VOHRINGER: Trophy hunters targeted in election propaganda  

By on April 25, 2017
Grizzly bears have become an unlikely centre of attention during this provincial election campaign.(Jupiterimages/Thinkstock).

In recent weeks, the NDP and BC Green Party candidates have been seen on the campaign trail discriminating against trophy hunters. Meanwhile, the mainstream media is falling over itself pandering to the anti-hunting agenda.

Darren DeLuca, Liberal candidate for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, has been made the whipping boy of anti-hunters, NDP and BC Green party. What is his crime? He is the vice-president of the Guide Outfitter Association of BC which received last month a $60,000 donation from the Safari Club International (Editor’s note: Safari Club International is a pro-hunting lobbying group based out of Arizona).

That seems to be a good enough reason to unleash a discrimination campaign against him. Naturally, the outraged anti-hunting movement makes no mention of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they receive from foreign interest groups to finance their protest campaigns and anti-hunting advertisements in the media.

In last week’s newspapers, including the Merritt Herald, advertising appeared from an unnamed group, claiming that “78 per cent of people in Fraser-Nicola oppose the trophy hunting of grizzly bears.” 

For years hunters have been portrayed as villains that will do anything to satisfy their “urge to kill.” Trophy hunters are especially vilified, described as “trigger happy” individuals that are a detriment to wildlife and society. In some extreme cases hunters are described as “sociopaths” that should be locked up for the safety of society. This targeted mass discrimination and dehumanization against a group of people has shaped the opinions of a largely ignorant population.

With all the hype and falsehoods you’re told about trophy hunting let me provide you with some facts. Trophy hunting, or any form of hunting for that matter, is not a detriment to the grizzly bear populations. The current estimate of B.C.’s grizzly bear population stands at over 15,000 animals; that is a much higher number than at any time in recorded history. This matches what hunters, anglers and other frequent outdoor enthusiasts report about seeing more grizzly bears, even in areas where they never have been seen before. In addition, grizzly bears attacking humans and livestock have sharply risen over the past few years.

All this information tells us that grizzly bears are not adversely impacted by hunting; in fact their population is thriving. This is partly because of the grizzly bear conservation/management program the government put in place to ensure the bears survival is secured far into the future. Indeed, our province’s grizzly bear conservation/management program has been lauded by biologists worldwide as exemplary.

What is a trophy hunter? Not what you’ve been told. Trophy hunters are very selective in what animals they hunt. Often a trophy hunter will go hunting for many years without taking any animals, all the while paying annual dues that are legally required to hunt. The trophy hunter looks for an older animal, and with that he actually makes a good contribution to wildlife management. Older animals do not take active part in the breeding process anymore, but they will attempt to prevent any younger males from taking over.

Bears especially are known for killing every younger male entering their territory. With that said, taking these animals out of the population ensures that young males can take over which ensures new healthy grizzly bear offspring. Finally, trophy grizzly bear hunting makes up less than one percent of all grizzly bear hunting activity with the overall hunt being around two per cent, yet it provides the province with over $120 million and an estimated employment of 2,000 people.

The question I ask you: is it really appropriate of the NDP and BC Greens to discriminate against — even vilifying — a relatively small group of people that have no adverse impact on the grizzly bear population? As I stated a few times in my columns over the years, it is a fact that hunters, including foreign and domestic trophy hunters, make the biggest financial contribution to wildlife conservation and in addition are the most active group in providing volunteer work through various organizations to ensure future generations can enjoy wildlife and pristine nature.

It is shameful behaviour of the NDP and BC Green party to engage in the same discrimination and hype propaganda anti-hunters use, in the hope to gain votes.

Othmar Vohringer lives in the Nicola Valley. He is an animal behaviourist and outdoor writer for hunting magazines in Canada and the U.S.

12 Comments

  1. Bryan W

    April 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Mister Vohringer, thank you for a well written and researched article.
    Sadly, those on the left are not swayed by fact and detail, but rather by emotion and falsehood.
    But with luck, your message will be heard and the shaming the leftists and progressives consistently deploy will prove a tactic that has lost its power and impact.

  2. John Marriott

    April 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

    What a load of hooey. So many half-truths and flat-out lies in there that it’s not even worth tackling if it weren’t for the fact some people actually believe this guy and what he writes. Anyways, same old arguments, same old bs. For instance, his final two paragraphs are full of complete fabrications: “Finally, trophy grizzly bear hunting makes up less than one percent of all grizzly bear hunting activity with the overall hunt being around two per cent, yet it provides the province with over $120 million and an estimated employment of 2,000 people.” What does that even mean? What is he trying to claim, that grizzly bear hunting provides the province with $120M? 2,000 jobs? C’mon Othmar, sprinkle the odd fact in there, please.

    And while we’re at it, let’s keep ‘hunting’ and ‘trophy hunting’ separate, because they are entirely different things. Stop justifying the killing of grizzly bears so some doctor in Alabama can have a rug on his floor and a head on his wall. Most ‘antis’ as you trophy hunters like to call us, are big supporters of general hunting to put food on the table, so let’s not cloud the issue and try to lump this in as us advocating against hunting in general. There is no thin edge of the wedge here, other than the one you’re trying to create.

    There are honestly so many holes in your argument that I could write a book on it, but this final statement really got my goat, too: “it is a fact that hunters, including foreign and domestic trophy hunters, make the biggest financial contribution to wildlife conservation.” Again, complete BS, let’s see one shred of proof of this. That used to be the case in the 1950s, for instance, but today non-hunters put far more into conservation than hunters do. But don’t believe me on that, let’s look at the science: http://www.nrwm.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Smith-Molde-Wildlife-Funding-spreadsheet-Rev-F2-19Jun15.pdf Let’s look at grizzly bear conservation specifically, shall we? For 2017, the HCTF (funded from hunting licenses) is funding four grizzly bear research projects in BC for a total of $101K. Also in 2017, the Brown Bear Research Network (funded entirely by bear viewers) is funding $100K of grizzly bear research. This is just one of dozens of conservation organizations working with grizzly bears in BC that is not funded by hunters, but rather, by bear lovers and bear viewers (Pacific Wild, Raincoast, Valhalla, etc, etc).

    I urge everyone in BC to please educate yourself on the facts, not on the age-old arguments brought up time and time again by trophy hunters and their advocates that only care about killing, not about hunting to put food on the table.

    • Bob Milligan

      April 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

      John Marriot, you are quoting a US study . Doesn’t even have anything to do with BC. You get your facts straight. Everything the writer said is true. I work for a native owned outfitting company and yes we trophy hunt. It puts native peoples to work. Do you have any idea how some of these people live. They don’t have the luxuries that you and me have, they just want food on the table. So yes we contribute way more than you leaf lickers.

    • Timothy Martindale

      April 29, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Thank you very John, I’ll support you any time I’m a firm believer in all you’ve said and points you’ve raised.

      Hopefully with more people like you, we can put an end to this slaughter. Hunting for needed food I understand and will always support. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the “PRO” here have copies of Bruce Willis’ lethal Weapon in their movie collections.

  3. Audrey McClure

    April 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I’m not buying any of it and hopefully the majority of BC residents won’t either!

  4. Bud Croom

    April 27, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I’ve tried for over 50 years to explain that hunters are actually animal lovers and do more for animals and the environment than any group. Yes that includes environmental groups. Look at the numbers

  5. Carson Nutting

    April 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Great article full of FACTS.
    John Marriott’s comment is consistent with his reputation as an anti hunting/lobbying Buffoon, continues to exceed its self.

  6. Heinz Schmid

    April 27, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Well said Othmar!

    There could be a lot more money allocated to the wildlife Conservation if the Liberal government is allocating all of the hunting and fishing licence fees towards Wildlife Management and funding for programs like the vaccination of wild Bighorn sheep and prescribed burns to create a thriving environment for all wildlife.

  7. Chris Alemany

    April 28, 2017 at 7:47 am

    BAN the trophy hunting of Grizzly Bears.
    GIVE BACK hunting rights to British Columbia hunters.
    BAN Union, Corporate and Foreign (indirect or not) donations to campaigns.
    LIMIT Personal and Society contributions to $1000.
    STRENGTHEN CONFLICT OF INTEREST LEGISLATION so that MLAs and Provincial Candidates must follow the same Conflict of Interest, Inside Influence and Outside Influence rules as local government politicians. (By those rules, in my opinion, Deluca is in conflict both in terms of being a VP on the Board of GOABC and in terms of personal pecuniary interest as a Guide Outfitter himself)

    None of the above limits legitimate hunting for food by BC residents (and in fact it would increase it)

  8. Jill Coster

    May 4, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    “All this information tells us that grizzly bears are not adversely impacted by hunting; in fact their population is thriving. ”
    First of all, you moron, the grizzly bears that have been killed are certainly adversely impacted – they are dead. Populations are NOT thriving, they are declining. In some small pockets where the bears have been driven due to human impacts on territory there are more gathered, but across the board, across the province, they are in decline. Why don’t you guide wealthy people to take pictures rather than killing a magnificent animal for bragging rights and a head to hang on the wall? Your business is vested in making money on killing, thereby reducing your future chances of making money on a declining product. Instead, why don’t you leave the product alone and make money on showing the world our beautiful province and guding people to take pictures of these creatures?

  9. glen rutherford

    May 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    the Americans should go hunt their own grizzly bears.. oh but they killed all of them already, so yea this makes great sense..

    • Othmar

      May 22, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      @ Glen Rutherford. Alaska alone has an estimated grizzly bear population of over 30,000 and another estimated population of 2,000 in Colorado (the most southerly grizzly bear range. As you can see grizzly bears in the USA are far from “killed all of them already” or even threatened.

      It is perfectly okay to be against grizzly bear hunting, or any form of hunting for that matter. However, I recommend trying to use facts to make an argument, not fiction.

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