Government Information


Photo of a grizzly bear with an elk kill.

The BC Government is requesting comments on their grizzly bear policy, which ends the “trophy hunt” for grizzly bears. According to the policy, licensed hunters will still be able to hunt grizzly bears according to provincial regulations, but edible portions will have to be brought out of the bush and the hunter will not be able to keep the skull, paws or hide. BC’s First Nations will continue to be able to harvest grizzly bears and possess all parts of grizzly bears (including the “trophy parts”) when the harvest is done within traditionally used areas pursuant to Aboriginal or treaty rights (i.e. for food, social, or ceremonial reasons.)

Request for comment and policy documents (be sure to read them).

Feral Hog

A message from the local Fish and Wildlife Branch:

Please be advised that BC Parks Area Supervisor for the Liard Area found a feral swine dead in the bush close to the Liard River Hotspring Provincial Park. The pig appeared to have been killed by a bear.

For your information pigs in the wild are classified as “Schedule C” wildlife. This means that there is no close season and you are within your rights to kill a pig on sight. The rationale behind this is that pigs, in the wild, reproduce quickly and can become entrenched in an ecosystem. They cause damage to the environment and may aid in ecosystem shifts. It would be greatly appreciated if you would help in the initiative to ensure that no pig populations are able to establish themselves in the Northeast. The meat is edible.

If you sight any pigs in the wild, and are able to kill it please do. In all pig sighting cases please contact us to report the details and location of the sighting or kill.

Thank you for your support,

 

Katelyn White

First Nations and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist | Fish and Wildlife Section

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Suite 400, 10003-110th Avenue, Fort St. John, BC, V1J 6M7

Ph: 250-787-3496

 

 

The British Columbia government has released the allocation report that covers the next five-year allocation period starting in 2017. Allocation refers to how hunting opportunities for big game animals are split between resident and non-resident hunters. The annual allowable harvest (AAH) is the optimum number of animals that can be harvested annually by hunters from a herd or population which will be replenished through the population’s natural reproduction to meet management objectives and is determined by the government’s regional wildlife managers. The AAH is supposed to be based on current scientific bast practices and current inventory work, but sometimes the inventory work is outdated. The AAH also considers conservation at the forefront and secondly First Nation’s needs for food, social and ceremonial purposes.

The attached document has some explanatory comments and the information can be a little hard to interpret, but one trend is very evident — there are fewer hunting opportunities in the upcoming five-year allocation period.

There are three variables included in the tables that impact the AAH:

First Nation’s Impact: this is determined by different methods around the province and is far from exact science as most First Nations do not report their harvest numbers or composition (cows, calves, bulls etc).

AAH Impact: Is largely based on wildlife inventory work and the impact on allocation depends on whether game populations have increased or declined.

Policy Impact: In February of 2015, Minister of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations, Steve Thomson set the allocation splits between resident and non-resident hunters. The result of the Minister’s decision caused a shift in allocation between residency groups. The splits are contained in the FAQ document.

A detailed breakdown of the allocation impacts for the 2017-2021 allocation five-year period was provided by government in March 2017. (You have to divide the allocation by five to get the annual allocation and hunting opportunities can fluctuate after the first year depending on what the actual harvest data is.) You will notice that for the most part thinhorn sheep in region 6 are not included in the policy (only a couple of management units where resident hunters are on LEH) and that thinhorn sheep in region 7B are totally managed outside of the allocation policy

 

BC Fish & Wildlife recently had some films made up that explain some of their methods and share the results of some recent surveys.

Peace Moose Survey

What is done with survey data.

Hart Ranges Caribou Survey

Alsek Moose Survey

North Skeena Caribou Survey

 

 

 

You have likely already received the 2016 Harvest Questionnaire in the mail from the Fish and Wildlife Branch. Please take the time to fill in this questionnaire and mail it in or complete it online. The information provided is important for informing wildlife management.

We’re back!

Hello again everyone and welcome to the first email of the 2017 BC Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program!

We are excited to be going again and looking forward to seeing results from the 2017 season. Last year proved to be another great year for survey participation and we received just over 500 submissions. This year were looking to do even better.

PLEASE NOTE:  After reviewing feedback from last year’s survey, we have added another “Body Condition” variable. So please be sure to use the newest survey.

For those of you who are new to the program, I have included information below that outlines what this program is all about:

The BC Wildlife Health Program is looking for help from wildlife professionals and the public with observations of hair loss caused by “Winter Ticks” on moose throughout the province.  The Moose Winter Tick Surveillance Program wants to collect observations to monitor the number of animals with hair loss and the amount of hair loss on each animal to estimate winter tick prevalence and distribution.  This program will occur on an annual basis.  Winter ticks are a significant parasite for moose populations and can contribute to moose declines in parts of their range, including BC.  So, it is an important health factor to monitor, particularly with climate change and alterations to moose habitat.  The findings of the surveillance program will contribute to the Provincial Moose Research Program, which was initiated in 2013 to investigate factors influencing moose populations in BC.

Winter tick infestations can be observed on moose during February through April.  The ticks spend the entire winter on one moose and there can be as many as 10s of thousands on one individual.  As the female ticks become adults they feed on blood in late winter and the irritation causes moose to scratch and groom themselves excessively, resulting in hair loss.  The extent of the hair loss is a rough indicator of how many ticks are present and can be observed easily from a distance.  We know that tick infestations can result in behavioral changes or direct health impacts that may reduce moose survival.

I hope that you may be interested in contributing to this surveillance program by recording your observations of both healthy and infected moose during the winter and spring. (more…)

2017 Public Wildlife Count Mule Deer Fawn

Who: Anyone with an interest in wildlife in the Peace Region (hunters, First Nations, agricultural producers, naturalists, local families) 

Where: In areas around Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Hudson’s Hope 

When: Any part of the day on February 4th or 5th 2017 (Please choose one day only.) 

Why: To collect data on trends in population size and location of deer, elk and moose. The information will be used to help inform management decisions. Prizes for participation. 

For more information, contact Katelyn White at the Natural Resource Operations office in Fort St. John (250) 787-3496 or Katelyn.White@gov.bc.ca 

More Information Public Wildlife Count 2017 

Local regional wildlife biologists Mike Bridger and Audrey Gagné-Delorme, and Michel Lavaliere, Regional Fish and Wildlife Section Head, will be attending our October monthly meeting to tell us about some project proposals that they are working on. Mike will be talking about goats and sheep, Audrey about grizzly bears, and Michel about ecosystem restoration (prescribed burning).

Don’t forget the meeting date has been changed to Monday, October 24, 2016.

Grizzly Bear Photo

The authors of the Scientific Review of Grizzly Bear Harvest Management System in B.C. found that the Province has a high level of rigour and adequate safeguards in place to ensure the long-term stability of grizzly populations. The report was prepared by a panel of three respected wildlife biologists, one two from the University of Alberta and one from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, all leaders in the field of grizzly bear research and conservation.

The report includes 51 recommendations aimed at enhancing habitat protection, population inventory, access and harvest management, and increasing public consultation. Wildlife staff are updating the grizzly bear harvest management procedure to address some of the recommendations, while others require additional analysis.

Read the full report at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/management-issues/docs/grizzly-bear-harvest-management-2016.pdf

 

The Gorley report has been released after Mr. Al Gorley travelled the Province talking to stakeholders and First Nations. The BC Wildlife Federation was highly involved in the process. The Province is acting on all 21 recommendations in the report. Some of the immediate actions taken include:

  • Reducing the number of limited-entry hunts for moose cows and calves from 1,792 in 2011 to 200 in 2016.
  • Preparing moose management plans for the Peace, Omineca and Cariboo regions.
  • Using existing tools to increase habitat protection.
  • Expanding moose survey work planned for this winter to include calf mortality.

Read More

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