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March 4th, 2013
© By Othmar Vohringer
That might very well be the case if drastic conservation measures are not enacted quickly. The emphasis here is on “quickly”, which is a bit of an oxymoron in politics. The southern mountain caribou populations are in rapid decline despite an extensive provincial recovery plan. Why? The caribou recovery plan is complex and contains important short and long term measures that need to be addressed and implemented if we hope to save the mountain caribou herd.
There are many contributing factors to the steady decline of mountain caribou populations that need to be urgently addressed. Obvious factors are logging of old growth forests, mining and snowmobiling in sensitive caribou habitat. If that wasn’t enough, caribou herds face voracious predation by overpopulation of cougars and particularly wolves. This is a problem that can be fixed right now and with little expense to the taxpayers and would help the caribou enormously to sustain their numbers.
Even more simply and effectively is the government’s own wolf management plan which is essentially culling. Culling however, is controversial to many city people (potential voters) and thusly is not being fully implemented nor promoted.Conservation, Events | Comment (0)
December 26th, 2012
© By Othmar Vohringer
On Sunday, December 2, 2012, NDP leader Adrian Dix and Fraser-Nicola LMA Harry Lali hosted an election information event at the Tropico Spice restaurant in Merritt. Among the 100 plus people attending was a delegation of the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club (NVF&GC). Harry Lali, who had attended a NVF&GC general meeting in early fall to discuss with us land access and confirming his political support, suggested that meeting Adrian Dix would be helpful to our cause. Rick McCowan, the land access committee chair of the NVF&GC had a chance to meet person to person with Mr. Dix before the event, providing him with the current information and a newly published information leaflet about land access problems here in the valley and across the province.
At the event Adrian Dix spent quite a bit of time at our table talking about the issues we presented to him and he seemed to be as concerned about land access as we are. A good sign!
Since I am not directly involved with the land access committee I must say that I am very impressed with what this small group of dedicated people in our club has achieved so far and all the hard work they put in to creating broad public awareness of the crown land access problem in our province. While the BC Wildlife Federation, the province’s largest hunter and angler organization, is twiddling its thumbs on the issue our club has gathered immense momentum, attracting national media attention and support from many other organizations throughout our nation. The NVF&GC has without a doubt become the driving force of the land access campaign.
While our fathers and grandfathers could enjoy hunting and fishing without any concerns for the future, times have drastically changed since then. Today we have to become politically active in order to secure our heritage for future generations. Our outdoor sport heritage faces many challenges of which our forefathers wouldn’t dream of in their worst nightmares. Loosing access to public land is only one of these problems. Other problems are instigated from the myriad of popular self-proclaimed “animal welfare” organizations using vilification and misinformation targeted against hunters, and their recruitment of largely ignorant city/suburban peoples to their cause; particularly impressionable youth. We need to challenge these problems as a united force in public, on the political stage and even in the courts or we stand to lose it all. I am proud to be a member of a small local organization that doesn’t just complain but is on the forefront of fighting for our future generations so they too can enjoy hunting, fishing and accessing lands, lakes and streams for generations to come. If you’re a concerned outdoor sportsperson and want to do your bit to preserve our heritage, rights and freedoms then you should be thinking about joining the Nicola valley Fish & Game Club.Filed under Conservation, Editorial, Events, Hunting Community Issues, News, Politics | Comment (0)
November 12th, 2012
© By Othmar Vohringer
A few days ago I learned that in parts of Canada a special hunter holiday is celebrated of which I am very well aware to be a big deal in many parts of Europe. Each fall, in the first week of November, schools and factories are closed while hunters and tens of thousands of other people gather to hold festivities and attend a special Mass in churches and cathedrals to honour St. Hubertus the patron saint of the hunters.
In parts of Canada, such as Quebec, St. Hubertus Day is celebrated in early September with the Mass of St. Hubertus in the local church. Hunters attend dressed in hunting clothing, bringing their dogs and guns to be blessed by the priest. The procession has the clergy, conservation officers and other guests enter and exit the church by walking under an archway of guns held up high by hunters wearing camouflage and hunter orange clothing.
After Mass the hunters attend trap and skeet shooting events, parades and wild game dinners, inviting the community to share with them the bounty nature has to offer. I am sure not many people here have heard of St. Hubertus, so I’ll provide you with some background.Editorial, Events, Hunting Community Issues | Comment (0)
October 16th, 2012
© By Othmar Vohringer
Laura Wood, a 95-year-old woman from Yarmouth Nova Scotia, fulfilled her lifelong dream of going on a moose hunt. It was the last day of her hunt, just when daylight broke when Laura’s dream materialized in form of a 600-pound moose appearing. Laura brought the critter down with a single shot form her rifle. The Sandy Point Lodge, which hosted Laura’s hunting trip, said it’s the first time they can remember a 95-year-old hunter in camp.
Now that Laura Woods has fulfilled her dream she won’t go moose hunting next year, because “I’m getting too old.” She said “but I still plan on deer hunting.” Wood said she has been hunting rabbits and deer since she was 16 years old. And to the one shot kill on the moose she said modestly, “Well I used to be a good shot. Well it must have been pretty good if I got that one…it’s in my freezer now.”
Laura Woods made headlines in the Canadian newspapers but that doesn’t faze her one bit. “Since I’ve been back people have been so good to me. The phone’s been ringing off the hook. I don’t know why they call me. I’m not worth it.” Well Laura you may think you’re not worth the media attention, but as far as I am concerned you are. There are not many hunters around that still hunt at that age let alone planning on continuing hunting.
(Photo courtesy of Sandy Point Lodge)Filed under Events, News | Comment (0)
October 16th, 2012
© By Othmar Vohringer
On Tuesday morning (October 2nd, 2012) my loyal friend and companion for over 16 years passed away. Gazu, a Rottweiler/Labrador mix, had not an easy start in life. When I adopted him, then about one year old, from a pet shelter in Montreal, Quebec, he already had two previous owners that abused him badly. I learned that Gazu was destined to be euthanized because of the many behavioural problems he sustained from his abusers. Because of that I was at first denied adoption, however, when the manager at the shelter found out that I am a professional animal trainer and behaviourist he agreed with the adoption. My immediate concern at the time was not about Gazu’s behavioural problems. Having dealt with a fair number of animals with such issues I was sure I could cure him. My concern was what my other “pets”, 16 tigers, would think of this new addition. Training, performing and caring for the tigers took up many hours of my day and Gazu would have to fit into that schedule.
Gazu quickly adapted to his new life and surroundings and within two weeks we had a very close relationship and he slowly started to develop the outgoing and friendly character that would become the hallmark of his entire life. The most difficult part was taking his fear of travel from him. In his past a trip in a car signified yet another drive to the dog shelter but once he realized that this was not the case with me he started to enjoy traveling to new places all around Canada and America with me and the tigers. Later Gazu traveled with us by airplane and ship to China and Brazil. Wherever we traveled in the world Gazu’s outgoing and enthusiastic nature made him friends everywhere, even in China where people are generally afraid of large dogs.
The only time Gazu showed any sign of slight displeasure was when I meet Heidi, my future wife, two years after I got Gazu. My guess is he suffered a brief case of jealousy. However, it only took him a short time to realize that he did not have to “loose out” and instead, he gained another friend and so he quickly adopted Heidi as part of “his family”. Gazu liked making friends; be that tigers, elephants or humans. Throughout his life, even in old age and in the last months where it was apparent he had cancer, Gazu’s loyalty, outgoing nature and unassuming friendship was exemplary and humbling for those that knew him. Gazu will be dearly missed and there always will be a very special place in my heart for him. Heidi and I would like to thank Dr. Anne Flemming at the Merritt Veterinary Hospital for her respectful treatment, marked by dignity, for Gazu and letting us be with him until he took his last breath while resting in our arms. Thank you Gazu for your loyal friendship, unquestioned trust and also for the many things I learned from you, rest in peace until we play together again.Filed under Editorial, Events | Comment (0)
January 23rd, 2012
© By Othmar Vohringer
It’s that time of year again, were I am getting ready for the seminar and trade show tour. Starting of with the BC Boat & Sportmen’s Show on March 2nd to 4th in Abbotsford. This years seminars are on how to get better results with calling whitetail deer and in the second seminar we will replace commonly held whitetail deer rut myth with scientific facts. Keith Beasley from Canada in the Rough Television will also be there with seminars and talk about the Canada in the Rough television show.
On the fishing seminar stage we will see Brian Chan, a true BC flyfishing icon, plus others. I always look forward to the BC Boat & Sportsmen’s Show and not only because it is my home turf but this show is getting from year to year better and bigger. It going to be a great show highlighting all the aspects of what makes British Columbia the avid outdoors enthusiast number one destination. The readers of BC Outdoors magazine and the fans of the BC Outdoors Sport Fishing TV will be able to chat wit the cast, staff, editors and writers on on the BC Outdoors booth.
I am looking forward to meeting with my fellow hunters, so come on by the hunting stage and say hello.Events | Comment (0)
November 29th, 2011
(Originally published in the Merritt News – Othmar Vohringer The Outdoorman)
© Othmar Vohringer
Over the years the one thing I’ve noticed about successful hunters is a trait they all have in common: Knowledge! Successful hunters have spent many years perfecting their skills and have studied the habits and behaviours of animals. They have learned how wild animals use the landscape features to navigate around in their territory and because of this they know what features to look for that enables them to encounter wildlife. Knowledge permits the hunter to make an educated decision on where to go and at what time of the season and day, and if he should be in a particular spot in the morning or afternoon.
Hunters who lack knowledge will have to depend on luck. Luck, however, is fickle. Sometimes it comes to you the very first time but more often than not it ignores you for all of your life. Is there a shortcut to becoming a successful hunter? A way to shave off years of learning by trial and error? Yes there is! By learning from successful hunters that are willing to share their “secrets.” Continue reading »Filed under Editorial, Events | Comment (0)
January 22nd, 2011
(Originally published in the Merritt News)
© By Othmar Vohringer
This past Sunday over a hundred fisherman and their families came out to Mammette Lake for a fun-filled day of ice fishing. This was the 11th Annual Ice Fishing Derby organized by the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club (NVFGC). Although there were not as many people attending the derby as in previous years it still was a resounding success despite the icy roads and snow on the Coquihalla highway which kept many Lower Mainlanders and people from Kamloops at home.
Right up to the last day I was worried about the weather and even more about the fishing conditions. The reports I received in regard to fishing success at Mammette Lake did not look promising as very few fish were caught. However, the day greeted us with warm sunshine and the warm weather front coaxed the fish into feeding activity. The fishing was exceptionally good with lots of big trout and coarse fish being caught.Events | Comment (0)
September 23rd, 2010
© By Othmar Vohringer
As an outdoor writer I subscribe to Internet news feeds from various sources that cover hunting. On average I receive up to 60 hunting news items per week in my email, a few of them are mainstream media reporting about wildlife poaching cases across North America. One particular aspect of reporting about poachers, particularly in big city newspapers, that I personally find very offensive is the liberal interchanging of the words “poacher” and “hunter”.
Most of these articles start off with the correct term “poacher” but as the article proceeds “poacher” is gradually exchanged with “hunter”. I can’t help but think that most of these articles pursue an anti hunting agenda and thus deliberately create the impression by the readers that a poacher and hunter is indeed the same thing. In the past I’ve written letters to editors and writers of such articles, making them aware that a poacher is not a hunter. Referring to a hunter as a poacher in fact is the same as referring to a store customer as a shoplifter.
A poacher is a person who illegally hunts wild game or fishes without proper licensing or hunts/fishes species that are protected. In other words a poacher is a lawbreaking thieve. A criminal. A hunter on the other hand is a law-abiding person, hunting game animals that are not protected and for which he or she has obtained and paid for proper licensing and species harvest tags. A poacher will shot indiscriminately at any wildlife animal, sometimes domestic animals too, and catches any fish without any regard to the law, morals and ethic standards.
Poaching is a serious issue all over North America not only here in our region. Not so long ago conservation officer Jeff Hanratty told me about a well organized and equipped poaching ring operating here in the area. The Conservation officers were successful in confiscating some equipment and arresting a few gang members but the group is still active. With the hunting season in full swing it is up to us to be the eyes and ears of the conservation officers. When you out in the bush and see something suspicious make notes of the exact location, provide GPS coordinates if you can. Write down descriptions of persons, vehicles and note the license plate number. If you carry a small camera or have a cell-phone with camera capability take a few pictures of the vehicle and the people then hand that information over the Merritt Conservation Officers. Report any animal carcass you come across in the bush and that looks like it had been shot and left whole or just has parts of its body removed. Report any environment pollution you come upon or witness in progress.
Never approach a person you suspect of poaching or otherwise violate game and, or environment protection laws, as some of them could become violent. Keep your distance and use binoculars if you have to in order to observe what is unfolding. The better you can describe in detail what has happened, the vehicles and people that are involved in the illegal act the better the chances are that these lawbreakers will be caught. Jeff Hanratty told me that the Conservation Services established a database where information provided by hunters is gathered and compared to existing information. There have been several cases where information has led to the successful arrests and prosecution of poachers and environment polluters.
Poaching can get very expensive for the perpetrator. Depending on each case a poacher can be fined several thousand dollars, may face a prison sentence and in addition may have his vehicle and firearms confiscated and loose all hunting privileges from one to a few years, or even for life. Like all law-abiding hunters I’ve a very low tolerance level for poachers, they steal our wildlife and they give us all a bad reputation. Lets help our conservation officers to catch as many poachers as possible. If you have any information about poachers and environment polluters you can phone the R.A.P.P. (Report All Poachers and Polluters) 1-877-952-7277 or Cellular Dial #7277Filed under Conservation, Events, Hunting Community Issues | Comment (0)
June 30th, 2010
© By Othmar Vohringer
On Fathers Day Weekend, June 20, the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club hosted the Family Fishing Day event at the kids’ pond, located between Kentucky and Alleyene Lake. This was the fourth annual hosting of this event and to date by far the most successful with well over 120 people and families attending with well over half being children, including a group of Beavers (boys and girls aged 5 to 7) led by local conservation officer Jeff Hanratty. For once the weather was cooperating, providing much appreciated sunshine and comfortable temperatures.
The Family Fishing Weekend is a program initiated by the non-profit Family Fishing Society. Recreational fishing is a key part of British Columbia’s way of life and the Society’s goal is to celebrate this fact while at the same time promoting it to new anglers, especially children. Sports anglers contribute nearly $1.2 billion annually to B.C.’s local and regional economies while supporting thousands of jobs throughout the province. To maintain this robust industry there must be a strategy in place that continues to develop the vibrant and growing sports angling community and that is where the Family Fishing Day events come in.
The event started at 9 am and by the time it was over at 2pm many young anglers caught fish. For some it was their first fish and, judging from the smiles on their faces when they proudly displayed their catch, some of them are probably now ‘hooked’ to the sport! The fish caught ranged from small to a respectable 3 lb. Thanks to the generosity of the angling industry and organizations we had many prizes to give away to the children, among them over 50 Shakespeare rod and reel combos.
It goes without saying that such an event would not be possible without the tireless volunteer work of many Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club members assisting in the registration of the anglers, manning the hospitality tent, organizing the event, plus the many guides assisting the anglers and providing their knowledge and tips on how to catch fish. A special thank you to Conservation Officer Jeff Hanratty and his team for the time spent on the event and all their assistance to the anglers. Our conservation officers are an often-underestimated community asset. These fine men and women in uniform do a tremendous job ensuring a future of our natural resources and providing community assistance on events like the Family Fishing Day.
All in all it was a wonderful event that each consecutive year grows in popularity far beyond the borders of our region. I look forward to next years Family Fishing Day and hopefully will see even more children attending than previous years. It is important that we get the children outdoors and teach them to become future stewards of our heritage and nature.
Here are a few pictures from the Family Fishing Day
Conservation Officers and children play a vital role in the future of hunting and fishing.
The smile on this boys face says more than a 1,000 words.
Events | Comment (0)