Tag Archives: BC Wildlife Federation

Does and Fawns collared this winter

Mule Deer
Volunteer, Brad Siemens helps collar a doe.

Our Southern Interior Mule Deer Project team was busy throughout December capturing more adult does and fawns in our study areas.  They have captured deer via net-gunning from helicopters and ground darting.  They will be moving to ground capture with clover traps in the coming weeks.  Given this is a first effort at such a large-scale project for B.C. we are learning a lot about capturing and collaring deer.

Thank you to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation who provided funding for fawn collars for the project. This winter, the team plans on capturing and collaring 60 mule deer fawns spread throughout the three study areas.

Most of our collared adult does had returned to winter range by the middle of October, with some moving back as early as September.  This may result in changes to the low elevation mule deer (non-migratory) limited entry hunting season which currently occurs in October in the central Okanagan region to ensure the season is in fact targeting non-migratory deer.

Southern Interior Mule Deer project (5)Volunteers, and team members from the Fish and Wildlife Branch, Okanagan Nation Alliance, UBC-O, and University of Idaho will continue to catch deer until March.  We are hoping to get collars on 90 adult does, and 60 fawns for 2019.

Camera traps will be going out this spring once our research team has collected a full year of deer movement data. This data will then ensure that we are placing our camera traps in a variety of habitats used by mule deer in both their winter and summer ranges.

The team is meeting in early March to evaluate our progress to date and coordinate activities between our partners for the coming year.  We will be conducting more mortality investigation training and hosting camera trap training for our volunteers as well.

The Southern Interior Mule Deer project is the largest collaborative mule deer research project in British Columbia history. We rely on the dedicated volunteers and team members of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, BCWF members and clubs, Fish and Wildlife Branch, UBCO and the University of Idaho. This project would not be possible without your help, nor would it be possible without the contributions from our various supporters. A big thanks goes out to our direct members who have donated to this project and to the following clubs and associations:

Kelowna and District Fish & Game Club, East Kootenay Hunters Association, Summerland Sportsmen’s Association, Traditional BowHunters of BC, G.F Wildlife Association, Okanagan Region BC Wildlife Federation, Vernon Fish & Game Club, Kamloops and District Fish & Game Association, Vernon Fish and Game Club, North Shore Fish & Game Club, Oceola Fish & Game Club, Kettle Wildlife Association, Southern Okanagan Sportsmen’s Association, the Pemberton Wildlife Association and the Mission and District Rod & Gun Club.

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Populism and the Ban on the Grizzly Hunt

Several questions have come up after the recent news of a guide outfitting company launching a class-action suit against B.C.’s ban on the grizzly bear hunt.

The BC Wildlife Federation will take no position on this matter because, as a conservation organization, the BCWF is not in the business of supporting court cases for guide-outfitters or any other industry that seeks compensation from the government. This lawsuit is focused on compensation for guide outfitters.

Nevertheless, the BCWF continues to be in full support of the re-opening of the grizzly bear hunt. The BCWF will continue to support science-based decision making, not populist-based decision making. The decision by the B.C. government to ban the regulated grizzly hunt to all but Indigenous hunters is a prime example of a populist-based decision.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “populism” as: Political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want. The ideas are often put forward in the absence of science or analysis of the long-term policy implications. The threshold for populism is often driven by “popular support” for an idea, not because it is rational, stable or in the best interests of the resource, but because it is politically popular and in the short term will garner political support.

The question is, do you want your government to make the popular decision, or the rational decision? The former is driven by the public opinion, the latter by rigorous analysis of the consequences in terms of what is in the best interests of the resource and the populace.

grizzly-1180556_1920In B.C., 78 percent of the public, according to the government is against the hunting of grizzly bears. But a rigorous analysis was conducted by the B.C. Auditor General and the conclusion was that hunting was not seen as a threat to grizzly bear sustainability and was considered a minor factor within the issue of larger habitat management.

Prior to a final decision on grizzly bear hunting, government was left with two choices; leave the status quo or ban all licensed hunting of grizzly bears.

Populism won the day and now there is no hunt. First Nations can continue to hunt if they choose. The larger issue is this constitutionally protected right will be hollow when their fish and wildlife populations are gone. The right to gain economically from commercial uses of natural resources under the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples is also in question. First Nations have strong voices and can speak for themselves on how, where and why they want to engage in the grizzly bear debate.

As for what the BCWF is doing about the grizzly bear hunt ban, it is anticipated that some First Nations will initiate grizzly hunts as early as this spring, as they have the constitutional right to do so. This may well lead to some opportunity to re-open the discussion with government. If and when such opportunity arises, we will take the same stance as we did before – hunt based on science.