The province is proposing open season on wolves, but it’s the bureaucrats who seem scared.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources is considering letting hunters kill as many wolves as they want, at any time of year.
We know this because the ministry has put out feelers to Kamloops Fish & Game Club and B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.
In this hunting region — which stretches from northern Wells Gray Park south to Boston Bar, west to Gold Bridge country and east to Sicamous — the limit on wolves is three annually.
The ministry contacted the fish and game club for feedback on creating an open season.
The Daily News discovered the information and sought detail, but provincial bureaucrats refused to discuss it.
“It would be premature to discuss them in detail,” a ministry spokesman told The Daily News.
Premature? If government is making changes to hunting regulations why is it premature to discuss them in public?
And, while the fish and game club deserves a voice, why is it local hunters and cattlemen are apparently the sole voices early in the discussion?
What government PR people really mean when they say “premature” is they hope reporters and anyone else asking difficult questions will just go away so it can quietly make changes without incurring any public ire.
A document obtained by this newspaper found one of the rationales for increasing the wolf kill is the amount of time and resources expended by conservation officers to kill problem wolves near ranches.
Wolves are both an iconic symbol of the wild and predator of cattle as well as endangered mountain caribou.
In 2011, hunters killed 21 wolves in the region, a number that increased to 47 last year.
Thirteen more wolves were killed by conservation officers.
Anecdotally, ranchers and others say they are seeing more wolves during a time when mountain caribou are at risk from predation.
Increasing the number of wolves killed by hunters is a debate worth having. Government’s refusal to speak to the matter, however, is disturbing and flies in the face of Premier Christy Clark’s stated desire for open government.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.