A look at wildlife management throughout the province is needed due to an overabundance of predators.
That according to General Manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, Kevin Boon.
“Yes it is impacting us,” Boon said.
“But really the bigger focus has to be on what are these predators are doing to the wildlife populations, and we know the population of the moose has really declined-we’ve seen that we’ve seen First Nations really concerned about that and putting programs in place.”
Boon said when that food supply is not there, that is how predators such as wolves turn to cattle.
He said in a typical year they will get about 1,000 head throughout the province that is reported killed by wolves, although that is a small percentage of the actual number that they do lose to predator losses.
“The big problem here and the big issue is that we’re not doing our job at the top of the food chain to protect the bottom of the food chain that being the deer, the moose, and the smaller animals and so they turn to our cattle,” Boon said.
“We expect some losses but they’re heavier than anticipated. There has to be something done to manage the numbers on a bigger scale or we’re never going to see recovery of a caribou herd or the moose herd or anything else because they’re going to turn to feed on something else and that is our cattle so what we have to do is we have to manage the numbers according to their food supply and that food supply needs to go to their traditional needs, and that would be more of the deer and moose there.”
Boon adds the Cattlemen’s Association has some issues with bears as well.
“Bears are a little easier for us to manage around and we don’t have near the problem with bears, but as we see population start to grow we can expect to have more of the problems with them as well.”
As for any group claiming to have launched sport hunting contests to support ranchers, Boon said the BC Cattlemen’s Association has not been contacted or is being endorsed by them in ‘any shape or form’.
“However in saying that we have an overabundance of predators out there, and if we stop and look at the impact that is having on the wildlife we really have to take a look at the wildlife management that is happening throughout the province.”
(Editor’s Note: Listen to General Manager of the BC Cattlemen’s Association, Kevin Boon in the audio file below)