Changes are being proposed to B.C. policy on allocating wildlife harvests which would give non-resident trophy hunters more opportunities at the expense of local hunters, according to members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
Jesse Zeman, a director of both the local Oceola Fish and Game Club and the BCWF, said he is concerned because resident hunters pay the majority of the licences and surcharges — money which goes into the cost of managing wildlife in the province.
Yet under these changes proposed to the policy governing allocations, guided hunters from outside B.C. would be given more of the share of wild game.
In most North American jurisdictions, non-residents receive five to 10 per cent of the wild game allocation, but the proposal he fears the province will approve in the coming week would give them 25 per cent of moose and elk and 40 per cent of wild mountain sheep, bear and wild mountain goat.
In order to keep the harvest sustainable, the resident hunters’ share would have to be reduced, by a reduction in the number of tags offered by lottery to hunters in the limited entry hunting draw.
“I’m a numbers guy. I like to see us make decisions based on facts and figures, so this is really frustrating to me. It just doesn’t add up,” said Zeman.
He estimated these changes would mean 5,000 fewer tags would be available to the B.C. residents who currently inject $9 million a year into the province’s economy in license fees; and who spend an estimated $230 million a year on hunting-related activities, from fuel to accommodations, to equipment and food.
And, that doesn’t account for the more than 300,000 volunteer hours and the funds the 45,000 BCWF members put into conservation, including fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects, land purchases and other efforts that benefit the whole community.
“Wildlife is a public resource in this province, so this whole question is of paramount importance,” said Zeman.