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Kootenay East MLA criticizes hunting regulation changes

The B.C. government has introduced changes to hunting regulations across the province, but Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka feels that it will not be effective.

“The preservation of wildlife is first and foremost on everybody’s mind, whether you’re a hunter or not,” said Shypitka.

Shypitka specifically takes issue with limited entry hunt (LEH) rules regarding bighorn sheep.

“We want to encourage science-based decision making, and not emotionally based decision making, and I think that’s what this LEH is all about,” said Shypitka.

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Currently, hunters can only harvest bighorn sheep that have a full curl to their horns.

According to the B.C. government, bighorn sheep populations have been declining, and the Bighorn Sheep Harvest Management Procedure recommends closing the season if there are fewer than 75 bighorn sheep observed in any given herd.

Shypitka feels that this will be ineffective.

“We need funding to get us proper data, so we can make proper science-based decisions. There’s disease, predation, industry climate change and a whole host of things that are impacting our wildlife populations,” said Shypitka. “They’re using ‘the lazy leaver of regulation’ on just one segment of the population, the hunters.”

Shypitka noted that he will be tabling a private members bill on Wednesday related to hunting regulations.

The Kootenay East MLA has a few ideas that he feels would improve hunting regulations.

“We’ll need a proper funding model, that’s at arms-length from government, so 100 per cent of fees and licenses go back to wildlife,” said Shypitka. “We need an arms-length independent funding model so we can get that data.”

“We need regionalized decision making, we need people actually on the ground in those regions to make those decisions, not bureaucrats in Victoria making those decisions for us,” explained Shypitka. “We also need proper legislation that gives it teeth to put wildlife first and foremost.”

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