Decision Date: November 3, 2015
Panel: Gregory J. Tucker
Keywords: Wildlife Act – s. 60; guide outfitter; quota; allocation; non-resident hunters; Ministry policy
Ryan Damstrom appealed a decision of the Regional Manager, Kootenay/Boundary Region (the “Regional Manager”), Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), setting Mr. Damstrom’s game species quotas for the 2014-2015 licence year, and his associated five-year allocations. Mr. Damstrom received quotas and allocations for bull moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, and grizzly bear. Mr. Damstrom is a licensed guide outfitter.
Each year, regional managers in the Ministry determine annual quotas and multi-year allocations for guide outfitters in their region, which set out the number of a specific wildlife species that a guide outfitter’s clients may kill in the guide’s guiding area during the relevant time period. Regional managers exercise discretion in setting quotas and allocations, within a sustainable use framework that is established in Ministry policies and guidelines. Overall, wildlife harvest opportunities are managed based on four priorities, in order of priority: conservation; First Nations’ needs; resident hunters’ interests; and, non-resident hunters’ interests. The Ministry’s policies and guidelines also address the division of the annual harvest of game species between hunters who are residents of BC and hunters who are non-residents of BC. Guide outfitters’ clients are usually non-resident hunters. As of 2007, Ministry policy is generally that, after accounting for conservation and First Nations’ needs, 75% of the allowable harvest of a species will be allocated to resident hunters, and 25% will be allocated to non-resident hunters, subject to variation by the Director of Fish and Wildlife in certain circumstances. When that policy was implemented, it resulted in reductions in some quotas and allocations for some guide outfitters.
The issues raised in this appeal were closely connected to those raised in a previous appeal filed by Mr. Damstrom in 2013. In that case, Mr. Damstrom appealed his quotas for the 2013-2014 licence year, and his allocations for 2012-2016. On November 7, 2014, the Board confirmed Mr. Damstrom’s 2013-2014 quotas and 2012-2016 allocations, except regarding mountain sheep (Decision No. 2013-WIL-028(a)). Regarding mountain sheep, the Board sent the matter back to the Regional Manager for recalculation using a harvest rate of 4% rather than 3%, based on evidence of the mountain goat population in Mr. Damstrom’s guiding area.
Subsequently, after Mr. Damstrom appealed his 2014-2015 quotas and 2012-2016 allocations, the Board offered both Mr. Damstrom and the Regional Manager an opportunity to provide written submissions and evidence. Mr. Damstrom relied on his Notice of Appeal, and the evidence and submissions tendered in his previous appeal. He provided no new evidence or submissions. The Regional Manager provided evidence regarding how he determined Mr. Damstrom’s 2014-2015 quotas and 2012-2016 allocations.
The Board reviewed each of Mr. Damstrom’s grounds for appeal, all of which were addressed in the Board’s decision on his previous appeal. The Board found that Mr. Damstrom had provided no new evidence or information that would provide a basis for reaching any conclusions that were different from the Board’s conclusions in the previous appeal. The Board also reviewed the evidence and materials provided by the Regional Manager, and the Board found that the Regional Manager had properly applied the Ministry’s policies when he determined Mr. Damstrom’s 2014-2015 quotas and 2012-2016 allocations. Consequently, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.