British Columbia BHA Spring 2016 Update

The BC Chapter had a busy winter. We hosted the Hunting Film Tour at Cranbrook’s Key City Theatre on Feb. 27. This is our chapter’s annual fundraiser and membership drive event and an opportunity to promote BHA values to hunters in our area. Thank you to Committee Chair Alan Duffy and his committee members for another outstanding BC BHA event.

We doubled our attendance from last year with a crowd of 280 people, including many young hunters. Our fundraising swag included 2 rifle packages, a compound bow deal, a fly fishing package, clothing, archery targets and smaller items. We flooded the place with BHA door prizes, so there were a lot of winners in the crowd. After expenses we added another $5,000 to our coffers and another 20 new members to our growing chapter, making our annual fundraiser and membership drive a shining success.

We are involved in the Urban Deer Translocation Pilot Project as we investigate an alternative to culling urban deer in the communities of Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere and Elkford. With declining mule deer populations on their traditional ranges, this option could become a win-win for mule deer and human/wildlife conflicts.

BC BHA is actively lobbying to create an access management compliance and enforcement officer or access guardian position in the Cranbrook/Kimberley area. The Elk Valley is in the seventh year of this successful program. Expanding it should increase the level of management on established access management areas and non-motorized recreation areas, as well as public and user group acceptance. This program has turned what was perceived as a negative issue into a conservation success story in the Elk Valley. AMAs, which were established to protect critical habitat and vulnerable wildlife, are being recognized as the best places to hunt and fish in both the backcountry and the front country. We have met with our legislative assembly member Bill Bennett. Thank you to Pam Cowtan, Rocke Robertson, Mike Gall, Jim Campbell and their committee who launched this important initiative.

Our chapter is in the process of developing over the coming year an Outdoor Access Guide, associated with the Access Guardian program. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel since the Elk Valley program has published an informative guide with a format that we would like to remain consistent in design and information.

Special guest speakers this winter included member and biologist Bob Jamieson, who presented “Predator/Prey Dynamics in the East Kootenay.”

We have scheduled monthly meetings the second Tuesday of each month at the Heritage Inn in Cranbrook at 7 p.m. To encourage and promote attendance, we draw monthly for some cool BHA swag. Thanks, everyone, for keeping up the good fight.

-Bill Hanlon

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