Adjustments made to harvest allocation policy

Protests from resident hunters across the province sparked government rethinking.

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced last Friday he would be revising the split on limited-entry hunting areas following resident hunter protests.

The split designates a percentage per species allotted either to local hunters/residents or guide outfitters.

The revision transferred approximately 60 species to guide outfitters from resident hunters, compared to the calculated shift of 168 animals from the December 2014’s originally announced plan, which caused a stir in local hunting communities.

Following December’s allocation policy announcement, many hunters felt the 2014 split unfairly favoured industry guide outfitters, while guide outfitters felt that the long-standing split prior to 2014 created a negative business environment for the industry.

The new revisions are meant to reflect the divide between hunters with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C.

In the Kootenays, the changes mostly affect bighorn sheep and grizzly bears with a 60-40 and 68-32 split per species respectively between resident hunters and guide outfitters. Additionally, the split for mountain goats was marked for 65-35 and bull moose 80-20.

Thomson said in a release that he remains “committed to resident priority” but hopes that the change will provide guide outfitters who complained of negative affects to their business with some “relief and additional opportunity to increase the likelihood of success.”

Thomson added, “I now look forward to working with the BC Wildlife Federation and Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. on ways we can all work more effectively together on wildlife management.”