British Columbia

Hunting allocations for resident, foreign hunters revised after uproar

The B.C. government has backtracked on hunting permit regulations that were criticized for giving too much preference to foreign hunters.

B.C. hunters will be able to get more permits for specific hunts

B.C. resident hunters will be able get more permits for bighorn sheep and grizzly bear in the Kootenays. (urbanworkbench/Flickr)

The B.C. government has backtracked on hunting permit regulations that were criticized for giving too much preference to foreign hunters. 

Friday's announcement has revised the hunting allocation splits for specific hunts, so that local B.C. residents now get more hunting permits compared to the allocations that were announced back in December.

As a result, B.C. resident hunters will be able get more permits for the following hunts:

  • Bull elk, and either sex elk on Vancouver Island
  • Moose in the Thompson and Omineca regions
  • Bison in the Peace region
  • Bighorn sheep and grizzly bear in the Kootenays.

The government has also committed to a review of the thinhorn sheep hunt and "either-sex elk hunt" in agricultural portions of the Peace region by fall 2015.

'Delicate balance'

Premier Christy Clark said the government was trying to strike a "very delicate balance."  

"We support British Columbians' right to hunt in this province ... at the same time, we want to protect all those small family-based business which are located in some very remote rural communities," she said. 

When the government announced a change to the hunting allocation policy in B.C. last year, the B.C. Wildlife Federation, which advocates for local hunters, said commercial interests were getting too big a share. 

"I made slight revisions to the hunts for moose, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, Roosevelt elk and bison to address the concerns I heard after the decision was released," said Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Minister Steve Thomson in a press release on Friday.

Guide outfitters are able to take the permits they are allocated and sell them to non-residents for guided hunts. Clients come from around the world, including other Canadian provinces. Under B.C. rules, anyone who doesn't reside in B.C. needs to hire a guide in order to do any hunting.

According to the B.C. Wildlife Federation, the number of B.C. residents who have taken up hunting has increased over the last decade by about 20 per cent. Over that same period of time, it said the number of foreign hunters coming to B.C. to employ guide-outfitters has dropped by about a third.

On mobile? Click here to read the revised allocations.

With files from Brady Strachan


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