Wolverines, lynx and access management: Speak up on hunting regulation changes

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Posted in:  Conservation

Should special access be granted to areas closed to the public to protect wildlife values? Should the number of wolverine and lynx being trapped or hunted be reduced?

These questions are being asked in the proposed changes to hunting and trapping regulations in the Kootenays — changes that you can comment on until Friday, January 19th.

Closed area exemptions for trappers

Across the Kootenays, a few percent of our backcountry roads have some level of motorized access restriction. These restrictions are in place to maintain important wildlife habitat. The research on backcountry roads is clear: the more roads and the more people there are using those roads, the harder life is for our wildlife. For sensitive species like wolverines, caribou or grizzly bears, space to roam without humans and their motorized vehicles is crucial.

The proposed regulations would open up access closures to motorized use by trappers, including the Upper Elk Valley, the Galton Range slopes on the east side of Koocanusa, Alexander Creek north of Crowsnest Pass and the Holt and Lang Creek Valleys just east of Glacier National Park. This would bring these areas in line with other areas that already exempt trappers from motorized vehicle restrictions.

Wildsight recommends that Access Management Areas should apply to all backcountry users equally.

Wolverine trapping

Wolverines are solitary animals with huge ranges, who are sensitive to human activity, so there aren’t very many in the Kootenays. Studies are ongoing, but leading researchers tell us that wolverines shouldn’t be trapped in many parts of the Kootenays.

The proposed trapping regulations would shorten the wolverine trapping season and improve wolverine populations by reducing the number of wolverines killed.

Lynx hunting

Lynx, cats who almost exclusively eat snowshoe hares in the winter, are few in the Kootenays. Data on how many lynx there are is sorely lacking and management is tricky because lynx numbers can vary a lot from year to year in boom and bust cycles with their main source of food, the snowshoe hare.

The proposed regulations reduce the hunting season from six to four weeks, but solid data is lacking to guide regulation.

Have your say

The good news is that you can comment on these and other proposed hunting and trapping regulations until Friday, January 19th. You need a BCeID account to comment, which you can register for here.

After you’ve registered for you BCeID, you can click on these links to voice your support or opposition and leave comments on:

Please take 10 minutes to speak up for wildlife!