2011 game forecast: British Columbia
There are whitetails in almost every hunting region, but the Peace and Kootenay areas continue to be the most productive. In 2010, wildlife managers took does off the limited entry draw in favour of a general open season in October. According to licence sales, uptake was good. The southern half of B.C. is still the core mulie range, but big deer are taken throughout the province.
The Skeena, Omineca and Thompson regions continue to offer plenty of opportunity for moose (smaller-bodied Shiras moose can be hunted in the Kootenays and eastern Okanagan regions). This past winter was fairly mild throughout most of the province, but the spring was late and wet, which will presumably have a negative impact on calf counts.
Vancouver Island is still a hot spot for world-class black bears; province-wide, the population is stable and the harvest is well within sustainable limits. Black bears are hunted in every region, in both spring and fall seasons. The grizzly bear harvest is tightly regulated and managers want to remind hunters that the impact to the population from shooting a boar is far lower than shooting a lone sow, so be sure of your target.
Ruffed, spruce and blue grouse are the most commonly targeted upland birds. They’re found in suitable habitat across the province and the latest numbers show populations are stable and healthy. The south Kootenay and Okanagan regions continue to be good spots to target Merriam turkeys.
This past winter’s snowfall and snowpacks were average or above average for the B.C. Interior, and water levels were marginally or substantially better than last year, when wetland conditions were poor. These improving water levels are expected to benefit waterfowl populations. The majority of duck and goose hunting occurs in the coastal Lower Mainland region, with Vancouver Island, and the Omineca and Peace areas also having good numbers.