Wildlife Defence League launches "Trophy-Free BC" initiative to ban cougar, lynx & bobcat hunting

Photo credit: John E. Marriott

Photo credit: John E. Marriott

Following a successful campaign to end the hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia, Wildlife Defence League has launched a new #TrophyFreeBC initiative to ban the hunting of cougar, lynx and bobcat in the province. To accomplish this goal, the initiative will involve fieldwork, advocacy, education and research.

During late fall, winter and early spring, wild cats in the province are killed for trophy. Hunting cougar, lynx and bobcat is extremely difficult so hounds (often equipped with GPS collars), are used to track, chase and tree the animals. As the cat sits exhausted and defenceless, the trophy hunter follows the GPS signal to its location. While standing near the base of the tree, the animal is shot. Shooting at extreme angles and with tree branches often obscuring sightlines, a clean kill is never guaranteed.

There are glaring ethical issues with these hunts. For instance, while it’s illegal to kill a mother cougar in the presence of her kittens, killing a mother while she has left her kittens in the safety of a nursery or rendezvous site is legal. Orphaned kittens are often left to starve or are attacked by other predators and rarely survive. The use of hounds to hunt wild cats can separate mothers from their young; puts the dogs at unnecessary risk of injury and death and ultimately provides an unfair advantage that should not fall under the category of fair-chase.

Join us today as we seek to protect these iconic wild cats from inhumane, outdated and unethical hunting practices.

Coalition seeks to stop wildlife killing contests in British Columbia


WDL joins a coalition of 54 environmental and animal protection groups, conservationists and scientists in calling on the government of British Columbia to put a stop to wildlife-killing contests, after learning about three such events currently taking place in the province.

In an open letter addressed to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Doug Donaldson, the signatories expressed significant concern about the existence of contests throughout the province that are encouraging the indiscriminate killing of animals including wolves, coyotes, cougars and racoons.

In some cases, participants receive points for the type of animal killed and are competing for a cash prize. The coalition is currently aware of three separate contests, the first is a “wolf-whacking contest” hosted by Chilcotin Guns in Williams Lake; the second is a “predator tournament” hosted by the Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club; and the third is a wolf bounty being offered by the West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club.

The coalition opposes these contests and argues they are not supported by science, nor are they ethical. While contest organizers claim their efforts are a “fun” way to protect ungulate populations by reducing predator populations, research shows that predator killing contests are ineffective and fail to address any root causes of decline. Instead, wildlife professionals suggest efforts should be invested in habitat protection and restoration.

The coalition also points to the widespread public support surrounding the ban on the grizzly bear trophy hunt, as well as the growing opposition to the province’s wolf cull program to suggest that the vast majority of British Columbians would also not support these predator killing contests.

These contests not only teach disrespect for wildlife through the indiscriminate killing of as many predators as possible for fun, but they also disregard the value of individual animals, both intrinsically and as a part of the larger ecosystem to which they belong.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said in a statement that it doesn’t condone or encourage wildlife-killing contests but noted there are no rules that prevent them from being held so long as hunters are properly licensed and follow the laws. It’s our position that the government has the authority and responsibility to handle wildlife management and they permit what they condone and ban what they don’t. If they truly don’t condone these events then they should ban them.

We’re encouraging our supporters to contact the appropriate government officials and respectfully ask that predator-killing contests be banned. Contact information can be found below. You can also find contact information for your MLA and include them in your ask.

Hon. Doug Donaldson - Minster of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

Email: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (250) 387-6240

Hon. George Heyman - Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy

E-mail: ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: (250) 387-1187

Fish and Wildlife - Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development

Email: FishandWildlife@gov.bc.ca

Telephone: 1-877-855-3222