Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia - 2010 Wildlife Management

SURREY, BC, Feb. 16 /CNW/ -

1. Who are guide outfitters?

Currently there are 233 licensed guide outfitters in BC who directly employ over 2,000 people and generate over $120 million annually to the economy of British Columbia. The guide outfitting industry is an important contributor to the health and well being of rural economies.

Guide outfitters are the founders of the tourism industry and an important part of the outdoor heritage of British Columbia. Our clients spend more, per day, per capita, than any other visitor to our province.

Guide outfitters are committed to sustainable wildlife management and habitat conservation. They are stewards of the land who have a profound understanding of the wildlife and its habitat. The big-game populations in BC are healthy and growing due, in part, to science-based wildlife management policies that were developed by government in cooperation with guide outfitters.

2. Why do people hunt?

    
    -   Cultural reasons

        Since the Hudson's Bay Company was established in Canada in 1670,
        Canadians have hunted and trapped as a way of life. Hunting is part
        of our outdoor heritage. In British Columbia we have a legislated
        right to hunt and fish.

        Today, many people hunt for sustenance reasons, enjoying the
        opportunity to provide their families with inexpensive organic food.
        Hunting is a healthy activity that allows outdoor enthusiasts to
        experience our beautiful province.

    -   Wildlife management

        To have a balanced ecosystem we must manage bears as we manage all
        other species. Just as it is irresponsible to let forest fires to
        burn uncontrolled, it is also irresponsible to allow wildlife to
        exceed their carrying capacity and die from starvation or disease. It
        is documented that as the bear populations in the province increase
        so do the incidents of human conflict.

        In National Parks, where hunting is prohibited, animals have lost
        their wariness and have become habituated to people. These controlled
        environments demonstrate that grizzly bear populations have lower
        survival rates in parks than in areas where grizzly bears are hunted.
        In the United States, where grizzly bears are protected, the animal's
        survival rates are the same as they are in Canada's National Parks.
    

3. Who pays for conservation?

According to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, "Since the inception of our work in 1981, the Foundation and its predecessors have invested over $120 million in over 2000 projects across BC. Most of this work would never have happened without the funding commitment that the anglers, hunters, trappers and guide-outfitters of BC have made to conservation in this province." Without hunters who would have paid for the $7 million DNA study that was done to confirm the grizzly bear population estimate in BC?

Wildlife are a highly renewable resource and an important source of revenue for government. Bear populations have continued to expand as the bear viewing industry and guide outfitting industry share this valuable resource. There is a dramatic difference in the fees paid to government between the two industries:

    
    -   Guide Outfitting
        -  $2,210 (tags $1030/licenses $180/royalties $1,000)/10 day hunt
           = $221 client/day

    -   Wildlife viewing
        -  $4.00 client/day (commercial recreation rental fee)

                             2010 Bear Statistics
                             --------------------

    Black Bear:

    -   Population Estimate: 120,000 to 160,000
    -   Current harvest rate: 2 to 3%
    -   Sustainable human-caused mortality rate: 8% (maximum mortality rate
        from all human-related causes)
    -   Type of hunting season in BC: general open season
    -   Human conflict: average of 665 bears per year destroyed

    Grizzly Bear:

    -   There is no open season on grizzly bears anywhere in the province of
        BC
    -   The grizzly bear hunt is one of the most controlled and intensively
        managed hunts on the planet.
    -   Type of hunting season in BC: residents are on Limited Entry Hunting
        and guide outfitters on quota. Successful hunters produce the bear
        for Compulsory Inspection.
    -   Population Estimate: 16,000 to 17,000
    -   Current harvest rate: (less than) 2%
    -   Sustainable human-caused mortality rate: 6% (maximum mortality rate
        from all human-related causes)
    -   Human conflict: average of 53 bears per year destroyed
    

According to the province of British Columba, hunters harvested less than 300 grizzly bears in 2009. This represents ~1.75% of the estimated grizzly bear population of ~17,000. The provincial government considers this a conservative population estimate and an extremely conservative harvest rate.

SOURCE GUIDE OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION OF B.C.

For further information: For further information: you may contact Scott Ellis, General Manager, Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia, (604) 541-6332, info@goabc.org

Organization Profile

GUIDE OUTFITTERS ASSOCIATION OF B.C.

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