The B.C. government is seeking public comment on proposed regulations that will adjust some of the hunting seasons in the Thompson and Okanagan regions.
Provincewide regulations are being proposed to disallow the use of infrared optics, scopes on crossbows during archery-only seasons and wireless-linked trail cameras during the fall hunting season.
There are currently no regulations preventing big game hunters in B.C. from using primitive or alternative weapons such as slingshots, spears and airguns; a proposed rule would make bows and firearms the only implements allowed for hunting big game.
Waterfowl hunters will likely be happy to hear that in Wildlife Management Region 8, which spans the Okanagan, a longer season is being proposed. The season for ducks and geese is currently open from Sept. 12 to Dec. 25. The proposed regulation would expand that from Sept. 23 to Jan. 7. The additional four days is to provide more hunting opportunity when the waterfowl are most common in the Okanagan.
Another change proposed for Region 8 is a harmonizing of seasons for non-native game birds: the chukar partridge, Hungarian partridge, pheasant and quail. The season dates and bag limits will remain status quo but the game birds will be fair game for hunters in any part of Region 8.
In both Region 8 and Region 3, which includes Kamloops, the Shuswap and the Clearwater area, a longer season on mountain goats is being considered. The season currently ends on Oct. 31. According to the proposed regulation, extending it through November will allow hunters to target the goats during their breeding season making differentiation between the male and female goats much easier. Harvest of males rather than females is important to the health of the goat population. The longer season applies to many of the mountainous goat-bearing wildlife management units in Region 3, and units 8-9 west of Penticton.
An adjustment is also being proposed for the no-hunting area in a portion of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. The stated objective is to make the boundary more easily interpreted by park users and more reflective of the parts of the park in high use by hunters and non-hunters.
Other changes being suggested for Regions 3 are further motor-vehicle closures near the site of the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire and changes to the Region 3 coyote season, opening it from Sept. 1 to June 30, the same dates as the season in Region 8.
Further information on all of the proposed hunting regulation changes is available at https://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/ahte/hunting. The comment period on most of the regulation changes is open until Jan. 17, 2020. Regulations that are adopted will be in effect from 2020 through 2022.