Hunting, fishing considered essential services under B.C. COVID-19 rules - InfoNews

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Hunting, fishing considered essential services under B.C. COVID-19 rules

Image Credit: SUBMITTED / B.C. Wildlife Federation
April 23, 2020 - 3:34 PM

Now that the province has adding hunting and angling to the list of services that are considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. Wildlife Federation is asking those venturing into the great outdoors to be responsible citizens and conservationists.

“We are happy hunting and fishing are now listed as essential services," B.C. Wildlife Federation president Bill Bosch said in a news release. "With this listing comes great responsibility and a degree of scrutiny; as responsible citizens and conservationists, we need to ensure these activities are conducted within the guidelines set out by the provincial health officer.”

There has been an uptick in license sales recently, so hunters and anglers have been asked by the B.C. Wildlife Federation to ensure they are familiar with the regulations.

The number of hunting licences issued have nearly doubled from this time last year. There were 9,073 sales in January, February and March in 2019 compared to 2020 where the conservation organization has seen 17,758 sales during that same time period. Black bear licence sales have more than doubled, spiking from 1,886 in 2019 to 4,803 this year.

The federation has said the increase in licence sales is likely from a combination of factors: some people aren’t liking what they’re seeing in grocery stores, hunters who may have not hunted in previous years are taking it up again, and with new physical distancing measures, more people are spending time in the outdoors.

“The (wildlife federation) believes the provincial government should be finding ways to allow British Columbians to stay local, get outside safely and enjoy our public spaces, especially in provincial parks. It is imperative that British Columbians have access to outdoor areas to secure healthy, organic protein, and give them a physical and mental reprieve from the effects of COVID-19,” the release states.

Every year 110,000 hunting licenses, 280,000 freshwater angling licenses and 260,000 saltwater angling licenses are sold B.C, the federation said.

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