As regulations for the 2020 hunting season are decided, Tom Shypitka, MLA for Kootenay East, has proposed a two-year ban on hunting whitetail doe to preserve the species.
Region 4, which covers Cranbrook and the south country of the East Kootenay, has a general open season on whitetail doe which has been in place since 2010, according to Shypitka.
“This came at a time where we felt the population was fairly healthy,” said Shypitka. “Since then, we’ve seen the whitetail die population plummet. To make matters worse, we don’t have an exact science to tell us how bad it is.”
Shypitka said he has been contacted by many residents who are concerned about the population decline.
“I’ve gotten hunters and recreators that are from all political stripes, whether you’re a Green, an NDP or a BC Liberal, it really doesn’t matter,” said Shypitka. “What really matters is putting wildlife first.”
Skypitka added that tighter regulations are needed as sometimes hunters may kill a doe if they don’t find what they are hunting for.
According to Skypitka, some businesses see the long-term benefits to the conservation efforts despite losses in the short-term. He said many people have been able to agree on this issue.
“Nothing brings people together more than a crisis, and this is a crisis,” said Shypitka. “We’re seeing all these different groups that are traditionally opposed to each other in one way or another actually come together on this. I would dare say I would have a solid 90% of the residents in this riding that would support this.”
The next step to get the moratorium in place is to draw the attention of the provincial government into funding the effort.
“We’re super natural British Columbia, I think the reason why people love this province so much is because of the diversity it has and wildlife is a big part of that. Its part of our back yards, its where we recreate, its why we live here,” explained Shypitka. “The preservation, the conservation of our wildlife is the right thing to do. This is something the government really has to take notice of, and I hope through this moratorium that the government will take notice.”