Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke
If you’ve lived in southeast B.C. for over a decade, you will remember the large populations of elk, white tail & mule deer, moose, sheep, and goats we used to have here. While pockets of healthy populations remain, there are also too many valleys and mountain ranges without plentiful wildlife. It’s obvious that the policies and tactics used by government haven’t maintained healthy populations. To be fair, this is not all on wildlife managers. The government manages all activities on crown land, and all of it has an impact on wildlife.
I’m an MLA with a history in tourism and education. I’m not a wildlife biologist, so I’m not the expert. But as the MLA, I am honoured to listen to many of my constituents who have tremendous knowledge of our wildlife. Some blame the decrease in wildlife populations on the abundance of predators. Some blame habitat loss (food and cover), some blame access issues.
Why have our mule deer populations dropped so much? Why are there so few elk left in the high country? Why are there more white tail in town than in the bush? The answers will cost money and will require a wildlife management regime that is dedicated to growing wildlife populations, not to maintaining the status quo. Funding proper wildlife inventories and establishing population targets would be a great start.
BC is not the only western North American jurisdiction with large wildlife populations. Let’s learn what they do in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado. We have a start with the new province-wide Fish & Wildlife Coalition that represents over 25 stakeholder groups including the B.C. Wildlife Federation, Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, Ducks Unlimited and more. But to my NDP colleagues in the Legislative Assembly, this had better not just be kicking the can down the road.
Improvements will require political will. Although the solutions to restoring wildlife populations in our region are not political, the solutions will not be enabled until the politicians in Victoria demand change.
Let’s bring together the professional biologists with the experienced hunters and wildlife lovers to identify the solutions. Let’s support government in adequately funding wildlife management commensurate with its value to the citizens of B.C. and to the rest of the world. That means government should value these animals far more than they do today. The majority of people want that change. As someone who has hunted since I was a boy, I want that as well, and better wildlife management is one of my key objectives as your MLA.
I want to hear from you about any concerns you have about this or any other issue. I read every email I receive. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office in Kimberley at (250) 432-2300 or Revelstoke at (250) 805-0323.
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