(ANIMAL NEWS/WILDLIFE) It’s not a good time to be a wolf in Canada. The Canadian government has just changed hunting regulations in British Columbia to legalize the year-round hunting of wolves. What does this mean for the wolf population and why is Canada devaluing the lives of their wolves? — Global Animal
100 Mile House Free Press, Carole Rooney
The provincial government has changed the hunting regulations to a year-round open season on killing wolves in the Cariboo.
This has some people up in arms about the change, which now allows the hunting of wolves with no bag limit, during any season, including times when females are nursing their young.
Conservation Officer (CO) James Zucchelli confirms the new hunting regulations implemented on June 15 cover all areas in Management Units 5-1 to 5-1 and 5-12 to 5-15.
The changes will also allow for the year-round trapping of wolves in Management Unit 5-1 to 5-1 and 5-12 to 5-14, with restrictions to leg-hold traps only from April 1 to Oct. 14.
This comes on the heels of another recent change when the province has assigned COs the responsibility for aiding ranchers, in response to the growing demand for predator control.
BC Trappers Association (BCTA) director and South Cariboo Trappers Association (SCTA) president Paul Blackwell says members on both boards have “serious concerns” with regulations that allow indiscriminate killing of wolves that may still be in whelping season.
“The [SCTA] as a whole feels this places wolves in the vermin category. Wolves have a value both to the environment and to the trapper, and taking wolves while there are pups in the den seems wrong.”
Board members also take issue with the killing of wolves in the summertime when the pelts don’t have any marketable value, Blackwell explains, and would simply be discarded.
Limiting the traps to leg-hold, which are typically scented specifically to attract only wolves, in the summer won’t eliminate the potential for accidentally trapping dogs, bears or other non-target wildlife, he adds.
“It’s far more humane to use a killing snare,” Blackwell says, adding he doesn’t suggest using those in the summer either.
The trapper says he is concerned about the public outcry that will result if pets are hurt or killed, and the shadow it would cast over the whole industry.
The year-round open season on trapping and hunting applies only to wolves, Zucchelli notes, so people need to understand killing other predating animals falls under the usual regulations.
Blackwell says his association is committed to helping the ranchers deal with problem wolves that are preying on livestock, and prefers government only relax the rules for that, and not for anyone to kill any wolf.
“We don’t have a problem with the COs going out and doing the mitigation on problem wolves. We support that.”