By Leanne Ritchie , The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2008A group of bow hunters is proposing to reduce the population of deer and wolves on Kaien Island.
But Prince Rupert city council has not yet taken the bait.
Jeff Beckwith and Colin Bennett spoke to Prince Rupert city council Monday night, suggesting that a bow hunt in the non-residential and recreational areas of Kaien Island would be the best and safest way to reduce the attractants that are bringing wolves into town.
“The intention of aon Kaien Island is not to eliminate either species, but to provide a buffer zone between residential areas of the city and the wildland and re-establish the lost sense of security for our citizens,” said Beckwith.
Beckwith came with the support of both local archery organizations – The Eagle Eye Archers and Rainbow Archers – as well as the British Columbia Archery Association and United Bow Hunters of British Columbia.
There have been a number of wolf attacks on pets in Prince Rupert in recent years and a pack has established its territory around Kaien Island.
The result has been that some neighborhoods have lost a sense of safety and a number of pets have been injured or killed, Beckwith said.
During a presentation by the B.C. Conservation Officers service earlier this year, a number of options were presented to the city to deal with the problem of increasingly bold wolves.
These included a number of options specifically aimed at reducing the number of attractants that bring the wolves to town.
“The Ministry of Environment has reassured us that ‘there are no conservation concerns for the deer and archery is a well used tool to provide a safe hunting opportunity’ on Kaien Island,” said Beckwith.
In fact, the Gulf Islands have been allowing bow hunting to curb the deer population around human settlements for a number of years, he said.
In order to allow bow hunting, the city would have to remove its bylaw that restricts the discharge of bows within the municipal boundaries.
However, any hunt would still have to take place under provincial trapping regulations that state any bow hunting cannot take place with 100 metres of any dwelling or recreational area such as a trail.
It’s a win-win situation as the hunt would curb the deer population, send a message to the wolf packs that encounters with people are not in their best interest, give local sportsmen the opportunity to practice their craft and cost the city nothing, Beckwith said.
However Coun. Sheila Gordon-Payne said she would like to look at all the options before deciding on any hunting opportunities.
“We have had a number of letters since the Ministry of Environment’s presentation,” she said. “For me personally, my number one priority is dealing with the people-based wolf issues. We have residents feeding wolves or leaving food out for wolves.”
She asked staff to bring forward a report on their options.
“We don’t want to strike up hope or alarm people before we look at all the options.”