Tag Archives: BCWF

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.

At the Heart of the Fraser

Submitted by Jenny Ly

Since the BCWF Fall Harvest Celebration, hosted to applaud those that have worked endlessly to save the heart of the Fraser River and continue to raise awareness of the issues at hand, I have spent a lot of time pondering on the discussions given.

I’m shocked at the events actively happening around the area. I am also failing to understand why anyone presented with the facts would want to do harm to an ecosystem. Especially since it has such a direct impact on all the things we love about our beautiful British Columbia, such as our cherished salmon and sturgeon.

In case you missed the Fall Harvest Celebration… 

IMG_1301I’m so grateful to have been invited to such a lovely evening filled with food, friendly faces, and festivities. Walking into the event, hosted appropriately at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, I was surprised at the lofty fun space, a hidden gem in New Westminster and the grand set up of the Fall Harvest.

On one side of the space, there were tables lined with generously donated silent auction items from local wines, outdoor adventures and art. The other side was where I spent the majority of time connecting with the guest – can you guess what that area contained? If your mind wandered off to the food and wine, you’re correct! Oh, it was a gorgeous spread of a continuous supply of cheese, meat, and seafood bites. The highlight was the warm bites which included things like wild game meatballs created by Chef Tammy Wood and Tiffany Bader. Heck, there was even deep fried cheese! Both ladies had dreamed up a menu that pleased all palates and delighted the guests.

Things you should know about the “heart of the Fraser River”

Jenny Ly and Marvin RosenauThe guest speakers of the evening included Harvey Andrusak, Mark Angelo, Ken Ashley, Marvin Rosenau, and Jesse Zeman. Below are some important highlights of the discussions these men hosted:

– The heart of the Fraser consists of islands that make up a (very rare) large area of gravel beds from Hope to Chilliwack and is considered a global treasure.

– There are only five islands left, and most of them are logged. The motivation to develop the area is for cheap land and profit.

– Currently, developers have applied to build a bridge connecting from the mainland to one of these islands, if built it will lead to the destruction of critical fish habitat.

– When these islands flood, the gravel areas are perfect spawning conditions for salmon and the ancient sturgeon.

– The area is home to about 40 species of fish in many stages of their life.

– Destroying this area will have a direct impact on the salmon run and salmon are a prime food source for our already declining population of killer whales.

Action items you can take to help defend this crucial habitat

  1. Follow BCWF for more information and updates on efforts made: http://bcwf.bc.ca/
  2. Sign the Heart of the Fraser river petition: https://www.heartofthefraser.ca/

I strongly feel that everyone should be aware of what is happening at the heart of our Fraser River. Please share this article with those that you feel would appreciate a high-level overview of the matters at hand.

The First Hunt and what it takes to be a Mountain Hunter

Jenny Ly has returned from her Woodland Caribou hunt in Northern BC. This is her account of the adventure.

Before the caribou hunt, a lot of anxiety came from the fact I wasn’t going to be able to keep up or pack out as much as the men in my group. I didn’t want to feel like a burden, or that I wasn’t pulling my weight. The insecurities that developed made me feel like I was interfering with the “boys club”, even though that was far from the truth.

It had an adverse effect on me because I was always on the defence or felt like I continuously had to prove my worth; which often doesn’t translate well. I think one of my biggest takeaways is to be vocal about these thoughts. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, it can be your greatest strength.

Jenny Ly
Photo Credit: Jenny Ly

The positive was that I used these insecurities to motivate myself to adhere to an intense training schedule of running, weightlifting and rucking. Let me tell you, while up in those mountains I was grateful I put in the work. I wouldn’t advise anyone planning a backpacking hunt without some mountain conditioning.

On opening day, we crossed paths with a group packing out a successful morning, and it just so happened I knew one of the fellows. For those that are curious about hunting, the hunting world is small and supportive, you’ll quickly make friends. Unearthing this community has been a delightful surprise, since starting this journey I have only stumbled across the kindest and most welcoming individuals.

The crew was kind in giving us advice, words of encouragement and even feeding us a few bites of delicious caribou ribs they had roasting over an open fire. They were genuinely in awe that three rookies were attempting such a massive hunt, entirely unguided. We apparently were, “doing it all backwards.”

first hunt
Photo Credit: Jenny Ly

Hiking up and down mountains weighed down by sheets of ice-cold rain, hail, snow blizzards, and fog so thick we were often turned around trying to walk a straight line. Worst of all, we were in grizzly country. I remember feeling so defeated, I picked up an antler shed because I was about to give up and accept I was going home empty handed.

But with grit, on the fourth day, after what felt like a two-hour stalk, we were finally successful. I’ll admit tears were brimming around my eyes as I stood staring at the bull. Initially, I had thought they were tears of sadness, but now I’ve had some time to reflect on the hunt, I would say they were tears of gratitude. I started out on this journey to reconnect myself with my food; including the fur, bones and guts. To know exactly where my food came from, how it was harvested and what it was raised on is a hunters blessing.

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Photo Credit: Jenny Ly

The real work began when we found success. It took 20 hours to carry our harvest down the mountain. At times I had about 75lbs on my back, often I wanted to burst into tears from exhaustion.

In our caribou crew, we often laughed at the fact that no matter what we talk about it would always circle back to food. During our 20-hour pack out we would banter about all the amazing foods we’ve had on our travels to Denmark, Japan, and Portugal. Where to get the best burger, ramen and tacos in Vancouver. We even listed off our favourite items in our local specialized shops for teas and hot sauce.

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Photo Credit: Jenny Ly

How ironic it was it that we were packing out about 250lbs of the best meat in the world while eating freeze dried meals. But I guess it’s only fair our stomachs must suffer a bit for the reward.

After being snowed in for 2.5 days, it was finally clear enough for the floatplane to come pick us up. The pilot was a little taken aback when he saw our load and said, “I’ve never seen anyone pack out so much meat before.”

For a momentary amount of despair and suffering, I now can look back on it and share a story of persistence, and the reward that comes with it. I take pride in knowing I worked darn hard for the food on my table.

In this pursuit of heeding the call of my inner wild, I found not only my passion but my purpose in life has quickly presented itself.  I am now heavily involved in wildlife conservation in our beautiful province. I enjoy every moment I spend working on keeping our wild lands thriving for generations to enjoy. Furthermore, I cannot wait for my next adventure!

Until the next adventure
Photo Credit: Jenny Ly

You can read more of Jenny’s stories on her blog: Chasing Food

Great Canadian Giving Challenge

DSCN6368Summer is such a wonderful time in Canada – great weather and longer days mean more fun outdoor activities, weekends away, BBQs and much more. It’s easy for Canadians to forget to support their favourite charities and causes. To help save charities coast-to-coast from the summer-giving drought, CanadaHelps and The GIV3 Foundation have launched the fourth annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge. 

It is a national public contest to benefit any registered Canadian charity. Every $1 donated to a registered charity in Junevia CanadaHelps.org or GivingChallenge.ca, automatically enters the charity to win an additional $10,000 donation. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day and one lucky charity will receive the grand prize of $10,000.

If the BCWF was to win the $10,000 prize from the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, the funds would go towards the two youth summer programs we offer. The prize would allow us to expand these excellent programs to additional locations across BC, to a greater number of kids who would benefit from the experience while keeping the cost of our camps low to make the experience affordable.

In the last two decades, increases in technology and indoor entertainment have impacted the way children play and learn with many activities moving indoor.  Many outdoor childhood activities are not as accessible like they were in the past, and kids are missing out on vital outdoor activities that are essential to healthy childhood development.

The BCWF’s two youth summer programs, Wild Kidz Camps and Go Wild! Youth for Conservation, are designed to get kids outside to learn about the environment around them. Education is the critical difference that make our camps such a success that we have a 80% return rate. We believe that if we teach kids to care about the natural habitat around them, they grow up to teach their children to do the same.

WILD KIDZ PHOTOThe future of British Columbia’s natural habitat relies on educating the public – especially today’s youth – about sustainable management of our natural resources including fish, wildlife, and habitat. With more and more of BC’s natural resources at risk, it is imperative that we inspire future generations to care enough to speak up for fish and wildlife or to even choose occupations that help make a difference.

By providing hands-on educational experiences, the BCWF gives our youth opportunities to interact with the outdoors in new ways, providing them with lasting impressions on their important role in conservation efforts. BCWF Youth Camps are not only a fun experience, they help educate and inspire the conservationists and biologists of tomorrow.

Make your donations go further with Canada Helps starting June 1st! If you care to donate, please follow the link to our donation page through Canada Helps: http://bit.ly/donatetobcwf