Decision Date: August 14, 2015
Panel: Ken Long
Keywords: Wildlife Act – definition of “prohibited hours”, ss. 19, 26(1)(d), 26(1)(e); Permit Regulation – s. 2(c); permit; hunt during prohibited hours; hunt using a light; nuisance wildlife control
Brent D. Smith appealed the decision of the Deputy Regional Manager (the “Regional Manager”), Recreational Fisheries and Wildlife Program, Thompson/Okanagan Region, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (the “Ministry”), denying Mr. Smith’s application for a permit authorizing him to shoot a firearm or bow during prohibited hours with the use or aid of a light. The prohibited hours for hunting are one hour after sunset until one hour before sunrise.
In 2014, Mr. Smith applied for a permit to carry out a number of activities that are prohibited under the Wildlife Act. He sought the permit in order to provide the services of killing or capturing wildlife that create problems for farmers and ranchers in the southern interior of BC.
The Regional Manager issued a permit that authorized most of the activities that Mr. Smith had requested. However, he denied Mr. Smith’s request for authorization to shoot during prohibited hours with the use or aid of a light. In his decision, the Regional Manager explained that he had significant concerns regarding public safety in populated areas, if he authorized that activity. He also noted that the Conservation Officer Service (“COS”) did not support authorizing that activity.
Mr. Smith appealed the Regional Manager’s decision to the Board on the basis that it was unreasonable, and that given his experience with firearms and as a former Conservation Officer, he could safely conduct night shooting. He also submitted that the COS focuses on human safety concerns related to problem wildlife, rather than the predation of livestock by coyotes and wolves, which leaves livestock producers without COS assistance in dealing with problem wildlife.
The Board noted that it is an offence under sections 26(1)(d) and (e) of the Wildlife Act, respectively, to hunt with a firearm or bow during prohibited hours, and to hunt with the use or aid of a light. The Board found that the discretion to issue a permit authorizing that activity must be exercised carefully, given that the activity is otherwise an offence. The Board found that the safety concerns identified by the COS and the Regional Manager were compelling. Furthermore, Mr. Smith provided no evidence to support his submission that thermal imaging (night vision) technology allows positive identification of the shooting target, and alleviates safety concerns related to the difficulty in observing the target and its surroundings at night. Consequently, the Board confirmed the Regional Manager’s decision.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.