Wildlife Act amended to encourage new hunter recruitment

Regulatory amendments to the Wildlife Act make hunting more accessible to both youth and first-time hunters.

Hunting just became more accessible to both youth and first-time hunters with regulatory amendments to the Wildlife Act confirmed this week by Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson at the Oceola Fish & Game Club annual banquet.

The amendments benefit resident hunters through an expanded Youth Hunting Licence and a new Initiation Hunting Licence, both of which will be effective for the 2013-14 hunting season.

The changes to the Youth Hunting Licence now make it available for youth aged 10 to 17 years inclusive.

Previously, the age range of the Youth (‘junior’) Hunting Licence was 10 to 13 years. This change will make it easier for youth ages 14 to 17 to give hunting a try and to have more mentorship opportunities.

The amendments also create a new Initiation Hunting Licence, a mentoring licence that allows a person 18 years or older who has never previously held a hunting licence in B.C. to try hunting for a one-year period. It is a one-time-only licence.

Both licence options represent an opportunity for those new to hunting to try the experience with a limited commitment and under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

It is anticipated that the new licence options will promote hunting uptake among B.C. residents and provide another opportunity for families to get out and enjoy B.C.’s backcountry.

“Hunting will always be an integral part of the social fabric of British Columbia and these changes will help introduce a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts to this tradition,” said Thomson, the MLA for the Kelowna-Mission riding.

“The BCWF and our members are pleased to see the implementation of the expanded Youth Hunting Licence and new Initiation Hunting Licence. These changes will provide increased opportunities for youth to try hunting,” said Bill Bosch, president of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.