Wolf kill contest illegal, says conservation group
This image provided by Yellowstone National Park shows a wolf walking through the snow in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (AP Photo/Yellowstone National Park, File)
Published Monday, December 17, 2012 7:18AM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 17, 2012 3:24PM PST
VICTORIA -- A conservation organization wants the RCMP to launch a criminal investigation into a "barbaric" wolf-killing contest in British Columbia's northeast.
Pacific Wild spokesman Ian McAllister said Monday he's preparing to send a letter to the Mounties in Fort St. John, asking them to investigate the lottery-like contest that offers a $1,000 prize of the largest wolf killed.
McAllister said Pacific Wild has obtained a legal opinion from West Coast Environmental Law that concludes the hunting contest operates as a lottery and requires a government licence to be legal.
Pacific Wild, based in the province's Great Bear Rainforest, filed a complaint with the B.C. Gaming branch last month, saying the wolf-kill `contest requires a licence but was told the hunt was legal, he said.
McAllister said Pacific Wild wants deputy premier Rich Coleman, who is responsible for lotteries, to halt the hunt.
"We're sending a letter today to the RCMP in Fort St. John asking them to launch a criminal investigation based on this legal opinion and we're hoping that if Rich Coleman doesn't step in immediately on this issue as of today, we're hoping that the RCMP will press charges," McAllister said.
He called the contest barbaric, but said what also appals him is that Pacific Wild has always had to obtain lottery licences from the government whenever it held raffles or contests to promote their causes, which included protesting trophy grizzly hunting and preserving the Great Bear Rain Forest on the central coast.
McAllister said the Fort St. John contest allows hunters to kill three wolves, including pups, and permits baiting of wolves where hunters place a carcass in an area frequented by the animals and open fire when the wolves appear.
"You don't even need a licence. There's something wrong with that," he said.
McAllister said the Peace Rod and Gun Club of Fort St. John and others announced the contest with prizes that include $1,000 for the largest wolf killed and $150 for the smallest, with a maximum of three dead wolves per contestant.
He said the B.C. government is turning a blind eye to the contest, which he called a back-door wolf cull.
Coleman could not be immediately reached for comment.