Hunter Safety Training Abandoned in BC

"Hunter Safety Training Abandoned in BC"

That's a more appropriate title for the misinformation piece printed in The Province newspaper titled "Seasoned hunter aghast at B.C. government's move to delay safety training for beginners".

If all you read was The Province's so-called "news report" you would conclude BC dropped all hunter safety training requirements and now happily sent children into the woods with loaded guns, no training and no supervision.

"Kids running wild in the woods with loaded guns!"

Can't you hear the screams now?

Quoting extremely selectively from the BC Hunting Synopsis the article says this.

"These changes will give youth and other new hunters an opportunity to find out if they enjoy hunting," Forests and Lands Minister Steve Thomson writes in the government's Hunting and Trapping Synopsis 2012-14, "before requiring them to go through the time and monetary commitment of taking hunter safety training."

Langley resident Phil West is identified in the article as "an experienced hunter."

"ARE THEY INSANE?!" he wrote The Province after reading about the policy shift.

"Giving a hunting licence to someone with no training or education in the sport and sending them into the forest with a loaded rifle!"

Phil West is quoted because his identification as a hunter and his uninformed outrage give Ian Austin's anti-hunting screed the one thing it lacks: legitimacy.

That Phil West didn't know what he was talking about is irrelevant. His usefulness was his identification as "hunter". His uninformed opinion merely a bonus.

The idea he"ll be sharing the woods with untrained kids as young as 10 scares the hell out of him.

"It boggles the mind to think that the government values revenue from licences over safety. So next season I guess I’ll be watching my back as well as the wildlife."

Phil West ought to get the facts instead of listening to biased drivel spouted in The Province. There are no kids as young as 10 running around the woods alone with guns.

What alleged reporter Ian Austin failed to include in the screed he passes off as reporting are those pesky little facts that make all the difference.

BC's government, whatever its faults may be, rightfully views hunters and their commitment to responsible game management as a valuable resource. That is a good thing. A very good thing.

The BC government wants to ensure we have more hunters. That’s also a good thing. The logical way to accomplish that goal is to make it easy for someone to decide if hunting is for them by experiencing it firsthand.

Oh, the horror!

Below is the entire page devoted to the changes in the latest BC Hunting Synopsis, but here are the relevant facts Ian Austin and The Province don't want you to know, and were pleased to discover hunter Phil West didn't know either.

  • An acknowledgement of responsibility signed by a parent or guardian is still required for all youth under 18 years of age. The youth licence is issued on behalf of the youth, but held by the parent or guardian.
  • All youth under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an experienced supervising hunter.
  • It [the Initiation Hunting License] is a one-time-only licence and requires that the person be accompanied by an experienced supervising hunter.
  • Accompanying Hunters Are Mentors
  • Both a youth licensed hunter and an initiation licensed hunter are required to be accompanied by an adult licensed hunter.
  • These proposed requirements for an accompanying hunter will be slightly more stringent than previously, however they aim to improve safety, facilitate an ideal learning environment, improve the chances of a successful hunt, and attract more seasoned hunters to mentor the new hunters. They are not intended to create barriers for participants.
  • Numerous studies have shown that it takes a hunter to make a hunter. Most people that become hunters do so under the tutelage of an older relative, usually their father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, or uncle or aunt.
  • The changes aim to increase recreational opportunities for you and others to hunt in BC, to keep hunting affordable for families and to increase hunter recruitment and retention.

Every person learning about hunting under this program MUST be accompanied by an experienced hunter. That experienced hunter is RESPONSIBLE for the individual they take into the woods. That means the experienced hunter MUST teach their charges about safe handling of firearms, game identification and all that goes along with the hunting experience.

Does that sound like Phil West's nightmare that he will "be sharing the woods with untrained kids as young as 10"?

No, it really doesn't.

But who cares about facts. All they do is get in the way of a good propaganda piece, don't they?

For those interested in learning those facts here is the relevant page of BC's Hunting Synopsis, page 15.

[hr]

SO, YOU WANT TO HUNT. GREAT IDEA!

British Columbia boasts a greater variety of game species than anywhere else in Canada and many of our opportunities are world class. Hunting is a popular and healthy recreational activity for many in the province.

Some upcoming changes to the hunting licensing program will make it easier and more affordable to start hunting in BC. These changes will give youth and other new hunters an opportunity to find out if they enjoy hunting, and to begin the social and participatory process of actually becoming a hunter, before requiring them to go through the time and monetary commitment of taking hunter safety training - the Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) course.

HUNTING LICENCE FOR YOUTH

The $7.00 junior licence currently available for youth aged 10 - 13 will be expanded soon to include youth aged 14 - 17 and will be renamed a "youth licence". This change will provide youth with the opportunity to try hunting without the requirement to take CORE. An acknowledgement of responsibility signed by a parent or guardian is still required for all youth under 18 years of age. The youth licence is issued on behalf of the youth, but held by the parent or guardian. As always, any youth who wants to take CORE and get their own regular hunting licence and bag limit entitlement can still do so. All youth under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an experienced supervising hunter.

INITIATION HUNTING LICENCE

A new initiation hunting licence is planned to be introduced in the near future. This new licence will allow a person 18 years or older who has never previously held a hunting licence in B.C. to try hunting for a period of time. It is a one-time-only licence and requires that the person be accompanied by an experienced supervising hunter. The cost of the initiation licence is still under review.

ACCOMPANYING HUNTERS ARE MENTORS

Both a youth licensed hunter and an initiation licensed hunter are required to be accompanied by an adult licensed hunter. An accompanying hunter must be a BC resident hunter 18 years of age or older who meets certain qualifications. Persons hunting under the youth licence or initiation licence will not have their own bag limit. Any wildlife killed by a youth hunter or initiation hunter will be included in the bag limit of the accompanying hunter. A maximum number may be set for either youth or initiation hunters, or both, that may be accompanied at the same time by one mentor hunter. These proposed requirements for an accompanying hunter will be slightly more stringent than previously, however they aim to improve safety, facilitate an ideal learning environment, improve the chances of a successful hunt, and attract more seasoned hunters to mentor the new hunters. They are not intended to create barriers for participants.

Numerous studies have shown that it takes a hunter to make a hunter. Most people that become hunters do so under the tutelage of an older relative, usually their father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, or uncle or aunt.

Those that come to hunting outside of a family setting usually do so in a manner that simulates the same path, such as befriending a hunter and becoming their protégé. People that are new to hunting need mentors and advice on how to safely pursue their new interest. Simply going hunting does not make an individual see themselves as a hunter. Becoming a hunter is a protracted learning and social process.

Advice on where to hunt and how to hunt can be difficult to obtain. New hunters need advice on where to hunt both in a general geographic sense and in the sense of being shown what type of habitat and terrain they should investigate for the species they seek.

The actual techniques of hunting must also be learned. Fundamentals of firearms care and use, wilderness survival and orienteering, hunting ethics, basic equipment, first aid and care of game meat must be understood in addition to the various techniques for stalking game.

These matters are covered in mandatory hunter education courses (e.g. CORE), but further study, especially under field conditions, is necessary in order to truly become a hunter. Generally, the acquisition of such skills requires a mentor.

The new initiative related to the licensing of youth and new hunters, including requirements for the accompanying hunter, are still being finalized. The changes aim to increase recreational opportunities for you and others to hunt in BC, to keep hunting affordable for families and to increase hunter recruitment and retention.

The new licences are expected to be available by April 1, 2013. Please check the Ministry website for updates www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/news/

 

 

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