Limited entry hunting (LEH) is a lottery based management system used to organize the harvest of species in situations where there are too few animals and too many hunters. Currently the Wildlife Branch has different rules for resident and foreign hunters when it comes to obtaining LEH permits: Residents must enter a lottery draw, but foreigners (who are required to hire guide) can simply buy their way in. By eliminating the minister’s discretion to make separate rules for each group, this bill requires ALL hunters to enter a lottery for their LEH tags, as is done in other jurisdictions.
As it currently stands, residents may enter a lottery year after year and still not get drawn, while a non-resident can buy his or her way in every year if they want. This bill seeks to ensure certain groups do not have unfair access to LEH permits.
While people may wonder why we need a lottery system for non-residents when they are already restricted by the allocation split, it is worth noting that the split between permits allocated for resident and non-resident hunters is as high as 60% – 40% for some species. By comparison, Alberta sets non-resident allocations between 2-7 percent with a maximum of 10 percent and Washington State has limited non-resident wildlife allocations to approximately 5 percent. Non-resident hunters in B.C. are already getting a bigger share here than anywhere else in North America – and they are pay significantly less too. A non-resident hunter coming to B.C., for example, can buy a moose tag directly for $250.00 Canadian. In Washington State they would have to enter a draw and if their application got randomly selected they would have to pay $1,652.00 USD.
The price and availability of hunting permits is, of course, influenced by animal abundance and hunter demand. In B.C. compared to other jurisdictions in North America, however, they also seem to favour guide outfitters and their non-resident clientele over resident hunters. I tabled this bill today to reduce some of that unfair legislation.
Below I provide a video of my introduction along with its transcript. At the end i also include a copy of the proposed bill
A. Weaver: It’s my pleasure to introduce this bill — which, if enacted, would remove the minister’s ability to designate and exempt classes of applicants from having to enter lotteries or other methods of random selection when seeking limited-entry hunt permits. If enacted, these amendments would require all hunters to enter draws for their limited-entry hunt permits, regardless of resident, non-resident or non-resident alien designation, as is done in other jurisdictions.
As it currently stands, local hunters have to enter a lottery if they want to harvest an animal managed under the limited-entry hunt system, but out-of-province hunters can simply buy a permit for the same species and management unit area. Foreign hunters coming to B.C. already enjoy cheaper permits and greater allocation percentages than nearly every other jurisdiction in North America. It’s clearly unfair that they can buy their way into limited-entry hunts year after year, when British Columbians are left entering lotteries in the hopes of being granted the opportunity to harvest a public good in their home province.
The limited-entry hunt system is an important management and conservation tool. Its designation through the lottery system should be implemented across the board, mirroring other jurisdictions that require non-resident hunters to enter limited-entry hunt lotteries. Like every state in America, this legislation envisions a separate draw for local and out-of-province allocations.
I look forward to second reading of this bill. I move that this bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House.
THE WILDLIFE ACT [RSBC 1996] Chapter 488. The Act is amended by:
Section 16 of the Act is amended by striking out sections 16 (1) (b.1) and 16 (3)
Limited entry hunting authorization
16 (1) The minister, by regulation, may
(a) limit hunting for a species of wildlife in an area of British Columbia,
(b) provide for limited entry hunting authorizations to be issued by means of a lottery or other method of random selection among applicants,
(b.1) provide for exceptions that the minister considers appropriate to the random selection among applicants in conducting a lottery or other method of random selection among applicants under paragraph (b), and
(c) do other things necessary for the purposes of this section.
(2) An application fee collected under a lottery or other method referred to in subsection (1) must be paid into the general fund of the consolidated revenue fund.
(3) In making regulations under subsection (1), the minister may define classes of applicants and make different regulations for different classes of applicants.