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A podcast based out of British Columbia dedicated to hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation and the great outdoors.

News & Blog

Find out what's happing with the Rookie Hunter crew. News about the show, issues we're up against, and things we’ve mentioned on the show.

72: BC Moose Hunting Ban

The Rookie Hunter

Williams Lake Tribune

Aug. 29, 2018

Government announces restrictions to Chilcotin moose hunts this fall

The government announced new closures and restrictions to several limited-entry moose hunts in the Chilcotin this fall.

The closure will begin Oct. 1 to Oct. 14 limited-entry hunt in management units 5-13A, 5-13C and 5-14, and close the moose hunt in portions of management units 5-03, 5-04 and 5-06. In addition, the use of motor vehicles for the purposes of hunting on branch roads or trails in portions of management units 5-12A and 5-12B is prohibited.

In a news release, the ministry said they were taking the additional steps after a decade-long population decline, wildfire impacts and concerns from First Nations.

Over the past 10 years, moose populations have decreased in the area from about 18,000 to 11,500 animals, said the ministry.

There are no restrictions to First Nations hunters, although the government said it is working with First Nations leaders and communities to reduce the harvest of cow moose in the Chilcotin.

“The moose hunting opportunities that remain in place in this area are considered sustainable and strive to balance the interests of Indigenous peoples and licensed hunters,” he ministry stated.

“These restrictions are the result of discussions between the Province and the Tsilhqot’in Nation, and aim to address concerns related to decreasing moose numbers and increased vulnerability of moose to hunting following last year’s wildfires. Changes to the landscape from wildfire can increase sightlines for hunters, potentially resulting in higher success rates and more moose killed. The restrictions will be in place for this year’s moose hunting season and will be re-evaluated after the season is over.”

The government said it was committed to reconciliation and adherence to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“These changes reflect both the short- and long-term goals of government.”

No one from government was immediately available to comment on how many hunters or LEHs this latest decision will impact.

For several years now the Cow Moose Sign Project initiated by Williams Lake resident Dan Simmons has been bringing awareness to the decline of the population and the need to restrict antlerless moose hunting for all.

CBC News

Sep 06, 2018

B.C. First Nations ban moose hunt after wildfires destroy habitats

Two First Nations governments in the B.C. Interior are joining together to ban all limited-entry hunting for moose in their respective territories, while accusing the province of not taking effective action to protect the animals.

The Tsilhqot'in Nation and Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance say in a joint statement that this year's record-breaking wildfires have made struggling moose populations in the region even more vulnerable.

The fires have drastically reduced high-value habitat for the animals, while creating thousands of access routes for hunters and predators.

Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse, pictured in 2017, has said hunting would only further endanger the moose population. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The First Nations say the situation is so dire that many locals are choosing not to exercise their Aboriginal rights to hunt moose and are going without their main source of winter food.

"When our moose suffer, our people suffer," Chief Betty Cahoose wrote in the statement.

They say that while the provincial government continues to issue limited-entry hunting permits, they are asking all hunters to respect the ban they're imposing on their territories.

The provincial government could not immediately be reached for comment.

BC Wildlife Federation

September 10, 2018

Enough is Enough

During the last few weeks several First Nations have called on the government to ban hunting in their territories under the guise of fires impacting wildlife. The provincial government has responded in the case of the Tsilhqot’in Nation call for a ban by noting that the science indicates no measurable impact on wildlife (moose) due to the 2017 fires. The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) applauds the government for sticking to science in its response to the Tsilhqot’in demand.

The BC Wildlife Federation has no issue with legitimate requirements for First Nations right to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) use of wildlife. Resident and non-resident use are set after FSC has been met. A few in the public seem to forget that some non-indigenous people do rely on wild meat for their families. BCWF President Harvey Andrusak stated “we are respectful of First Nations’ FSC requirements that are set by government after conservation levels are satisfied. The BCWF objects when First Nations’ demands for hunting bans are not based on science nor due to conservation concerns. When there are true conservation concerns, then the BCWF calls for no hunting by non-indigenous and indigenous people. This is not what is being put forward by most First Nations.” The government has stated that impacts of fire on wildlife numbers to date have been insignificant.

Using the argument of impacts of fire to call for a ban on resident hunting is disingenuous since a) the call does not include a ban to all hunters and b) the area of fire impact, although very large and clearly disastrous to humans and their dwellings, is in fact a very small portion of any of the identified traditional territories involved.

The continued First Nations call for hunting bans predicated on fires impacting wildlife is an example of First Nations asking the BC government to make wildlife management decisions based on non-science or populism. The BCWF is saying enough is enough, let the wildlife managers do their job and make decisions based on science.

The BCWF works with a number of First Nations including the Tsilhqot’in Nation and other First Nations to improve wildlife populations, especially moose that are a prime source of food for their people. The solution to the current issue of calls for hunting bans is not to eliminate one group of hunters but rather to restore wildlife numbers through collaborative restoration of wildlife habitat. 

The BC Wildlife Federation is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization. Our 40,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Our volunteers and donors give generously of their time and finances to support to a wide range of wildlife conservation programs and projects.

Photo submitted to Williams Lake Tribune

Photo submitted to Williams Lake Tribune

EP 65: Backpacking Meals - Granola Bars

The Rookie Hunter

On Episode 65, Mike mentioned a granola bar recipe he uses before each trip into the backcountry. You can find the complete recipe from the Minimalist Baker by clicking HERE .

Do you have favourite dehydtared food recipies you think we should try? Leave us a link in the comments section or send an email to

EP 64: Wildlife & Habitat Engagement

The Rookie Hunter

On Episode 64, Kelly mentioned the opportunity to engage with the B.C Provincial Government to express your concerns and to share your ideas. You can do so from this link:

"Share your knowledge and ideas to help create a new wildlife and habitat conservation strategy for B.C.

B.C.’s diversity of wildlife provides many environmental, cultural, social, and economic benefits to all British Columbians.

The purpose of this engagement is to open a discussion among Indigenous peoples, rural communities, wildlife organizations, natural resource development industry stakeholders, and the public so together we can identify ideas on ways to improve the way we manage wildlife and their habitat.

The Province seeks a better understanding of the challenges facing wildlife management and habitat conservation, and ways to explore opportunities for developing more effective management tools.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is looking for thoughts and feedback on:

  • The engagement approach and how you would like to be involved in the future;
  • Questions posed in the challenges section;
  • Issues or concerns you think we should be aware of;
  • Ideas or solutions you or your organization wishes to share;
  • Anything you wish to share on the topic of how wildlife management and habitat conservation can be improved in B.C.

Join the discussion on challenges and opportunities below. Submit your feedback by July 31, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

The Province is using this online discussion tool to seek a better understanding of the challenges facing wildlife management and habitat conservation, and ways to explore opportunities for developing more effective management tools.

There are a series of challenges currently facing wildlife management and habitat conservation in British Columbia that are posted to this site. All of the challenges have been determined through discussions with Indigenous peoples, rural communities, wildlife and habitat organizations, natural resource development industry stakeholders and the public over the last number of years. This list is by no means exhaustive and is provided as a starting point for sharing your thoughts. Each Challenge includes “Our Opportunities” and then a question for you to comment on."

Caribou herds and habitat continue to decline: federal report (The Canadian Press)

The Rookie Hunter

-Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Canada’s woodland caribou herds and the habitat they need continue to decline five years after the provinces agreed to develop strategies to preserve them, a federal study has concluded.

And all provinces and territories are on a six-month deadline to lay out plans showing how they will keep the animal that’s featured on the back of the quarter on the land. They have already missed one deadline.

“A number of provinces and territories have taken action,” said Liberal MP Jonathan Wilkinson, parliamentary secretary to the environment minister. “That being said, it clearly is not enough.”

But a forestry industry representative said not enough is known about the changing boreal forest to make rules on how much needs to be saved for caribou.

“We can’t be cutting corners to the point where it might be doing nothing for caribou and putting thousands of people out of work,” said Derek Nighbor of the Forest Products Association of Canada.

The report, released Tuesday, found that none of Canada’s 51 caribou herds is growing. Twenty are in decline and not enough is known about 21 of them to even estimate their population trend.

Ten of those declining herds have fewer than 100 animals — some barely more than a couple dozen — leaving them highly vulnerable to being wiped out.

The old-growth boreal forests the caribou depend on are also deteriorating.

Despite five years of attempts to preserve or rehabilitate habitat disturbed by energy development or forestry, only 19 of 51 ranges met federal requirements to be 65 per cent undisturbed — two fewer than in 2012. Industrial disturbance increased in 29 of the ranges.

Only nine ranges were in better shape in 2017 than in 2012.

Last October, a five-year deadline passed for provinces to file detailed plans on how they were going to restore critical habitat.

Several provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, have released draft plans. Others have said some of their plans are expected early next year.

None has completely met the terms of the federal bill.

Under the Species At Risk Act, Ottawa will now take until April 2018 to determine whether the provinces have sufficiently protected critical habitat. If they haven’t, the environment minister is required to ask for a federal order to do it for them.

Wilkinson said the federal government and the provinces agree all 51 herds can still be preserved, although that could change.

“We’re certainly open to engaging the provinces as we move forward,” he said. “There would have to be a scientific underpinning to the argument.”

Justina Ray, head scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society, said some herds could disappear in as little as five years if nothing changes. She said the federal report puts the provinces on notice.

“This is the first shot across the bow,” she said. “It is making a statement that there is more work that needs to be done.”

But Nighbor said not enough is known about the impacts of climate change, predators or invasive diseases to pin all the blame on habitat disturbance. He points out that some herds considered stable live on ranges that are 95 per cent disturbed, although those herds are also protected by massive wolf culls.

“You need to look at all the factors,” he said, adding Ottawa also needs to ensure that local communities are involved in decisions.

Wilkinson said governments are willing to take a look at any new science, but something must be done.

“The scientific evidence is very clear, that habitat destruction is directly related to the decline in caribou,” he said.

“We need to take action.”

(Bob Weber, The Canadian Press)

Link to Original Article: CLICK HERE

 A wild caribou roams the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on March 25, 2009. The first federal survey of what the provinces are doing to preserve caribou says both herds and and habitat continue to generally decline. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A wild caribou roams the tundra near The Meadowbank Gold Mine located in the Nunavut Territory of Canada on March 25, 2009. The first federal survey of what the provinces are doing to preserve caribou says both herds and and habitat continue to generally decline. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Mike and Kelly on Beyond the Kill

The Rookie Hunter

Last week the guys we're invited to spend a few hours chatting with Adam Janke who hosts Beyond the Kill and is also the Editor in Chief of The Journal of Mountain Hunting. They covered a lot of topics on this episode, so make sure to check out the show and SUBSCRIBE to the podcast on iTunes.

You can also subscribe to the Journal of Mountain Hunting's monthly online magazine for FREE by clicking HERE

Are we losing what makes B.C. special?

The Rookie Hunter


British Columbia is known for its spectacular wilderness and diverse fish and wildlife. But habitats are under pressure and the province’s natural abundance is diminishing.

The BC Wildlife Federation is concerned about the decline in many fish and wildlife populations in the province. That’s why we’re hosting town hall meetings in dozens of communities to outline the problems and present solutions.

The 50,000-member BCWF represents more than 100 individual clubs in nine regions of the province, as well as direct members and partner groups. To address deteriorating conditions for fish and wildlife in individual regions, we examined a number of provincial trends.

Declining funding

From 1998 to 2011, provincial government funding for renewable resource ministries dropped by 56 per cent. In the 1960s, B.C. was investing 0.60 per cent of its provincial budget on the Fish and Wildlife Branch; it has been in continuous decline and the branch now gets 0.06 per cent of the provincial budget. With more people and pressure on our natural resources, combined with fewer resources to manage them, we are seeing long-term declines in abundance across the landscape.

Declining wildlife      

Caribou, moose, elk, and mule, and black-tailed deer populations have been declining for decades. For example, on Vancouver Island, the black-tailed deer estimate has declined by 70 per cent over the past four decades. In central B.C., moose populations have recnetly declined 50 to 70 per cent. Several central and southern caribou populations, which have been closed to hunting for decades, continue to disappear.

Declining fish stocks

British Columbia’s lakes, streams, tidal waters and stocks of salmon, steelhead and trout attract anglers from B.C. and around the world each year. But some famous fisheries are in serious trouble. The Kootenay Lake kokanee and Gerrard rainbow trout used to be popular catch (and release) fish for sport and recreation angling. But in 2015 and 2016, kokanee spawner returns were very low; at about 40,000, they are only a fraction of the 500,000 to one million kokanee that normally spawn.

Fraser River steelhead has long sustained First Nations people; steelhead was also central to this interior region’s world-class recreational fishery. At the present time, Fraser River late-run summer steelhead stocks are at extremely low levels of abundance and in a state of “Extreme Conservation Concern.” The Thompson and Chilko Rivers, which saw combined returns of approximately 5,000 fish in the 1980s, both reached record lows of 430, and 134 fish, respectively, in 2016. The Thompson fishery declined from 14,000 angler days in 1985 to 4,000 angler days in 2005 — and, more recently, to no fishing.

Increasing demand

The popularity of eating fresh local food has encouraged an increase in hunting and fishing activity. A comparison of resident freshwater angling licences issued from 2005 to 2015 in B.C. shows a steady increase in the number of anglers, from 250,000 to 280,000. Resident hunter licences went up from 90,000 to 112,000 annually over the same 10-year period.

Reversing the trend

To turn things around, we need to act. Funding is a fundamental pillar to sustainable fish and wildlife management, yet B.C.’s fish and wildlife branch is one of the most under-funded and under-staffed agencies in North America. While most agencies in northwest North America spend $180 to $850 per square kilometre, B.C. is spending approximately $36 per square kilometre. Places like Washington, Montana, and Idaho – which are much smaller and have a fraction of the diversity of fish and wildlife – have budgets which are two to five times greater than B.C.’s.

Fish and wildlife populations can be restored

  • The BC Wildlife Federation has created an on-line petition calling for all hunting licence revenues to be directed back to managing the resource. We also call for all natural resource users to contribute directly to recover and increase fish, wildlife and their habitats across B.C.
  • Science should identify legislated objectives for habitat, fish and wildlife populations. There is currently no road map to ensure future generations can enjoy what B.C. currently has to offer and basic monitoring of wildlife populations are not being met.
  •  Social support should come from a roundtable with First Nations and those with a vested interest to work together collaboratively. It’s up to all of us to ensure that there are fish and wildlife in our wild spaces. Let’s make sure future generations can enjoy the outdoor legacy of our beautiful province.

To find out how you can take action, sign our petition and join the BCWF, please visit

This story was provided by the BC Wildlife Federation for commercial purposes.

More from Jesse Zeman and the BCWF on Episode 36

Mike & Kelly to Host BC Interior Sportsman Show

The Rookie Hunter

If you  live in the BC Interior, make sure to get your tickets for the 2nd annual BC Interior Sportsman Show. The show runs from April 7th - 9th, with Mike and Kelly MC'ing on the 8th (Saturday). Please come out and say hi! 

If you'd like to win free tickets, make sure to listen to the podcast throughout the month of March for more details. There will be 4 episodes, each one highlighting a different presenter from the BCISS.  

To get your tickets, click HERE. We'll see you at the 2017 BC Interior Sportsman Show.