For the Hunter: Part II
Re: MLA Bill Bennett’s letter, Friday, February 27, 2015.
I acknowledge that Mr. Bennett has done some good work on behalf of his constituents. However, in the wildlife file, the resident hunter has become a second class citizen as the government caters to commercial interests.
Mr. Bennett says we should “focus on growing wildlife populations”.
How odd that he should say this when every hunter knows the ungulate population of our area has been and continues to be decimated as a result of the policies of this government. These changes, I have been told, have occurred in order to increase hunter opportunity. Soon there will be no hunter opportunity.
Mr. Bennett says we should be “increasing habitat” for wildlife.
Wildlife habitat destruction is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Forests, natural refuge areas for animals, are being depleted without replacement and domestic animals are grazing crown lands longer and more extensively than ever before. Mr. Bennett’s government has endorsed these policies.
Mr. Bennett says, “As a member of cabinet, I support the allocation policy government has today”. The policy gives guide/outfitters an unprecedented allocation, several times greater than our neighbours.
Minister Thomson has never given a clear, supportable rational for changing the allocation. I am surprised that Mr. Bennett supports a decision that lacks appropriate evidence. In the absence of rationale, would I be out of line to suggest a hefty contribution ($100,000 apparently) to the Liberal party and a natural bias to an industry he has ties to are at the heart of the change?
I am not trying to score “political points” as Mr. Bennett suggests of anyone who criticizes the decisions of government. It is my democratic right and duty to speak out, to point out the inconsistencies and the flaws of this government to everyone, including those who have no stake in this file. All decisions should be examined; poor decisions need to be exposed. It is through effective criticism that we make our province a better place to live.
It is my belief that this file is horribly tainted. Mr. Bennett and Mr. Thomson should follow the wishes of the majority of users of this resource, nearly 100,000 resident hunters, most who believe this change is unjustified. Their leadership on this issue has been particularly unhelpful to resident hunters and biased towards commercial interests.
Return the allocation of wildlife to the pre-December levels; better still, reflect the allocations of our neighbours and give resident hunters 90 per cent of the wildlife allocation, not the 70 per cent as proposed.
The B Team for the ‘anti-cull’ movement has made another pre-emptive strike against Government deer traps. In my opinion, this mindless act of vandalism will do more harm to the ‘anti-cull’ movement than just about anything else that they could have done.
This public relations work by the anti-cull night crawlers which includes fourteen ruined traps, police investigations and legal costs must be getting to close to six figures. I believe that I speak for most taxpayers when I say that we want all of this money paid back, with interest.
Should we now be classing these people as Eco-Terrorists or just people that won’t face reality? Is the government just going to continue sitting on their hands watching our property being destroyed? Are they just hoping it will all go away? It won’t.
It is time for our representatives in Victoria to listen to the people who have been trained to deal with these wildlife management issues. Let them do their job. This talk about translocation or hazing is just putting off the inevitable. If it is a fact that the deer herds belong to the province, then take some responsibility rather than trying to download it to others.
When the balance of nature gets out of whack as in the 37 deer that have been hit by cars within the city limits of Kimberley, it is more humane to deal with this problem in a swift manner than to watch these animals dragging their broken limbs along behind them or lying in the snow unable to move until they freeze to death. It is more humane to deal with the deer rather than watch while a wheelchair bound traveller and his service dog is attacked on his way home.
Then how can we forget Ms. Winter from Toronto. Here she is again threatening all kinds of economic ruin to this part of Canada. It looks like she has added the wolf cull to her cause. From what I hear from conservation officers, hunters, guides and recreational users of the forest, there are more wolf tracks in the woods than any other animal. When management was suggested by those in the wildlife field, they were ignored and once again there is an issue. As with the deer, it’s all about good management. Done properly, all species will have a chance.
Recently, in Alberta, a necessary cull was implemented that took 2,000 elk from a herd of 10,000. Inbreeding and disease had become grave problems within the herd. Over 800 hunters vied for hunting tags to help cull the 2,000 animals. I was watching to see if Ms Winter would strike up a dialog with the hunters. I can only imagine the reception she would have had.
My advice to Ms Winter — look after your own back yard. In the west, we will look after our own.