B.C.’s wildlife management needs science, not money
Letter to the Editor
John Bergenske is right when he says that wildlife shouldn’t be managed for any particular group (“What’s behind the proposed Wildlife Management Agency,” e-KNOW). But that’s what’s happening now: The guides and their foreign clients have been the tail that wags the dog in wildlife management in B.C. for decades.
Case in point: Our 40-day, general open season restricted to six-point bull elk only—right through the rut—has been pounding our prime breeding stock since it was requested by the guides 20 years ago. Ironically, about that same time, the scientists at the Starkey Project in Oregon demonstrated that more calves survive when the breeding is done by the mature bulls. Our disgraceful six-point hunt would have been long gone by now if the Wildlife Branch had been more concerned about science rather than about ensuring the viability of the guiding industry.
Our biologists don’t need more money; they just need to get on their computers and study up on state-of-the art wildlife management in North America. They won’t find any other jurisdiction with our anti-scientific, six-point rut hunt. Perhaps they can learn what success looks like, too; for example, Colorado harvests more elk every year than we have in all our herds in B.C.
Whatever new wildlife agency we get, I hope it will include something like the Fish and Wildlife Commission that oversees hunting and fishing regulations in each of the American states. We need such a group of citizens to ensure that science is driving our wildlife management.