Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Camo-Clad B.C. Hunters Pitch Tent at Legislature, Bring Hounds, Make Duck Calls

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Camo-Clad B.C. Hunters Pitch Tent at Legislature, Bring Hounds, Make Duck Calls

Article excerpt

B.C. hunters set up camp at legislature

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VICTORIA - Camouflage-wearing hunters set up camp Monday at the British Columbia legislature in an attempt to shoot down big-game hunting quotas they say wrongly favour guide-outfitters and rich out-of-province hunters.

Roughly 300 hunters pitched a tent at the legislature and their cheers were accompanied by duck calls and the howls of their hunting hounds. Many hunters carried anti-government placards with slogans such as Hands Off My Meat and Resident Hunters First.

Hunters from B.C. are angry about the province's plans to update its big-game quotas, which would increase the number of animals allocated for non-residents at the expense of those who live in the province.

The protesting hunters immediately gained the support of politicians from all three opposition parties -- the New Democrats, Greens and Conservatives -- who lined up to attack the governing Liberals.

"This policy reduces opportunities for resident hunters and increases opportunities for non-resident hunters," said Opposition NDP Leader John Horgan.

"Let's start with B.C. first."

The provincial government said of the more than 49,000 animals harvested annually in B.C., about 7,550 are big game animals that are controlled through an allocation system. Of those 7,550 animals, 6,200 are allocated to B.C. hunters and 1,350 to non-resident hunters.

Under the new allocations, 6,140 animals would go to resident hunters and 1,410 to guide-outfitters -- essentially adding 60 to the guide-outfitters' allocation while taking the same number away from resident hunters.

When the quota changes were initially proposed late last year, the province planned to shift more than 100 animals to the guide outfitters. The numbers were amended to the current proposal last month.

The government said the new quotas are fair and balanced and were the result of years of ongoing talks with hunters, wildlife organizations and guide outfitters. …

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