The wolf has been present in the Grand Forks area for five years so it is hardly surprising that Washington State rancher, McIrwin who ranges cows adjacent to the International Border in the Grand Forks area has serious concerns.
The question that needs to be asked, and as usual is on no one’s radar screen, is rancher McIrwin blessed because the deer herd in North East Washington State is managed or is he cursed because of the questionable quality of deer management in the Grand Forks area that has resulted in the collapse of the Boundary deer herd, the largest in the province for decades?
Wolves like all predators will create a travel route that identifies the key food source and McIrwin’s side of the border is much more appealing.
Not hard to figure. B.C. is destroying the whitetail deer in the Grand Forks area with a ruthless three week whitetail doe and 82 day rifle season. Washington State immediately below Grand Forks issues a responsible number of doe permits and hunts the whitetail buck 14 days with the rifle.
This is a same story with the mule deer. Once in the thousands, they are a rare sight on their historic range in Grand Forks. Washington State, immediately below Grand Forks with the same human populations, hunts the mule deer buck nine days (no rut) when they are vulnerable and a three-point restriction to educate the young buck facing his first hunting season. B.C. in another example of a ruthless attempt to provide hunting opportunity regardless of consequences has a 52 day rifle season.
Although I have no sympathy for ranchers, maybe their political friends in Victoria should have thought twice before fanatically insisting that hunting opportunity has priority in all hunting regulations regardless of consequence thus making their ranching friend’s calves more appealing than ever to the wolf!
A few years ago I spent time with Washington State biologist, Allan Palmanteer, on McIrwin’s cow range and was amazed how much critical winter feed for ungulates his cows consumed.
Politics is supposed to be the art of compromise so would it not be reasonable to insist that McIrwin manage his range responsibly in return for government support in solving his wolf problem and is not a healthy ungulate population part of all ranchers’ defense against the wolf?
Grand Forks, B.C.