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Fair discussion about controlled hunting within national park boundaries would change hunters’ resistance quickly
The South Okanagan-Similkameen national park debate has been and continues to be a divisive issue.
Most advocates list the advantages indicating all will benefit and suggest it is a win-win situation for everyone.
They don’t understand the reluctance from some excluded stakeholders, such as hunters, who pursue their passion in the outdoors.
Many claim the moral high ground and view hunters as environmental pigs.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Hunters understand, better than most, that wilderness and wildlife must be protected.
They spend many of their leisure hours there with reverence and thanksgiving. Is it any wonder the hunters are resentful when their lifestyle is threatened by a national park?
If a fair and rational discussion could be arranged with Parks Canada about controlled hunting within park boundaries the resistance by hunters would change very quickly.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation and its member clubs are constantly involved in many environmental projects.
Another group of hunters formed Ducks Unlimited in 1937.
They have done more to protect and reclaim endangered wetlands for birds and waterfowl than anyone.
One of their important projects was completed this year in the old river oxbows just north of Osoyoos Lake.
Hunters do care when they are not included.
If Parks Canada had a more inclusive attitude about hunting in all national parks they may be surprised by the enthusiastic support from knowledgeable sportsmen.
Non-hunters will be suspicious and suspect the parks could become a killing zone if hunting were allowed.
That would not happen if a progressive business model were developed with harvest limits designed to enhance the wildlife and their environment.
I would like to think we can trust each other and make the parks work for everyone.
Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion on this very important issue.
Aubrey G. White
Osoyoos Wildlife Federation