The B.C. government has released its hunting and trapping regulations book for the next two years, after refusing a recommendation to increase the number of limited entry hunting permits for grizzly bears.
A proposal to increase the limited entry hunt for grizzly bears in the Peace River region (wildlife management unit 7-52) was not approved. The proposal would have allowed the regional manager to authorize up to 150 grizzly tags in the annual lottery.
The regulation remains a maximum of 50 limited entry hunting opportunities per year, with an average of eight bears killed each year by licensed hunters, four by resident and four by non-resident hunters.
The current population of grizzly bears in the region is estimated at 459, with annual allowable mortality of 26. It is the largest grizzly population in the province.
One change made for this year is addition of January limited entry hunt opportunities for bison in the Liard region in northern B.C. The Pink Mountain plains bison herd supports a popular lottery hunt from October to December, with about 10,000 applications each year.
The new open season would not increase the total number of bison taken, but shift some of the hunting pressure to the northern zone. Currently there are 126 tags issued for the hunt each year.
Other changes include:
• Limited entry hunting for California bighorn sheep is closed in two areas of the Similkameen, management units 8-02 and 8-07. After the hunt was opened in 2010, aerial and ground surveys have identified fewer than 75 animals in the region.
• Limited entry hunting is open for up to seven mountain goats in the Mount Brewster area of the Peace region. Mountain goat hunting has been closed in the Wapiti Mountain area of the Peace, and the Nadina Mountain, Nanika Mountain and Atna River areas of the Skeena region.
• A new limited entry hunt is authorized for up to 20 antlerless elk in the Princeton area, where ranchers have experienced significant crop and fence damage in recent years.
• New limited entry hunts are being opened for bull moose in Okanagan management units 8-02, 8-13 and 8-26, where populations are considered sufficient to support the hunt.
• Compulsory inspection of moose shot has been required in Skeena management units 6-19 to 6-25, with restriction to harvesting bull moose only in some areas.