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October 28, 2017 1:11 am

Long Awaited Wildlife Habitat Report Released

Thursday, December 10, 2015 @ 4:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. –  MLA for Prince George- Mackenzie, Mike Morris,  has  completed his report on  wildlife habitat in the province,  a report which contains 18 recommendations.

(click on image at right to access full report)morrisreport

The report “Getting the Balance Right: Improving Wildlife Habitat Management in British Columbia”  was developed in the wake of the mountain pine beetle infestation  and the  upswing in timber harvesting. Morris was tasked with  looking at how the infestation and increased forestry activity  impacted wildlife habitat in the Interior.

Morris points out there is a delicate balance to be achieved between developing natural resources ( such as  forestry and mining) and maintaining healthy  ecosystems for  B.C.’s  wildlife, a natural resource which also contributes to the  well  being  of British Columbians.

Among his recommendations, Morris  believes the most important one  in his mind is the valuation of wildlife ” We do a great  job in putting a value on  fibre, precious metals, oil and gas, but  we do nothing to  indicate the value of wildlife and that’s a necessary  ingredient in determining how we develop our resources in a balanced and sustainable way”.

He calls for a new Wildlife management plan that  should start with  a  comprehensive wildlife inventory.  He also suggests the Province  develop a ‘real time ‘ reporting  system for hunters and trappers  to report  harvest results.

Morris recommends that in order to address the cumulative impacts of  development,   there be a  comprehensive review of all resource statutes “with a view to consolidation where it is determined to add value and benefit”.     That recommendation  isn’t gaining any traction with  the Minister in  charge, Steve Thomson,   who says consolidation of resource statues has been considered in the past “and found to be too cumbersome  for managing our diverse natural resources effectively”.

The report also calls for the Ministry to  “Harness the wisdom, talent and expertise of BC Wildlife practitioners in wildlife/habitat management”.  Morris says  these people have “decades of intimate knowledge  of the particular spatial area that their tenures cover, often spatial areas where they have fished, hunted, and resided. These unique individuals possess knowledge that will enhance the ability of government to accurately assess habitat, wildlife populations, and environmental changes associated to resource development and natural disturbances like forest fires and flooding.”

Morris also  calls for action to address ‘access management’  “With the amount of forestry activity  we’ve had over the past ten years to deal with the pine beetle, we’ve had  thousands of kilometres of access roads put in , which I think have had  led to overharvesting (of wildlife)  which I think contributed to the decrease in the moose  and deer populations across the province.”

He also  called for wildlife management areas  to be adjusted to  better reflect common geography and watersheds.

Morris says  he   was  very impressed with the oil and gas  sector, “I was expecting to  see a lot more degradation of the habitat,  but they have come a long way  in how they put in seismic lines and how   they do their work up there, with  single cleared areas serving up to 30 different wells on the one site, so they’ve done a lot of work which I was really surprised at, and my hat’s off to the oil and gas industry for being that progressive.”

Minister Thomson says  his Ministry  has  “several current and strategic and operational activities at varying stages of development that  correspond to recommendations in the report.”

He says  Government is already moving forward with  phase one of ‘hunter transformation’  that will  see a portion of the hunter registry and licencing  moved to an electronic system  in the coming year.  The second phase will  see  enhanced collection and storage of harvest  data.


After the screwing of the resident hunter in favour of the Liberal-friendly (think $$$) guide outfitters association last year it’s pretty tough to take anything the Liberals say with respect to wildlife seriously. They’ve even managed to corrupt that.

He thinks thousands of kilometers of access roads has led to over harvesting??? Really, is this supported by harvesting statistics they collect from licensed hunters? Or is that just a popular conception?

Declines in moose and deer populations couldn’t possibly have anything to do with them spraying herbicides everywhere and killing all the feed? (Destroyed habitat) And of course the excessive amount of predators (bears and wolves) don’t effect anything either I suppose?

For the moose in this area it is the loss of feed, namely willow. In areas where moose densities are good there are good numbers of moose. Region 7-11 for example you are hard pressed to see willow in an amount that can support traditional population levels.
Access due to more bush roads!!! Have to call BS on that one as normal folks are allowed a tag or a LEH opportunity so the numbers of animals harvested are regulated for us. Of course there are other factors that are reflected in the available numbers.

Jim, you make a good point. Before we get to hard riding Mike Morris on this. I think he is the best man for this project, he is a wild life enthusiast, as well as a trapper. So if any one that could get a good handle on this will be him. Unfortunately, he did not make the decision to favor the guides, that was done by a pencil pusher.

Hunting in this region, is important revenue source for a lot of people. Most hunters are unsuccessful. Most hunters spend thousands of dollars to get that chance to hunt. I would rather see 20,000 local hunters trying to get Bullwinkle, than a hand full of fat lazy Americans coming up here. Economy wise, we would be better. I also believe that most hunters in the region plays by the rules. They are concerned about the future of the wildlife.

I want our woods bountiful with wildlife. If that means culling down the wolf population, that just needs to be done.

If we need to deactivate the bush roads. than that is what we have to do, to give the animals a chance to repopulate.

While I agree with all of the points brought up in the above posts, I must also add to this the first nations harvest. I have witnessed on many occasions over the years, first nations hunters take pregnant cows. I have also seen cows taken and young calves left to fend for themselves. First nations are permitted to hunt to their hearts content without restriction. Even when the are proven to be harvesting animals unethically (this covers a range of various scenarios) nothing can or will be done by CO’s. In the last 6 yrs of hunting, between 4 members of my family only 2 moose have been taken. One first nations hunter that I know has taken 3 moose this season alone! His son recently bragged about taking down a cow and a calf. So 5 moose between father and son alone in one year.
I believe this situation warrants serious consideration along with the other points brought up as well. If need be, the govt could ban ALL harvesting of declining species for a few years and that would be OK with me. As long as the bans and restrictions applied to everyone (FN included).

I have said the same thing in the past, that the hunting regulations/laws should apply to everyone, FN included, but the sad fact is, that will never happen. The gov’t has already agreed with FN that they have the right to hunt for sustenance on thier traditional lands. The big problem is that no one is regulating or specifying what “sustenance” means. In alaska, for example, every citizen has the right to apply for sustenance hunting, BUT, there is still a limit as to what they can harvest. I have known a few people here who live remote and off-grid who have applied for sustenance hunting and the hoops and criteria you need to qualify, if you are non-native, are so convoluted and strict that it is virtually impossible to qualify. So in my opinion have these double standards if an open invitation to some to simply poach. And poaching is probably one of the biggest problems in sustaining wildlife populations that just about anything. Even if wolves have an impact, the life cycle of nature will eventually balance that out. Only when humans get involved does there seems to be a problem that needs to be fixed.

So in my opinion have these double standards if = So in my opinion having these double standards is

When your seeing more black bears than moose there IS an over population of predators…..

Why has no one mentioned CN RAIL and the thousands of moose, deer, elk, etc that they kill ever year. They used to post the numbers that were taken by train. Why don’t they anymore. Because the numbers would be way to high and the hunters would realize what is talking out our population.

I like his idea of a comprehensive wildlife inventory…but how are they going to pay for that when they can’t even keep enough game wardens in the bush? It wasn’t that long ago that fish and game clubs were raising money to buy the game wardens gas so they could do patrols.

Get a handle on predator control, culling of wolves, feeding programs for spring bears to leave the calving ruminates alone. Last but not least maybe most important of all is our rail ways. These trains are devastating on our moose population. More improved snow clearing down the rail lines with improved escape alleys. I almost hate to say it but bringing back the cyanide program might be the way to go. WOLVES have got to go.

You got that right doneright . Every heavy snow fall is followed by a slaughter that most would be amazed by . The trains also kill porcupines , bears , sheep , goats , wolves and every kind of bird that feed on the carrion from Eagles to crows . The carnage IMHO dwarfs all other causes . It’s year round but winter is more than ugly .

Careful about mentioning native hunting. They are the stewards of the environment after all.

Does that make the Whiteman the exploiter of the environment? Because you can bet your patootee the Whitman has done far more damage to the environment than the stewards could ever have imagined. :-)

Jim13136, maybe they can start a program much like the avalanche reporting system. Users report activity (wildlife), eventually a picture emerges of areas frequented by outdoor enthusiasts. Ice, wolves are a small part of declining moose populations. Other ungulates returning to their feeding areas, habitat loss, food sources being depleted are also causes. As for cyanide?? WTF?? Yeah, because we know only wolves would ingest poisoned food sources, jeez.

He spoke, yer absolutely right, good common sense posts. Mike has a lot of common sense and it shows. These logging roads have opened up a huge area, for hunting, that was only accessed by the walking hunters. Now it’s trucks and ATV’s. And, one of my early jobs was putting moose out of their misery after being hit by trains. That should have changed years ago, but nothing has, sad to say. CN should be forced to buffalo fence all their lines, but the expense, well, shall I say, Pipe dream?
Detoe, there are a hell of a lot more wolves out there and they definitely need a cull, don’t care how just do it. And when nine bears can be taken in a 2000 acre area, they need a cull as well.
Backfill all the skid roads, get back to packing the animal out, keep the ATV’s out of the bush, get some exercise for a change. Nothing gives me more of a chuckle than folks all dressed to the nines in their camo gear driving around all day or quadding. Moose might not be able to see the hunter, but they can sure hear and see the vehicles. Have no doubt that pushes them away. Do we need to do away with moose season for 5 years?
Might have to.
My last point, aboriginal hunters are usually feeding a number of families, not just themselves.
Hey, just my opinion, but I’ve been a hunter for a while.

Grizzly, yes there are more wolves out there. Why? That is something not often addressed. Predators follow prey population cycles, less prey, less predators. So what are all these wolves eating? Killing wolves & other alpha predators will not solve any problems, getting to the root cause will. Just my opinion but I’ve hunted, hiked, climbed, ski’d most of my life.

“aboriginal hunters are usually feeding a number of families, not just themselves.” – so why can’t we feed “several” families too then?

No mention of Elk. Seems to me that there are a lot of elk in North Central BC. They never used to be here in any numbers. Some people would say that they were brought in by the Government from Alberta.

So are there more wolfs because there are more elk??? Do the elk force out the moose???

I don’t have any of the answers, however I am sure some people on this site may have some views about elk.

The pengelum swings back and forth between the deer and moose caused by the brain worm . Not sure how the elk fit in . With the brain worm size really matters .

If anything elk would compete with deer more so than moose, since moose are browsers and deer and elk are grazers, therefore elk don’t compete with moose for food since they eat different food.

Grizz2 said: “Backfill all the skid roads, get back to packing the animal out, keep the ATV’s out of the bush, get some exercise for a change. Nothing gives me more of a chuckle than folks all dressed to the nines in their camo gear driving around all day or quadding.”



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