NEW YEAR, NEW BC. NDP Provincial Government!
Will this be the first provincial government in a generation to acknowledge the province’s wildlife resource has been ruthlessly exploited and consequently start the process of reducing hunting seasons and bag limits? Wildlife habitat and predators will always be a big issue but when wildlife populations are down 80, 90 and 95% reducing hunting pressure is the primary objective.
It has taken twenty years for the BC Liberal and NDP Parties to accept the province’s wildlife resource is in serious population decline. But are both political parties big enough to discredit publically “this new age thinking called Professional Reliance” that has resulted in liberalized hunting opportunity sanctioned by a statistical bubble of population and harvest estimates by our provincial government biologists and aggressively supported by the BC Wildlife Federation, the parent body of organized hunting clubs
The Hunting/Trapping questionnaire that requested comments on proposed hunting regulations until January 18 and a hollow report by Mark Hall, “Are Hunters Undermining Wildlife Conservation in the East Kootenay” give us more than enough opportunity to critique wildlife management and dam little to cheer about.
I do give credit to Minister Donaldson for a transparent Angling/Hunting/Trapping Engagement process which is far superior to the discredited Wildlife Regulations Advisory Committee but the process is at best a feeble attempt to address a well advertised problem of a wildlife resource in serious population decline.
As expected there is no request for comment on hunting regulation changes in Region 8 Okanagan even though the whitetail in sub units 8-12, 8-14 and 8-15 (Boundary) is down at least 90% from its high in the early 90s nor any mention that the black bear population in the Boundary is in significant decline.
The political tea leaves as I read them, suggest it will take at least another provincial government election cycle before the government of the day is going to accept that provincial government biologists and the BC Wildlife Federation are not credible voices.
That indictment centers on three major failures: there is no Trust but Verify of the impacts of hunting seasons and bag limits on wildlife populations; there has been no effort to discuss the limitations of science; the depth of experience and knowledge gained by many years of hunting necessary to understand the impacts of hunting regulations is alarmingly shallow.
The 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Synopsis was a reminder our provincial government biologists remain totally disconnected from “real” wildlife populations on our mountains.
Notwithstanding the preponderance of the evidence, I have shared with you from hunters, outfitters throughout the region: Osoyoos, Keremeos, Kelowna, Vernon, Rock Creek, Grand Forks, Castlegar and Trail that dictates the mule and whitetail deer populations in Region 8 Okanagan are a shadow of a past generation; the regional bag limit was increased to three.
Trust but Verify certainly worked for Presidents, Reagan and Gorbachev who successfully negotiated a reduction in nuclear warhead missiles and that rallying call has to be a major initiative to challenge the legions of statistical nonsense from our provincial government biologists that have validated a dramatic increase in hunting opportunity.
Mutual on site inspection of nuclear warhead missile sites by Americans and Russians convinced both countries that they had a deal!
The credible voice of the veteran hunter, the major asset of all successful enterprises, has been totally discounted as a critical arbitrator of hunting seasons and bag limits in British Columbia.
Reports/studies are typically biased to represent the views of those who benefit from the research, a point well made by Lynn Jacobs in his 1991 well documented “Waste of the West Public Lands Ranching”.
“Science is not truth but an approach to the truth– a malleable cultural tool. Depending on how it is used science may be a method of fact finding, distortion or concealment. Accordingly you can prove nearly everything with science even the need for tens of thousands of nuclear weapons.”
The historical perspective to start an intelligent, thoughtful approach to future hunting seasons and bag limits, in my strong opinion, starts with a review of the salient facts in two easy to read reports by provincial government biologists; Al Peatt and Bob Lincoln presented to Okanagan BC Wildlife Federation Clubs January 1988.
Both reports supported a conservative harvest of antlerless whitetail and mule deer in six subunits in the main Okanagan Valley.
All on my future wildlife management hunting seasons and bag limit recommendations will be connected to the wise advice of both Al Peatt and Bob Lincoln:
“In the Okanagan where roads are abundant suggesting a potential for localized over harvest and where wildlife management staffing capacity does not allow for careful monitoring of local deer herd status it is prudent to be fairly conservative in harvest strategy.
The BC Legislature reconvenes February 13th and after the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen’s representative, reads the NDP Government Speech from the Throne check out the government’s environmental agenda and mandate letters to the Ministers of Environment and Forests, Lands and Natural Resources on the internet.
In view of the fact that both BC Liberal and BC NDP Parties agree the province’s wildlife resource is in serious trouble can we convince both parties to find common ground via Budget Estimates?
The opposition critic for each ministry is given the opportunity during Budget Estimates to ask the Minister to respond to their questions!
Would both parties agree Professional Reliance has failed the province’s wildlife resource? Would they agree to support a Wildlife Management Advisory of all stakeholders? A roundtable is the only hope of generating the leverage necessary to have any hope of challenging the grim management on our mountains.
Once the BC Liberal leadership race has been decided I will ask the subsequent Liberal critic for the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to consider my advice.
I will always be steadfast in defending MY critique/judgment of stakeholders who I believe are in a large or small way responsible for the dismal management on our mountains!
Barry Brandow Sr.