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Letters  

BC Resident Hunters - Guardians of Our Most Precious Resource

I urge all BC residents to seek out and understand the real issues facing our great province and the privatization of our wildlife and the lands they live on.  This is not the rant of a hunter, this is a plea to all those who care about our most precious resource to make a stand against the Liberal Government and the Guide Outfitters of BC (GOABC) and tell them that our wildlife is not for sale and never will be.  Here are a few things you should know and I urge Castanet and all who doubt it to do their own research.

  • Why is it that Mr. Thompson and Mr. Ellis time and time again state that these allocations are only a very small percentage of the “animals we currently hunt” or “total hunting opportunities”.  Sure that’s fine if we all want to simply hunt deer, black bear and grouse.  What they are leaving out is that it has large impacts to our opportunities to hunt other species such as moose, elk, sheep, goat, etc., where available opportunities are very limited and are only by lottery or a very expensive trip to the far north.  Thompson and Ellis do this purposefully to dilute the issue…to give us the impression that the change is so minute it shouldn’t even be an issue.
         
  • Thompson states that BC residents are still getting the priority.  This is true and holds true even if the allocations were 51% resident to 49% non-resident.  The use of the word “priority” in this case is grossly misused.  In all of North America, the allocation to non-resident hunters is between 5%-10% maximum and yet, this latest policy change (and even the 2007 one referred) sees a proportionate for non-residents from 25-40% for many of these species noted. So in reality, we are fighting for much more than the 2007 allocations…we should be overhauling the whole system. 
         
  • There are over 100,000 resident hunters in BC (over 20% increase in the last decade) vs. 4,500 non-resident hunters (steadily declining over the last decade).  Why then would be increase opportunities for non-residents and reduce them for residents…this logic is flawed on its most basic level.  Furthermore, I think someone needs to take a closer look at the revenue projections identified for resident hunters vs. non-residents.  To suggest that we only produce 2x that of non-residents is ludicrous and I suspect we are not comparing apples to apples.  The article suggests that and I quote Mr. Ellis "They use airlines, buy food, buy supplies, bullets, eat in restaurants, stay in hotels. Outfitters employ staff, buy quads, pay taxes – these are local guys, and the money stays in the community."  Are we applying the same expenses to residents who pay for flights, food, fuel, hotels, quads, trucks, travel trailers, boats, etc?  If we are comparing like for like, I suspect that much like the 100,000 vs. 4,500 ratio (20x) I suspect the revenue introduced into the economy is 20 fold as well.  Further, I’d like to know how many of the 230 guide outfitters are actually full-time residents of BC.  I know the general BC public would be quite surprised.
         
  • The BCWF and its members contribute over 300,000 volunteer hours to support our wildlife and the environments in which we live.  I’d like to know how much the GOABC gives back and what value the government places on this.  Additionally, a percentage of every licence and tag purchased goes directly towards wildlife management.  100,000 resident hunters contribute far more dollars to the cause then that 4,500 non-residents.
         
  • Perhaps this is simply a change in the times.  Guide Outfitters that understand their business and are outstanding at their craft will continue to survive.  They will be innovators and be creative with opportunities to draw in business.  Handouts are not the answer and never have been…especially when it is at the expense of the other.  Mr. Ellis argues that guide outfitting has a long-standing tradition in our history but I can assure you…hunting for oneself and his/her family is as old as our time on this planet.
     
  • Lastly, political campaign contributions are public record.  I'd like Castanet to publish the contributions that GOABC, Mr. Ellis and other representatives of the GOABC provided to the Liberal Party during the last election.  It is hundreds of thousands of dollars and all of it is public information if a reporter were so inclined to find the TRUTH.  This from the same group who advocated that their members are going broke across the province.

The GOABC is also lobbying government to restrict access to resident hunters in certain areas but these same areas are allowed access by outfitters.  There is far more to this story than the government wants you to know about and they trivialize it and us with their statements.

Money talks and I think you will see that GOABC and the Liberal Government have spoken loud and clear that our province's resources ARE for sale.

Wade Llugs - Resident BC Hunter



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