So, you want to hunt big game

How does big game hunting in British Columbia work?

Kamloops This Week

If you want to hunt big game in B.C., how does it work?

The province’s limited-entry hunting system — the way many big-game animals are “taken,” to use hunting parlance — is a lottery.

Basically, if you want to hunt certain animals that aren’t subject to open seasons — sheep, moose, grizzly bear and others — you are required to apply and luck is a big requirement.

Every January, biologists from the B.C. Ministry of Environment located across the province examine their regions. They take local species statistics and factor in the previous year’s hunting numbers, habitat changes and climate issues to determine how a specific herd or area species might have been affected.

With those figures, the biologists set regulations for each region — how many animals of various species can be hunted.

Every year, officials receive more than 150,000 applications for limited-entry hunts. The applications are sent to a private accounting firm where they’re tabulated. They include first- and second-choice hunts — locations where hunters would like to take down their animal of choice.

A computer program running an enhanced-odds system checks all applicants and decreases chances of winning a lottery if the hunter has won in recent years. If a hunter has taken that lottery’s score in the previous three years, his or her likelihood of winning a tag is decreased by 66 per cent.

Once the draw is held, notifications are sent by mail to successful hunters.

After killing an animal in a limited-entry hunt, a hunter may be required to take his or her animal to a government-employed wildlife technician for a compulsory inspection.

At these inspections, biological data is collected, along with various measurements of the animal. In addition, the hunter is required to give an exact location of where the kill took place.

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