Eventually we hope to set up a Wolftracker Matchmaker list, introducing competent, responsible hunters to landowners that want predator control on their land and range. In the wrong hands, this could be a disaster for hunter/landowner relations, but, done properly, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. I’m shooting for option “B”
Based on what I know about hunting on farms and ranches, and what I know about the owners, I’ll make a list of basic rules to observe.
I’ll modify it as time goes by, but for now, here’s a rough guide.
After getting permission to hunt, and ensuring you are following all related rules regarding license, firearms and seasons;
1) Introduce yourself to the rancher. After talking on the phone or internet, he or she wants to put a name to a face, Go say hello. Ask them where it’s OK to hunt, where the cows or sheep or crops are, where you can’t go, etc. Follow their instructions. Never shoot near livestock, or around or towards buildings, unless you have specific permission to do so.
A BCWF Passport may help in some cases. It’s a fairly new program that’s gaining recognition. Link at bottom of page.
2) On a cattle ranch especially, gates are sacred. if you find it open, leave it open, if you find it closed, make sure you close it after driving or walking through.
3) Do not litter. At all. Not even cigarette butts. If you must relieve yourself, do so discretely and leave no trace. Likewise, do no harm. Don’t damage crops or grasslands with vehicles, incl Quads.
4) Do not spook, startle, chase or harass livestock you find in your travels. You are a guest of the landowner that owns these animals, and they are their capital. Don’t mess with their way of life.
5) In my experience, many ranchers have favourite game animals. One ranch I hunt on has a black bear that hangs out, eats clover and alfalfa, has a nap, moves on. That bear is MASSIVE, but I have been asked not to kill it, and I will abide. The neighbours all know it, and it’s never caused trouble, so I respect their wishes. You might be allowed on a ranch to shoot only coyotes or wolves. Do what you’re asked to do. If a Boone and Crockett buck walks out, and you have been specifically asked NOT to shoot deer, DON’T. No exceptions.
Guaranteed the ranchers in the area know that buck, and have watched it grow up. Guaranteed. Don’t try a ‘sneak out’. Some ranches will love it if you shoot marmots and coyotes, but love seeing deer in the pasture at dawn. Their house, their rules.
You might get to a point where you’re allowed to take a deer or a bear or whatever, but show your mettle first. You will be invited to come back if you do. Don’t assume.
6) If you see anything amiss, such as irrigation pipes spewing water at a junction, a cow with a bad lumpy face or other obvious injuries, a broken gate or fence, whatever seems out of sorts, report it. This shows the rancher that you truly care about his property, leases and livelihood, and your positive attitude will go a long way in future. You can do this when you’re following step 7 below.
7) When leaving the property thank the landowner for the opportunity to hunt their land. If successful on an edible animal, offer the rancher/landowner a share. It will usually be politely declined, but it’s polite to offer. Ask them if there is something you can bring next time you visit, i.e. if you’re keeping bees, offer them some honey. If you’re a fisherman, offer to bring some halibut, oysters, smoked salmon, etc. If you have a nice garden, offer tomatoes, canned peaches, etc. If you take a deer or elk or tasty bear, offer to bring back some steaks, burger or sausage next time you visit. And never forget the one rule of any large ranch: There are ALWAYS fences to mend! Bring a toolkit if you’re handy, and your status will soar.
If you do this, and take some wolves or ‘yotes, and the landowner likes you, then your name will get around. You might get a call or email with “Nancy next ranch over has a coyote issue”, or ” Dan up top has a big Tom cougar killing calves.”
Game on, kiddo. You made it
Wolftracker heartily endorses the BC Wildlife Federation’s Passport Program, and the BC Cattlemen’s Association.
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