Sponsors defend Fort St. John wolf hunt contest

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

The club states that by reducing wolf populations by hunting, it intends to "reduce both agricultural and wildlife losses".

"Residents in the Peace Region are routinely seeing packs of 15-25 wolves up here," it writes. "Wolves are effective and opportunistic predators that have had serious impacts on livestock, on the abundance of wildlife,and on domestic pets near urbanized areas."
It maintains that the distribution and abundance of wolves in the region is growing, partially due to increasing development in the area.
"It appears wolves are benefiting from large scale landscape alterations that have modified wildlife habitat in some areas. These changes can reduce cover for wildlife and at the same time increase access for wolves due to roads, seismic lines, and other linear developments. This gives the wolves an unnatural advantage," it argues.
The contest, which is running in its third year, is currently under scrutiny by Pacific Wild, a conservation group that has hired lawyers to try and prove the contest is illegal. It believes the contest is a "lottery scheme", saying it should require a licence from the province to be legal.
The Rod and Gun Club maintains that it operates within rules of provincial legislation and regulations for hunting and gaming, and all contestants must have a valid hunting licence. They must also stick to the three bag limit currently in place. Previously,  Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources Operations, has been quoted as saying it does not break any provincial wildlife regulations, and provincial gaming officials have said it does not need a permit as it is skill-based.
There are prizes for the both the largest and smallest wolves, as well as a "hidden" category to encourage hunters to bring in all they've caught for an accurate number. The most ever brought in in one year is 13.
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