Decision Date: October 6, 2009
Panel: Alan Andison
Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 19; Permit Regulation – ss. 3(1)(c)(i), 3(2); disabled hunting permit; closed season
Allan Pierce appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Environmental Stewardship Division, Skeena Region, Ministry of Environment (the “Ministry”), refusing to issue Mr. Pierce a permit authorizing him to hunt in zones within the Skeena Region that are closed to moose hunting during the peak of the bull moose rut.
Mr. Pierce initially applied for a disabled hunter permit, which would allow him to use a motor vehicle to access areas that are closed to motor vehicles for the purpose of hunting. However, before the Regional Manager issued his decision, Mr. Pierce advised the Ministry that he was actually seeking a permit authorizing him to hunt in zones within 400 metres of 21 secondary roads or trails that are closed to moose hunting for approximately 3 weeks during the peak of the moose rut. In his submissions to the Board, Mr. Pierce confirmed that he was seeking a permit to hunt in the areas closed to moose hunting during the moose rut.
The Board found that Mr. Pierce provided medical information that supported a finding that he has a disability to his right leg that affects his ability to walk, but that information also indicates that he is able to walk 100 metres while holding a firearm. The Board also found that Mr. Pierce was not seeking a permit to hunt in motor vehicle closed areas in order to accommodate his disability. Rather, he was seeking a permit that would allow him to hunt in areas that are closed to all moose hunting during the peak of the moose rut. The Board found that Mr. Pierce provided insufficient evidence to establish that being precluded from hunting in the rut closure areas affects his personal safety.
In addition, the Board considered the relevant provisions of the Permit Regulation, and found that permits authorizing hunting during a closed season may only be issued for the purposes specified under section 2(c) of that regulation. The Board found that Mr. Pierce was either not seeking the permit for one of the purposes listed, or it would be unreasonable to issue him a permit under the circumstances. In particular, the Board held that the rut closures are for conservation purposes and are in effect for a short portion of the 3-month open season for moose, the closures cover a very small portion of the region, and the closures do not restrict vehicle access along the roads subject to the rut closures. The Board found that the proper management of the wildlife resources must take precedence over Mr. Pierce’s desire for a convenient hunting opportunity.
Accordingly, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision. The appeal was dismissed.