BC Wildlife Federation believes that when it comes to wildlife, conservation is first and foremost.

BCWF PRESS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2009

 

BC Wildlife Federation believes that when it comes to wildlife, conservation is first and foremost. 

 

Vancouver, BC –  Anti-bear-hunting activists are using the low salmon returns and anecdotal perceptions that there are fewer bears this year in order to call for a stop to the bear hunt.  According to BC Wildlife Federation, these claims are remiss of appropriate scientific-based research.

 

Mel Arnold, President of BC Wildlife Federation which represents 35,000 hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists, stated during a live interview on CBC Almanac today that the real “figures show that the bear population can support a sustainable harvest.” 

 

Arnold points out that, in actuality, bear sightings and activity reached its highest level last year with nearly 21,000 reports being received by the Conservation Officer Service.

 

These reports have been growing yearly for the past number of years and the rate has been climbing sharply over the past 4 years.  2008 was a good year for bears and most reached their dens healthy and fat.  Furthermore, anecdotal reports indicate high birth rates with litters of 3 – 4 cubs.

The following observations from the provincial Bear Aware program are noted with the office monitoring the changes in bear movement and behaviour throughout this summer:

 

Bear and human conflict calls are down dramatically all over the province.

It has been an unusually hot and dry summer.

There have been many large forest fires with smoke from those fires traveling hundreds of miles.  These fires and the resulting smoke may have been enough to change the moving patterns of several wildlife species as fewer moose for example are being reported in the lower valleys and river bottoms this summer, not just bears.

 Numerous reports from experienced hunters and conservationists are that bear encounters and sightings have been occurring in the higher elevations this summer.  Provincial and National Parks in the high elevations have been reporting lots of bear sightings, and BCWF members have personally corroborated these observations, reporting “there are more bears this summer than in any other year and all my sightings have been in the high elevations”.  Most of these sightings have been of grizzlies. 

Berry crops have been reported to be the best in decades in the mid to upper elevations throughout the province.  People picking berries for preserves and baking have been reporting the best berry picking in years from numerous sources around the province.

No one needs to be told that valleys bottoms have been dry and parched.  Not the kind of habitat one would expect to see many bears in.

There have been no reports coming in to any agencies or groups of bear’s carcasses being found.

 

We are most likely experiencing one of those freak phenomena’s due to weather, excellent berry crops and forest fires that have forced bears and other animals to change their movement patterns.  This is what makes these animals so unique, they have the ability to adjust to difficult circumstances in order to survive.

 

Arnold further asserts, “It certainly is unwise and irresponsible to make the assumption that bears are dying off without proper observation data and scientific evidence”.

 

Are You a Hunting Widow?

I just got this sent to me from a wife of a hunter….

 

I’m a Hunting Widow.

I dated a hunter that used all the hunting tactics any good man uses to get a “good one”… He put up an automatic feeder (Saturday night dinner dates complete with flowers or cards) to entice me to hang around.  He would rattle deer horns and use his best deer calls (phoning me at work, to let me know he was “thinking of me.” Calls at night when you talk for hours about nothing).  It was great.  I was a complete deer in the headlights.  I could not look away.  So I did what any girl would do… I married him.

I married a man who told me he liked to go hunting.  I said that was nice.  That was the end of our conversation. 

Since I did not come from a family of hunters, I didn’t know what I was marrying into.  I had no idea that statement was to clarify many seasons, nights, weekends and days alone.

In our first week of marriage we moved from a big city to a small town.  He unloaded all our belongings into our first apartment, carried me over the threshold and kissed me – it was so romantic.  I couldn’t wait to open to our beautiful wedding gifts and decorate our new love nest.  Our cabinets were filled with our sparkling new china and the linens were neatly folded and put away.  I laid the fresh doormat out for our first guest to wipe their feet.  It was so exciting.  While I was unpacking to start our new lives, my husband was packing as well.  Little did I know at sunrise it was the all important, the official, “Opening Day of Hunting Season.”  There I was surrounded by boxes and wrinkled newspapers as he announced with the excitement of Christmas morning that he would be leaving for his first big hunt of the season on what was my sixth day of marital bliss.   What entered my mind was the rewarding career, friends and life that I had traded to be abandoned.   I changed my name, my life and my plan and found myself second place to a family tradition that was in his blood.  I was in Shock. 

I screamed.  I yelled.  I cried.  I did what any young, new, bride would do… went a little crazy.  I pleaded with my husband, “help me understand!”  He looked down at me as I begged him not to go. Through my tears and devastation I heard justification that still haunts my very soul, “all the old men at the deer lease say that I shouldn’t worry if you’re upset now because someday you’ll be glad when I go hunting, they said someday you’ll even pack my stuff for me and won’t even miss me.”  With that he shut the door as my tears fell to the floor.  I had become a hunting widow, instantly.

Ten years later as our wedding anniversary fell on opening day of deer season I was still in second place, but with flowers and a sweet card. What I wanted was a nice romantic weekend away from kids and daily life. Maybe I didn’t yell my request loud enough because now he and his father are enjoying each others company on a nice four day weekend away from kids, daily life, and relaxing by the campfire telling hunting bedtime stories.  

Yes, this is year #10 and in those years I have learned many things about my husband and his mistress that is the great outdoors.

I have seen my husband actually set up an automatic feeder, and camera to photograph animals in their natural setting. This same being will rarely hold a camera in his own living room to photograph his wife and children in their natural setting.  He can also sit quietly in a deer stand waiting, watching and looking at nothing – hoping for a glimpse of something, yet will not sit quietly to enjoy or have me enjoy an on stage performance, such as a movie or play. 

Most of all I’ve learned that he was right, I don’t miss him.  I do enjoy the peace and quiet those wise old hunters spoke of. I relish not cooking a big dinner, getting the kids to bed early, and watching TV that   does not include gunfire and death to deer.  Ironically my husband has learned that he misses his family more and for some reason it gets harder for him to leave every time.  For our anniversary next year he asked if we could spend time alone – I said sure – Go Hunting and you can be alone…I have a babysitter, suitcase, swimsuit and  girls weekend planned. You’ll get a postcard. 

 

If you are a hunting widow and have a story to tell, please send it to imahuntingwidow@gmail.com 

 

May God bless you with a peaceful hunting season.

 

Kelli McCarty 

www.imahuntingwidow.com