Travel Ban Hurts BC Hunting


Published: October - 2003

E-mail Extra subscribers to this publication already know all about the backcountry travel ban that the Forest Ministry of British Columbia imposed upon all public lands in the entire bottom third of that province just as the archery elk season opened September 1. We alerted those subscribers the very day the ban was imposed. The Forest Ministry's action was due to wild fires and dangerously dry conditions throughout the region. The ban affected such important hunting areas as the Okanagan and the Kootenays. Thankfully, rain and cooler temperatures arrived in the area, and the ban was lifted by September 12, two days into the rifle elk season.

Nonetheless, the ban was simply disastrous for both outfitters and their clients. By the time the ban was imposed at the end of August, some hunters had already arrived for their hunts. We are told a number of outfitters in areas with more favorable conditions were able to receive exemptions from the ban and put hunters in the field. Others tried to shift their clients from provincial land hunts to private land. Reports we have received indicate that the hunting was tough, due to 90-degree heat and dry, brittle conditions. At least two operators had their exemptions revoked due to the continued conditions and had to cut their clients' hunts short. We've already received one complaint from a subscriber who felt his hunt should simply have been cancelled instead of being shifted to private land. Additionally, we have heard that local BC residents were angry that outfitters and hunters were allowed into the back woods at all, with some groups even threatening to block road access to hunting areas.

Most outfitters, according to Dale Drown of the Outfitter and Guides Association of British Columbia, put their clients on standby, communicating with them on a daily basis about the conditions and the ban. Some rescheduled their clients for later hunts or hunts in 2004. Others offered refunds. Because some had already purchased non-refundable airline tickets, one outfitter we spoke with said they offered to let clients stay with them as their guests........(continued)

 
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