Somehow the preservationists have yet again usurped the title of “conservationist” from those who are true conservationists – hunters. Conservation is the label given to those who believe in sustainable use of resources. Hunters, through paying fees for licenses and tags and membership in conservation groups, fund wildlife conservation efforts and game management. CORE, the province’s hunter safety program, is not called “Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education” without reason.
Conservationists believe that humans are part of nature, and not outside it. Preservationist philosophy pushes the view that humans are not part of nature, and as a conservationist, I firmly disagree with that outlook. It is the conservationist hunters and the Wildlife Branch that use science as a means of determining the numbers of grizzly and black bears in this province. The preservationists merely use alarmist rhetoric and false science.
What funds do preservationist groups spend to ensure a sustainable population of wildlife? None – their monies are spent on lobby campaigns to persuade opportunistic politicians that hunting is bad. These people are not interested in conservation, managing wildlife, or sustainable grizzly and black bear populations; they are interested in banning hunting.
Some preservationist camp people, whether aboriginal or not, claim that they see bear carcasses left in the bush with the head and paws removed. Anyone who sees a black bear carcass in that condition should call the Report A Poacher and Polluter program, because it is the law to remove black bear meat when the animal is harvested. Trophy hunting of grizzly bears helps to keep the aggressive animals in check – if you see the life of an individual person as more valuable than that of any animal, then hunting large predators is very important.
Conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited, Spruce City Wildlife, and the BC Wildlife Federation spend a great deal of effort and volunteer time funding habitat and other programs to ensure that there are sustainable populations of all wildlife for all of us to enjoy. Hunters pay for these programs, hunters pay for enforcement of the Wildlife Act, hunters pay to make sure these animals are out there. Hunting is an important part of the eco-system; hunting trims the aggressive animals and keeps populations in check. If you really want to keep a species viable, the best way is to support it through vigorous game management, including hunting. It is in the hunter’s interest to have game available year after year.
Perhaps Premier Campbell should talk to the experts in our provincial Wildlife Branch to understand better how the bear populations are managed before making hasty decisions about banning or otherwise limiting bear hunting for reasons that have nothing to do with game management and everything to do with politics. If he really wants to keep a sustainable population of these magnificent animals in British Columbia, he should learn from the conservation camp, not the preservationist one.
Hunter Safety Examiner #7007