British Columbia has had the most and varied game species populations in all of Canada. Unfortunately, the times they are a changing!
This has mostly been due to expanded timber extraction, road building into what was once inaccessible backcountry, wild fires and climate change.
There was 97,000 licensed hunters in 2018. BC Outdoors magazine (hunting edition) has just published predictions on what new and experienced hunters can expect while in the field this fall. There is still a lot of enthusiasm by the younger generation to be able to provide wild game for the table/freezer, to feed a young family. However, a quick call to PAL/Core instructor Trevor Holmes (Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club) for the latest information and number of students taking classes shows a decline due to online instruction.
Here is the low-down for hunter’s in Region #3:
• Mule deer: May be a bit harder to find that ol’ Mossy horns buck due to high predator numbers. Easy access by hunter’s on home ranges. Hunt high country first.
• White-tailed deer: Continue to expand ranges. Work known habitats, field edges, clear- cuts.
• Moose: Tough sell for hunte’s as only spike fork bulls allowed. Also late season opening, except 3-34-344.
High wolf/cougar/bear numbers –
• Black bear: High numbers, limit 2. Good opportunity.
• Grouse: Opportunity better than others in some regions due to spring clutch survival, both ruff and spruce. • Geese: For the guys who love goose shootin,’ it couldn’t be better. Lots of birds around, and growing. Season starts Sept. 10. Daily bag limit: 10. Areas 3-20/3-26-3-44. Ducks: same bag limit, 10 daily.
Region # 8: Includes Enderby/Vernon/Lumby.
• Mule deer: Going to be tough. Habitat destruction and high predator numbers.
• White tail deer: Same situation, extended doe seasons. Absurd situation.
• Moose: Holding their own, populations stable. Spike fork bulls only. Season. Nov. 1-15. Slim pickings here.
• Elk: Small populations but growing. Region # 8-21-8-26, good bet for one 6-point bull, Sept. 10 to Oct. 20.
• Grouse: Better populations here.
• Geese: Good numbers, Sept. 20 to Nov. 28. Other regions, Dec 25. Daily limit, 10.
• Ducks: Sept. 12 to Dec. 25.
To help game populations in both regions, access reduced into game habitats to increase quality, pack-in only hunts. Restrict ATV use. Walk-in only. Meet with local First Nations to determine and work with allowable harvest numbers on both sides. (Almost impossible.) More effort in reducing high wolf/black bear numbers.
We are at a crossroads for hunting’s future. Speak up. Phone Kamloops biologist. Express your opinion.
Get off your duff and see what’s happening to our forests! It isn’t all good or bad, but as hunter’s/anglers, our future is in your hands.