Expansion of Elephant Hill ATV Hunting Closure

Regulation Number: 
2020-03-02
Status: 
Decided
Region: 
Region 3 - Thompson
MU: 
3-17
3-28
3-29
3-30
Regulation Type: 
Motor Vehicle Restrictions
Species: 
All
Closing Date: 
January 19, 2020 at midnight
Decision Statement: 

This regulation was approved as proposed and is included in the 2020-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis.

Current Regulations: 

During the period September 1 to December 10 inclusive, in M.U.s 3-28, 3-29 and 3-30 and that portion of M.U. 3-17 north of Highway 99.

Proposed Regulations: 

During the period September 1 to December 10 inclusive, in M.U.s 3-28, 3-29, 3-30 and that portion of M.U. 3-17 north of Laluwissin and Murray Creek.

Rationale: 

Regional biologists acquired mule deer population demographic information during a 2019 aerial survey. Regional biologists classified over 2,000 deer. Buck: doe ratio within the Elephant Hill fire boundary were below the recommended Provincial target of 20 bucks per 100 does. Moose populations as determined through stratified random block surveys within adjacent units note a 15% population decline.

The summer of 2017 represented one of the most extensive wildfire seasons in British Columbia’s history. The Elephant hill wildfire encompassed nearly 200,000 hectares. Fire suppression activities created access into regionally important mule deer and moose habitats that had previously been inaccessible by motor vehicles. Vulnerability of animals to harvest is expected to be high as they recolonize the burn prior to the establishment of adequate cover. Increasing hunting pressure within these MUs in consideration of increased access poses long-term wildlife management challenges such as maintaining population objectives.

To address the concerns related to increased access and consequent wildlife vulnerability post wildfire, the Province enacted an ATV for Hunting closure within the borders of the Elephant Hill fire and adjacent Management Units. Adjacent MUs, and areas outside the fire perimeter, were included in the closure to mitigate concerns related to shifting ATV based hunting pressure (the “waterbed effect”).

Indigenous communities in the vicinity of the Elephant Hill fire are concerned about increased ATV based hunting pressure within the Hat Creek watershed, an important location to exercise their Aboriginal Rights to hunt for sustenance and just outside the current ATV for Hunting prohibited area. There are concerns that the waterbed effect has resulted in increased ATV based hunting in the watershed and negatively impacting Indigenous Peoples access to wildlife for sustenance.

Additional Information: