Hank Shelley

Hank Shelley

Column: The latest on the outdoor front

Recently, the Shuswap region of the BC Wildlife Federation met in Kamloops to mull over the latest happenings pertaining to hunting, fishing, salmon returns and forestry issues.

The group consists of reps from Interior fish and game clubs bringing up important issues and where we are heading, affecting hunters, anglers and the general public.

Earl Bloom and I represent the local fish and game club.

Forestry – When forest companies replant seedlings (plugs/bare root/plugs are small seedlings, 35 to a pack). In clear cuts, they have to compete with fast-growing elder and birch. These deciduous grow quickly. Thinning and spacing is required to generate healthy conifers.

Currently, there are about 700,000 hectares needing silviculture work in the province. To save money and time in the Prince George forest district, spraying herbicide (Round-up) over plantations with a helicopter has happened. This will be happening soon in the Kamloops forest district.

It is not a proper management tool. Moose, deer, elk, depend on leafy plants, vegetation and trees for life and winter survival.

Juvenile spacing (thinning) by crews is the answer.

Thompson steelhead numbers have dwindled to 160 fish returning to the Thompson River. In the early 1950s to ’60s, 8,000 steelhead returned. Spences Bridge was a thriving and viable community. It’s possible there will be a large protest rally coming up soon by those groups who want steelhead back.

Killer Whales – There are two groups: one that takes seals, sea- lions and the other (resident) targeting salmon (78 per cent of their diet). Most salmon are Fraser River Chinook bound for the Thompson-Shuswap River systems thanks to DNA sampling. Both species are classed “At risk.”

DFO scientists studying the second group feel there may be recreational sport fishing closures for Chinook come 2018 onward.

First Nations have been pushing to re-introduce Chinook into the upper-Columbia basin. To date, it has not taken place.

First Nations on the Lower Fraser River want to net and retain white sturgeon. This is happening anyway, and little is being done about it.

Much more was discussed at the meeting, including a growing wolf problem on game animals, parks, wilderness, land use and access.

I’ll try and bring you more information in the coming days.

Hunting – Many guys and gals have been out looking for that ol’mossy horns buck in recent days. Any whitetail or 4-point mule deer are open. Lots of traffic on the 110 road, east of Canoe mill. Caution: Watch for loaded logging trucks during the week.

Next week, it’s all about the Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club, their activities, gun show results and new RCMP range. Tight lines and straight shootin!