WATCH: More than a thousand hunters gathered in the Okanagan this afternoon to protest changes to B.C.’s hunting licenses.
WEST KELOWNA —; A sea of angry hunters – more than 1000 of them – protested Saturday against the BC government’s new hunting permit allocations.
In December, the government unveiled a policy that would give licensed hunting guides between 20 and 40 per cent of permits to accommodate foreign hunters.
READ MORE: Concern new hunting regulations favour out-of-province hunters
“I think forty per cent is way too much,” said hunter Chuck Hardy at the rally. “Other provinces it’s only six to seven per cent. It’s not cool. It’s not good for people.”
In the letter to the Guide Outfitters Association of BC and the BC Wildlife Federation, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson said:
“In making my decision, I kept to the principle that resident hunters are a higher priority than non-resident hunters. I
also recognize that guide outfitters need business certainty to remain economically viable.”
Hunters at the protest accused the government of taking a public resource, and handing it over to private industry.
“We deserve rights as hunters and fair treatment,” says Cathy Huber. “I think government is not taking that into consideration. They’re only considering the profits they can make from wildlife.”
Rally organizer Sean Richardson says resident hunters are frustrated.
“To be drawn for moose in the Okanagan, you have a 50-1 chance. That’s once in 50 years that you can expect a draw. A foreigner can come every year and hunt one because he pays for it. That’s difficult for people to take.”
The Liberal government now says it is “listening to input” from hunters before passing legislation and will consider making adjustments to specific hunting allocations in specific regions.