to 128,500) and pointed out that in the
town of Grand Forks the white-tailed deer are so numerous they have become a
“But Brandow said its misleading to count urban deer which can’t be hunted”.
To-day the Boundary whitetail deer population in 8-12, 8-14 and 8-15 on their
historic range are virtually gone as is the case province wide. Most whitetail deer in
British Columbia to-day live or adjacent to private property. Our 22 acres is a classic
example. I recently counted 14 doe, fawn, young bucks in the bottom pasture.
Barry Brandow Sr.
I am sending you short stories from a small number of hunters and a few days later
will send you my current sorry story that describes the dramatic collapse of the whitetail
deer population in the Boundary Region 8 Okanagan sub units 8-12, 8-14 and 8-15.
In the whitetail deer story I am sending you I included a quote that appeared in the
Vancouver Sun May 2010 “ Brandow believes a general open season on whitetail is not
sustainable and irreparable harm could occur.”
Could appear is now reality!
The stories from hunters I have spoken to and stories from hunters and outfitters my
son has talked to describe a British Columbia wildlife resource in an unprecedented
death spiral in the modern era of wildlife management on the North American
The survival of resident hunting and outfitting in B.C. demands nothing less than a
mea culpa declaration from the B.C. Wildlife Federation and B.C. Guide Outfitters: cut,
cut and cut hunting seasons, bag limits and limited entry authorizations.
The agenda of the current Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team
( PHTATH has absolutely no connection to the crisis facing the province’s wildlife
resource. But then again, who is responsible for preseason ungulate population
estimates in three year increments since 2000? Those numbers describe a wildlife
bureaucracy devoid of political leadership.
Granby Guides & Outfitters is a significant player in the recent 269.9 acre purchase
contiguous with Nature Trust’s 301 acres in the Morrissey watershed on the Gilpin
Grassland Ungulate Winter Range. The purchase was a team effort but I will share with
you the sales pitch from the vendor and why Bear and I agreed we had to be players
spear heading the purchase if we value the integrity of the Gilpin Grasslands.
Barry Brandow Sr.
Hunting Stories Nov. , 2019
I am sending you only 5 stories from credible veteran hunters because the message
does not change when talking to veteran hunters.
The overarching issue is hunting opportunity. A dramatic reduction in hunting
seasons, bag limits and Limited Entry Authorizations is the first step to stop the steep
decline of many wildlife populations, a point made by the following list of hunters
Mike Sarton- journeyman electrician
Stan Swinarchuk and Wayne Tiblis- retired loggers
Mike Hoogie- lives near 17 mile bridge, the heart of deer country in the North Fork
Highway # 3 fencing crew: Marty Thomas, Wayne Rieberger, Bear Brandow and Barb
Nicolson and Ollie Alendal
Hunters from Trail
Bobby Todd’s cabin partners adjacent to Pass Creek
Lino Moro’s cabin partners south of the 17 mile bridge.
Hunting Stories March/April 2019
Carmen Purdy- Cranbrook
Mule deer decline since mid-nineties 75%
Whitetail population decline 75%
Moose- toast, small population pockets
Elk- upper Elk Valley virtually no harvest from outfitters
– Elk population to-day 6000 max
Carmen was a former BC Wildlife Federation President in the mid-eighties and agrees
the BCWF is a shadow of the 80s- and believes their message to-day is going in the
Clarence Schneider- Keremeos, former outfitter
– mule deer down at least 70%
– California Bighorn Sheep population from approximately 600 to 150- disease the
– Elk doing okay close to 600-800
– moose population steady but the wolves are now part of the landscape.
Guy Owen-veteran hunter in Midway
– Mule deer- quit hunting 10 years ago because of small population
– Whitetail Guy hunts the whitetail deer in the Kerr Creek watershed and adjacent
to the US/Canada border and says the whitetail population has declined since the
2018 hunting season. He also made the point that bucks harvested south of the
border are larger because of a much shorter hunting season which allows bucks to
– Elk population growing in Kerr creek
Norm Blaney- former outfitter – trap line in Christian Valley, north of Rock Creek
– mule deer- 80% decline
– whitetail deer – 80 % decline
– Elk- down 60%
Like many veteran hunters Norm believes the province’s wildlife resource has a grim
future because of predation and the sorry state of habitat management.
Al Grant- West Johnson Creek west of Rock Creek.
– mule deer down 90%
– whitetail down 90%
Al literally lives on top of the mountain, a rural location 3km north of Highway #3
adjacent to West Johnson Creek Road and west of Rock Creek.
Barry Brandow Sr.
British Columbia’s wildlife resource has been ruthlessly exploited, a point made
by the stories I am sending you. A recent conversation with veteran hunter, Lino Morro
from Trail made a point familiar with credible hunters; It is not uncommon to travel
gravel roads and not see a deer track.
Lino, like everyone in my circle, agrees the population of grouse, whitetail and mule
deer have collapsed and there is no evidence populations will increase in the next ten
The issue at the tip of the triangle is population estimates that have been crude
guesses for a generation exacerbated, made worse by liberalized hunting seasons, bag
limits and Limited Entry Authorizations.
The big question that can only be answered by successful Freedom of Information
Requests is the pressure/influence of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and
Agriculture/ranching interests demanding liberalized hunting opportunity in order to
reduce costs and increase revenue.
The following quote sums up my success in connecting with ICBC: “I want to
confirm that our department is in receipt of your access requests (dated June 30 2018
and August 14, 2019) we have been processing your request and will advise once
completed. Thank you”.
The next step is a B.C. Government Freedom of Information Request: Would you
please send information from ICBC requesting help in reducing wildlife/vehicle
Norm Blaney, a former RCMP officer , currently a resident hunter and trapper living
in Kelowna summed up the problem: A court order is probably the only way ICBC will
surrender the information.
Notwithstanding the fact the speed limit on Highway #3 is 100KM most vehicles
travel 120KM plus on the stretch of Highway #3 I often travel between Grand Forks and
Years ago it was common for the RCMP to use radar to remind motorists speed kills
so don’t exceed the speed limit. To-day rights supersede responsibility.
If you accept that the easiest way to describe the political game is the big military
axiom “concentration of effort and force on the point” then you agree that the future of
the province’s wildlife resource and hunting mandates a coalition of as many
stakeholders as possible with as many members as possible with a message that
demands respect for wildlife. On the point is selling the message to British Columbians!
Quite frankly the hunting fraternity which includes resident hunters, outfitters and
First Nation hunters does not have the label, brand cachet to readily get the attention of
most stakeholders and politicians, a point well made by the politics that resulted in two
successful California Bighorn Sheep transplants in Grand Forks 1984 and 1985.
Notwithstanding the fact that initially 15 of 17 ranchers endorsed the 1984 Pass Creek
California bighorn sheep transplant. The process ground to a halt when the ranchers
changed their mind. Jim Zibin and I asked the ranchers to support the project and we
would work together to enhance grass and browse for wildlife and cows.
Jackie Pleasants, editor of the Grand Forks Gazette saved the project with her timely
phone conversation with the Director of Wildlife when she made the point that the town
supported the project.
The B.C.Wildlife Federation Okanagan Region supported the transplant and were
involved with their capture once the bighorns were secured in the circular corral.
Nevertheless Jackie Pleasant’s message to the Director of Wildlife made it very clear a
successful bighorn sheep transplant on the Gilpin Grasslands mandated the project be
sponsored by a credible business organization, a perfect fit for the Grand Forks
Chamber of Commerce.
The 1985 Gilpin Grassland bighorn sheep transplant was successful because of the
sponsorship of the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce and Socred MLA/Minister, Jim
Hewitt’s relationship with the Chamber. For good measure the project received support
from the B.C.Chamber of Commerce; Hotels, Motels and Trailer Park Association;
Grand Forks City Council and Area D, (Grand Forks Regional District) and Area C
(Christina Lake) of the Kootenay -Boundary Regional District.
The performance of provincial biologists Al Peatt and Bob Lincoln was critical to the
success of the project. Both had the patience of Job in dealing with the endless
nitpicking politics of the ranchers and range staff. Regional Managers, Ian Robertson
(Pass Creek) and Zeke Withler (Gilpin) stood their ground in support of the two
transplants knowing full well the ranchers would bitch and complain to the provincial
The big lesson from two bighorn sheep transplants; hunters and outfitters do not
have the brand/label to easily get endorsement from politicians and stakeholders.to
challenge the many issues that in total have the province’s wildlife resource in a death
spiral which underscores the importance of a coalition of as many stakeholders as
possible with a message that demands respect for wildlife. Nevertheless how can the
BC Wildlife Federation and the Guide Outfitters of B.C. be credible voices if they
remain silent on the corrupt hunting opportunity agenda supported by wildlife
population estimates that have no connection to reality?
The future of hunting in BC may well hinge on a mea culpa message from hunters
starting with the BC Wildlife Federation apologizing for successfully promoting their
hunting opportunity agenda and at the same time intelligent enough to understand that
when you are not credible don’t point the finger at the wolf and cougar.
It is true predators, road density and marginalized wildlife habitat are major problems
but when you are not credible a coalition of as many stakeholders as possible has
I have another ugly story of range management on the Gilpin Grassland ungulate
winter range I will send you supported by the grazing Schedule and pictures. A 15 day
grazing schedule for the Dead Horse Pasture on the Overton Creek watershed
immediately north of Grand Forks City in 2019 resulted with cows on the pasture 160
Barry Brandow Sr.
As expected, the letter I am sending you was ignored by the media.
A gutless performance by the Vancouver Sun and the Grand Forks Gazette but hardly
The sermon from the mount for another day is thanks to a message from John
Mechan’s recent book, The Soul of America, the Battle For Our Better Angels” (page
“Evan with their manifold failings, journalists who seek to report and to illuminate
rather than to opine and to divide are crital to democracy”. T.R. (Teddy Roosevelt)
“Publicity is the very soul of justice” the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham wrote “It
is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against impropriety without
publicity, all other checks are fruitless: in comparison with publicity, all other
checks are of small account”.
The Vancouver Sun editorial board is a shadow of their past history when they
were one of the media companies diligently reporting the Clayquot protests in the 80s
and 90s. Buzz words from the Wikipedia Clayquot protests:
“The logging protests and blockades received worldwide mass media attention.”
“Media attention began to focus on the perceived unfairness of the mass arrests.”
The Boundary Forest has been ruthlessly exploited and as a consequence the
annual allowable cut of the Boundary Timber Supply Area (TSA) will be dramatically
reduced in the near future. Consequently jobs will be lost and there will be substantially
less money circulating in the Grand Forks area!
The mismanagement of the B.C. Forest has been a problem for many years, a point
made by the Forest Practices Board in an article in the Vancouver Sun Dec. 26, 2015,
B.C. Forestry Watchdog Finds timber companies have too much power.
“The B.C. Government has given away so much power to timber companies that
district forest managers no longer have the authority to stop suspect harvesting
practices in the public good, a Forest Practices Board Report reveals.”
“The independent provincial watchdog says that in recent years it has seen situations
arise where forestry development was putting local environmental and community
values at risk, yet district managers could do little to affect the development and protect
the public interest.”
The Professional Reliance Model of forest and range management has resulted in a
collapse of scientific driven management in the misguided belief that forest companies
and ranchers were credible voices that would not violate public trust in the
implementation of the dramatic changes to the Forest Range Protection Act mandated by
the B.C. Liberal Government!
The Boundary Timber Supply Area Rationale for Allowable Annual Cut (AAC)
Determination May 22, 2014 by Deputy Chief Forester, Dianne Nicholls is alarmingly
weak, on the one hand she is determined to legitimize the long standing 700,000 cubic
meter AAC but on the other hand describes the problems that showcase the why and
how the Boundary AAC will be dramatically reduced.
Reasons for Decision- There are a number of unqualified factors that introduce
significant uncertainty regarding the future timber supply of Boundary TSA:
increasing road density, avoidance of harvesting stands on steep slopes, increasing cut
block size, the use of simplistic harvest rules.
Overshadowing the Deputy Chief Forester’s message is the political reality of
Professional Reliance well described in Dr. Bruce Fraser’s Reforming the
Professional Reliance Model Dec. 14, 2017.
“ Professional Reliance occurred for two primary reasons, to decrease the size and
expense of government and to respond to industrial calls for decreasing the burdens of
regulation. It was determined that oversight from the professional bodies would be
sufficient to keep the system honest. What has occurred, however is that the
Professional Reliance System has turned out to be weak in practice, an outcome of
no surprise given the inherent potential for conflicts also of interest among industry
employed professionals, the inability of the professional organizations to police their
members adequately and the overarching policy environment created by a sitting
The centre of my logging practices complaint is the FRPA politics that has resulted in
licensees given the right to make logging site plans exceeding 40 hectares contrary to
past history of the Forest Practices Code when the district manager could allow larger
cut blocks but it was a government decision and the licensee had to come up with a
rationale to convince the district manager.
The deputy Chief Forester is blunt in her assessment of the 40 hectare logging block
in the Boundary: “District staff note that although the base case maximum cut block
size target was set at 40 hectares in the base case it is common to see larger openings
based on patch size analysis prepared by the licensees and there is a trend towards larger
patch size. However I am concerned that if the trend towards increasing cut block size
persists it may reduce mid-term timber supply.”
Five years on there are virtually no 40 hectare logging blocks. A casualty of Section 4
of the Forest and Range Act current to May 2014 that demands maximum productivity
of the forest and range resources and immediate and long term economic and social
benefits they may confer on British Columbians.
I am sending you an e-mail written by former B.C. Liberal Minister of Mines, Bill
Bennett sent to Carmen Purdy’s inner circle Jan. 6, 2018 that supports my argument that
the wildlife resource of B.C. has a grim future and the only hope to stop the decline
of many wildlife populations is a tri-partisan Green, BC Liberal, NDP Coalition
that will support a thorough wildlife management review!
It is a small step but nevertheless a part of a much bigger story. How many current
and former BC Liberal MLAs (members of the BC Legislative Assembly) are prepared
to try and convince Andrew Wilkinson, the leader of the BC Liberals, the
implementation of the dramatic changes to the Forest Range Protection Act
mandated by the BC Liberal Government has resulted in the collapse of sustainable
scientific driven management?
Current logging and range practices have made higher levels of education in forestry
and range management totally irrelevant and like salmon and cod the BC Forest and
Grassland Ecosystems have been thrashed in the endless pursuit of jobs and the
Bill Bennett requested I share his e-mail only with my inner circle as the former
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Steve Thomson may take offence
when contrary to public opinion the minister did speak in cabinet in support of the
province’s wildlife resource.
Steve Thomson was one of six veteran BC Liberal MLAs that attended the Big Game
Symposium April 13 in Cranbrook. I shook his hand and told him I watched the 2018
Budget Estimates for the Ministry of Environment at which he made a sales pitch to
Minister Heyman to purchase a property that touched a park dear to his mother’s heart.
His answer was an enthusiastic yes, Minister Heyman supported his request!
I made a similar pitch for a 200 acre property that touches the Gilpin Grassland Class
A Provincial Park to MP Dick Cannings, a former Board Member of the Nature
Conservancy of Canada but didn’t get a response.
I reminded the former Minister that when Mike Morris was appointed his
parliamentary secretary, it was obvious Steve was not our problem.
Mark Haddock’s Professional Reliance Review May 18, 2018 of Riparian Area’s
Protection Act and Government Actions Regulation (GAR orders) are examples
that demonstrate Steve Thomson’s values were opposite to the implementations of the
dramatic changes to the Forest Range Protection Act mandated by the BC Liberal
Government i.e. The Premier’s Office.
Steve Thomson’s family has been in agriculture/ranching for over a 100 years, a point,
made in a conversation with him in his constituency office in Kelowna a few years ago,
nevertheless he endorsed 24 of 25 riparian area recommendations in the
ombudsperson 2014 report- The challenge of using a Professional Reliance Model in
Environmental Protection: British Columbia’s Riparian Areas Regulation a point made
on page 122 of Haddock’s Professional Reliance Review.
Minister Thomson was obviously the main reason MLA, Mike Morris was appointed
the Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary.
Premier Christy Clark did not rule with an iron fist like Premier Campbell or Mike
Morris’s Report would never have seen the light of day: Getting the Balance Right:
Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia, Strategic Advice to the
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Mark Haddock quotes the Mike Morris Report in his critique of the Forest and Range
Practices Act and Government Action Regulation (GAR)
“In addition, statements like without unduly reducing the supply of timber from
British Columbia’s Forests is a very subjective default term that significantly lowers
the threshold protecting our biodiversity. This ambiguity has contributed to a
degradation of biodiversity and ultimately, a reduced ability for professionals to meet
the spirit and intent of the legislation.”
A recent Editorial Board, Vancouver Sun article June 22 outlines the problems and
solutions to challenge the dismal mismanagement of the British Columbia Forest:
Forest industry crisis needs action by government. “The NDP should bring together
the other parties and industry experts to identify the problems facing the B.C. Forest
Sector and come up with real solutions that everyone can generally agree with.”
The Vancouver Sun Editorial Board has made the right call provided they demand all
of the facts be on the table for discussion. All of the facts would showcase the negative
impact of corporate logging on the province’s wildlife resource; road density, massive
clearcuts, dramatic increase in the number of logging blocks in ungulate winter ranges
and adjacent to many Class A provincial parks!
For whatever the sum of the reasons the Sun has totally ignored to report on the
cumulative effect of irresponsible logging practices on the Allowable Annual Cut
(AAC) and biodiversity. Recent large forest fires and the pine beetle epidemic are
consistently brought forward as the only problems challenging the future supply of wood
I will send you a letter I sent to the Vancouver Sun critical of logging practices I
doubt will ever see the light of day.
On same front section of the Vancouver Sun June 22 is an article in which mining
magnate, Ross Beaty fights to preserve Princess Louisa Inlet. “The B.C.Parks
Foundation where Ross Beaty serves as chair, is raising $3 million to buy and preserve a
4.5 Kilometre stretch of the Sunshine Coast that would otherwise be developed for
Ross Beaty is a highly successful mining executive whose name is well known by
investors who follow the mining game. He has an uncanny ability to start, develop and
nurture successful mining companies in a game where the common denominator is
failure. His description of logging practices is your description if you are a credible
player who cares about the future of the province’s forest!
“Modern logging is clear-cut logging-they take everything” says Beaty.
“Whatever diversity was part of the land, its just gone after that. Possibly forever.”
“Beaty is a business man, but he rarely sounds like one. He speaks at length about the
importance of reducing human consumption, of stopping industrial and economic
growth and of densification.”
Barry Brandow Sr.
The pictures I have sent you underscore two problems/issues that have been
sanctioned because of a lack of political will to remove cows from sensitive important
environments and to charge and fine mud bogging participants easily identified because
of the excessive amount of mud on their vehicles.
I sent you back to back pictures I recently took of my walk around the rectangular 6.5
acres of Nature Trust Land purchased March 1973 and fenced to exclude cows the
summer of 2014 by four volunteers not afraid of work to make a political point: yours
truly, Al Grant, Bear Brandow and his gal Barb Nicolson. Al Grant made a major
commitment in time and effort travelling from Johnson Creek Road west of Rock Creek
with his tractor and trailer.
Remember the 2000 Grazing Schedule lists Dead Horse Pasture, the Overton creek
Watershed and location of Lost Lake Lagoon and 174 acres owned by Nature Trust
period of use May7-May 21.
Nature Trust also owns 301 acres in the immediate eastern Morrissey creek
I mention the period of use because cows live in this watershed until October.
Full marks to Nick Burdock for giving Al grant and I permission to fence Nature Trust
There is a source of large boulders not much farther than1/2 KM north of the marsh.
With good fortune the access road to the marsh will be a bolder field along with large
rocks blocking roads that don’t go anywhere but are prime targets by hotshot young 4X4
truck drivers in the spring in the immediate future.
Barry Brandow Sr.