A group of bow hunters is proposing to reduce the population of deer and wolves on Kaien Island.

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 a bow hunting season on 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.”


letters from Mayor and city councillors.

I was not going to publish these Letter I received from the Mayor and his fellow councilors but in light of resent request to bow-hunt deer and wolves I have decided I will post them. The letter I sent to our mayor can be found at the bottom.

Herb Pond our mayor


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experience. I’ve copied this to Council and to key staff.

At this time Council has given no thought to a wolf cull, or to bow hunting. The presentation from COS was for information only, and as you rightly point out, while a wolf cull was included as an option in the report, it was not spoken of very favourably. They did seem to speak more positively about reducing all food sources on the island including deer.

My sense is that the presentation from COS reduced support for a wolf cull and increased interest in attempting solutions more along the lines that you describe.

Thanks, again. H

Gord; Sounds like we have a resident expert who could be a great help to staff in formulating any program. H

From Tony Briglio

Thank you for the added knowledge you bring to us. There is no truth in council suggesting a wolf hunt take place. I would agree that this would only be a temporary solution and as such does not resolve anything.
Thanks again for the time you took to educate us further.
Tony Briglio

From Kathy Bedard

Thanks for your input, David. I do not believe that we must kill wolves for doing what they do naturally. It’s the humans that we must re-educate.


Kathy Bedard,

From Sheila Gordon-Payne

Thanks for your letter Mr Watson,

I found it very informative and wish that this type of information was in the paper for the benefit of all.
The options put forward at our meeting were not at our request but just to let us know the possibilities.
I agree with the Mayor that there are many options far less drastic that we could do to manage wolf issues, most notably, more public education etc.

Thanks again,

Dear mayor and counselors

My name is David Watson; my family since 2006 has been tracking the wolves of Kaien Island; some of you may have even seen our website kaien island wolves.com. In 2007 we worked with The Raincoast Conservation Foundation, collecting wolf scat for parasite testing.
The Raincoast Conservation Foundation is a non-profit research and public education organization. Who work with scientists, First Nations, government and non-governmental organizations to build support for decisions that protect marine and rainforest habitat on BC’s central and north coast.

We read in Thursday Jan 31,2008 Daily News about the possible killing of the local wolf pack. This wolf pack consists of 7 to 9 individuals I know since we have been watching them that the numbers have not changed even when pups have been born over the last 3 years, the death rate is high among the wolves that live on the island, vehicle hits have taken the lives of more than one wolf, Also one wolf succumbed to his injuries from an encounter with a porcupine this past summer. We understand that a few wolves from the pack have become conditioned to humans through behaviors from some residents living in the Prince Rupert area.

Some of the behaviors are directly having a negative impact on the perception that wolves are at fault when it’s the actions of some individuals that have led to the reactions from some of the wolves from the pack.

There are people in the community who have been hand feeding wild wolves. Thinking their doing that animal a favor; “a fed wolf is a dead wolf”.

The illegal dumping of animal carcasses on Wontage road, I have seen and photographed deer, moose and elk carcasses, I also documented bags of dumped whole crabs, and salmon. These bring in scavengers such as wolves and bear’s. Which in turn bring them closer in to town?
And of course we have the deer, the main diet of the coastal wolf, and we all know that we have too many deer.
Some facts on the coastal wolf, the coastal wolf is genetically different then the wolves from the interior of BC, the coastal wolves may even be older then the gray wolf that is found in BC, and Alaska. The coastal wolf has a varied diet; it consists of deer, salmon, shell fish, berries, mice and other types of sea foods. On some of the furthest island wolves have thriven and adapted to an all seafood diet.
There are 5 packs of wolves in a 25 mile radius of Kaien Island, one pack on Digby Island, a pack near the salt lakes, one pack on the other side of port ED and a pack near Kloaya Bay. It would be only a matter of time before another pack moves in.

We don’t think that a wolf cull is the solution to the problem we are having. Many communities have problems with wild life and have been able to deal with the problem in a pro active way and sparing the life of a wild animal. As the CO has informed you, that a wolf cull is only a short time fix, the deer population needs to be seriously look at, the illegal dumping on Wantage road and as well keeping the gates closed to the dump during winter months, all of which draw wolves and other wild life into city limits, And in to conflicts with human population.
Chris Darimont is a world renowned wolf biologist who has spent many years studying the coastal wolves of BC I would hope that the city would be in contact with someone like Chris who lives on the coast and has great knowledge of the wolves. Chris and Heather Bryan have been very helpful with our endeavor of bringing wolf awareness to Prince Rupert and the world through our stories, photos and videos.

The proposal of opening up hunting to bow hunters on the island is frightening more so then a few problem wolves. I know there will be far more wolves shot with an arrow that will die a slow, frightening and painful death on account of poor marksmanship, than would be the case if shooting were allowed.

Please feel free to contacts to discuss solutions that are more pro active then bow hunting on the island.

David Watson
Stacey Lavigne

B.C. senior sustains bruises in wolf attack

A woman in northern B.C. says she’s lucky a wolf that attacked her on Sunday was old and she suffered only bruises, so that she didn’t even need rabies shots.

Marilyn Maple, 68,Marilyn Maple

shows the bruises she sustained when a wolf attacked her on her farm off the Alaska Highway north of Fort St. John, BC Canada last Sunday.
Marilyn Maple, 68, raises goats on her farm off the Alaska Highway, north of Fort St. John. She’s also a weather watcher for Environment Canada.

“I was heading down to do my weather report, which I do at 4 p.m.,” she told CBC News in an exclusive interview Thursday.

“On my way down [to the weather compound] I hear a goat yelling. I thought, ‘Oh, no! She’s really having a hard birth. I better hurry,'” she said.

“I went into the stall, crouched down … trying to feel her.”

To her surprise, Maple was confronted by a silver looming wolf that was killing her pregnant doe.

Conservation officer Cor Deboon in Fort St. John says the wolf that attacked Marilyn Maple on Sunday was ‘obviously an old animal.’
Dead Wolf
“As I reached for her, all of a sudden … this crushing force on my arm and that’s what it was.… Something grabbed my arm.

“As my eyes got accustomed I realized I am, you know, roughly 18 inches to two foot from the face of a wolf,” she said.

Maple said she was determined to save her goat so she ran outside and grabbed a pitchfork.

“I came down here to the end of the stall and I went, ‘Go, shoo, go’ and he just turned his head and looked and me and I thought, ‘Oh, no! I better get out of here.'”

‘I realized I am, you know, roughly 18 inches to two foot from the face of a wolf.’
— Marilyn MapleShe locked the goat shed and had to “leave the goat to her demise.” She ran up the hill and called the neighbours for help.

The neighbours and their friends came and shot the animal dead, she said.

Maple took the carcass to conservation officer Cor Deboon in Fort St. John, who examined the wolf.

“[Its] upper canines were broken and chipped and some teeth worn down,” Deboon said. “It was obviously an old animal. It wasn’t all skin and bones but it was quite thin.”

Maple said she only suffered a series of bruises on her arms.

“I was very lucky that it was an old wolf and I had on four layers of clothes.”

Maple lost a goat, but her news wasn’t all bad.

“The next night, my other doe gave me two other babies.”




Don’t feed them and keep your distance, say council and local wolf-watchers
By Christian Webber
The Daily News
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Pages one and two

With several wolf sightings being reported from around the community, people are being asked to educate themselves about how to live with the surrounding wildlife.

The city has received numerous calls lately, and councilors asked people this week not to feed the wolves or the deer that attract them.

“I think this is really about educating people, said Coun. Kathy Bedard.

Most wolves are not dangerous to humans and there is a greater chance of being killed by lightning than being injured by a wolf, added David Watson and Stacey Lavigne, who have been studying and photographing wolves for nearly two years.

Even though they are not known for killing humans, in today’s world people are making wolves more comfortable by feeding them, and making them more brave by destroying their dens, forcing them to roam the streets.

Watson and Lavigne are hoping everyone stays safe along with their dogs, too.

“They are on the move now, there is no way to tell where they are staying, the pups are just about ready to leave their den site,” said Watson.

Once that happens in August, they take the pups and they go and show the area to the younger ones. That was witnessed last year by Watson, as he watched them cross the golf course for the first time during daylight.

Lavigne said that their main goal is to bring awareness to people about how wolves are not dangerous, as long as people obey the same rules.

She said when people are out walking dogs, they should be wary because we’re surrounded by many thousand miles of forest.

Sometimes wolves will think dogs are another kind of wolf, even, if it is on a leash. Lavigne warns people to make sure not to step between a wolf and any prey, even if that prey is your dog.

“If you want to walk your dog, walk it at the waterfront , that’s where it will be safe,” said Watson.

He said wolves are presently hanging around near Mount Hays and the golf course. The ones here are about 60-70 pounds. He said there is no such thing as a big wolf anymore. Also, the ones here are genetically different from timber wolves and gray wolves.

The wolves here can have coats of many colors, from gray to reddish, and in the sun they can look blond or golden brown.

Watson thinks recent ‘cougar’ sightings are actually wolves because of the colour described. He said he has also not seen scat or paw prints from a big cat and believes are climate is not right for them.

Gray wolves eat mostly deer, moose, caribou. Also medium sized mammals such as beaver can be an important secondary food source.

In Canada, their territories can range from 300 to 1,000 square miles. He said they have always been in Prince Rupert.

Lavigne pointed out that while pregnant, she went out taking photos of wolves and came within 20 feet and had no fear of them.

But they said people should definitely not feed them.

“See them, observe them and enjoy it, but don’t feed them or bring your dog out,” said Lavigne.

She said if you come close to a wolf, or they come close to you, make lots of noise, throw things at it and scare it, make sure it knows it shouldn’t be near humans.

Watson believes the local pack will soon move on because of all the construction going on.

Either they will leave Kaien Island and go to Digby Island or back into Port Edward, he said. He estimates that they could seem to Digby Island in less than 45 minutes.

“They are here because we have an overabundance in deer,” he said.

“We don’t have a wolf problem we have a deer problem.

If you walk your dogs on known problem trails around town and you and your dog are followed, or attacked who is to blame? you are probably not going to see a wolf the chances are low but is it really worth that chance…I myself dont have a pet dog and if I did, there would be a few places I would not go with him/her around here, just for the above reasons.

wolves in Prince Rupert

Here are a few wolf videos we did..

then this is my Steve Erwin documentry on wolves spoof….

Bowhunting proposed to curb wolf population in Prince Rupert

Nothing like a bunch of guy’s in the bush on a island with itchy fingers with bows hunting down a few wolves. I’m an avid hiker and spend allot of time hiking though Kaien Island,B.C. I’m also not the only one who enjoys hiking our island. I can see some stupid guy behind the bow making a mistake and shooting a human instead of a wolf.
Far more wolves will be shot with an arrow that will die a slow, frightening and painful death on account of poor marksmanship, than would be the case if shooting were allowed. It’s time for the city to step up to plate call in the CO a wolf biologist like Chris Darimont and come up with an action plan.
It’s not every pack member that are coming into town, its 2 or 3 younger individuals from the pack that have become conditioned to humans from direct feeding. It’s these individuals that should be dealt with.

And again I can’t stress enough about coyotes, who are in the city, they are much more dangerous to our pets then wolves are…

So stop leaving you cats and dogs out at night and stop feeding them outside…use some common sense people.

Bowhunting proposed to curb wolf population in Prince Rupert, B.C.
By Cheryl Chan
The Province
Saturday, February 09, 2008

Bowhunting within Prince Rupert city limits is being proposed as a solution to curb growing incursions of wild wolves into town.

A group of local hunters wants city hall to amend a bylaw banning the discharge of bows within municipal boundaries and open Kaien island, where Prince Rupert is located, to bowhunters.
“It’s a good option,” said Jeff Beckwith, who has been a licensed bowhunter for six years. “Until you deal with the attraction of deer in town, more wolves would be coming on the island.”

Under the proposed amendment, hunting would be limited to the city’s vast wooded areas only, and would obey provincial regulations that ban hunting in the vicinity of schools, churches and residential areas.

“The idea isn’t about eliminating a species from the island, but providing some control,” said Beckwith, who uses a traditional long bow and wooden arrows.

“It has proven to be a safe option,” he said. “I don’t want any firearms used on the island at all. This way, you won’t be hearing gunshots in the woods.”

Gord Eason, president of the United Bowhunters of British Columbia, said bowhunting is a safe way to control deer numbers in a semi-urban environment as most bowhunters shoot in close range, usually within 15 to 20 yards of their prey.

It’s also cost-effective, he said. “If you have to hunt them, it’s not a bad option because you have someone doing it for free. And I’d rather have somebody with a bow do it than with a gun.”
Several U.S. states use bowhunting as a method to control wildlife population in city parks, he adds.

The number of wolves in the province — estimated at about 9,000 — fluctuates based on the number of their prey, said Kate Thompson, spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment.
Because of the abundance of deer in Prince Rupert, wolves have been popping up too often for comfort in the northern B.C. community.

More than 130 sightings were recorded last year.

“We’re very concerned about the levels of incidents that we were hearing about even anecdotally,” said Mayor Herb Pond.

The increased number of wolves lurking in backyards has prompted city council to ask a conservation officer from Terrace to provide recommendations on what could be done to minimize wolf-human encounters.

Pond said some wolves have become used to feeding on improperly stowed garbage or pet food left outside houses and are becoming habituated to humans.

Attacks on pets are also a serious concern, with two pets killed and several more attacked last year.

Beckwith said his in-laws, who live in a residential area in Prince Rupert, had their leashed dog attacked by three wolves on the porch just before Christmas.

“They surprised and scared him,” he said. “They weren’t scrawny wolves into people’s garbage. These were big, massive, healthy-looking wolves.”

Beckwith plans to make a formal presentation to city council in the coming weeks.
Pond said council will look at the details of the proposal and ask for public feedback. “It’s an issue that has the potential to be controversial and we want to make sure we hear from everybody.”

Wolf sightings rise in isolated B.C. coastal town

Wolf sightings rise in isolated B.C. coastal town
CBC News
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Residents of Prince Rupert, B.C., are getting nervous about the number of wolves turning up around town.

In less than a year, there have been 136 wolf sightings reported by the residents of the isolated coastal community.

The wolves have been spotted at the golf course, in backyards, even prowling around the civic centre, drawn to the city’s population of wild deer. There have also been reports they have been stalking small pets.

Mayor Herb Pond told CBC News that his own close encounter with a pair of wolves was unnerving. “When that second wolf sort of popped out from the woods behind me, I thought, oh, I’m glad I’m in my car.”

Pond respects the wolves’ place in the wild, but he said it is a different story when they start trotting through town.

Earlier this year, the province declared an open hunting season on wolves in some parts of the north to help protect endangered caribou herds. Pond, however, said there are no plans to cull the wolf pack around Prince Rupert.

Conservation Officer Chris Pryce agreed killing the wolves is not the solution because a new pack would soon take their place.

“Wolves are natural to this area. I think what we’d like to see is a reduction in that habituation, so the wolves stay outside of town,” Pryce told CBC News.

So far there have been no reports of the wolves attacking humans, but some of the wolves appear to have lost their fear of humans, creating what the mayor calls a challenging situation.
“When wolves come into our backyards, we need to make sure people feel safe,” Pond said.

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