Hunters this year have more to take into consideration when planning their trips into the backcountry.
While the complete backcountry ban has been lifted in the area, there is still an off-road vehicle prohibition, as well as restrictions in the area for still-burning fires.
“The biggest thing they’ll have to consider is where you’ll have to go with all the fires,” says Jude Dion, owner of Exeter Sporting Goods. “You’re still allowed out there, of course, you’ve just got to know where you are going.”
He says to be aware that things are a little drier than normal in the bush this year.
“Keep that in mind, carry some extra water in case there is, not necessarily yourself, but if somebody does start a fire then you can help to put it out.”
He also suggests that hunters consider taking a little less than they normally do.
“For example, the grouse and deer. Instead of two or three just take one or two. Give the game a chance to recover from all this because it’s been pretty devastating for them as well.”
Mark Roseboom, the owner of Lone Butte Sporting Goods, says he’s mainly been talking with hunters about what they are and are not allowed to do this year.
“We still have to stay off the side roads, we can drive the main forest service roads and people are just going to have to walk a little more.”
As a result, he says hunters will need to be prepared to either carry their game a little farther or process the meat in the bush and carry it out in a pack.
Either way, he says the store has the gear and knowledge to help.
Still, he says, it’s important to know where to go this year.
“The biggest thing is to double check your maps and make sure you’re not going to go hunting in that area where they have a buffer zone around the fires,” Roseboom says.
Aside from general knowledge of the area, Dion says it’s important to be prepared with a first aid kit and other survival supplies to take care of yourself.
At Exeter Sporting Goods, he says employees try to stay abreast of what is going on.
“Where people are seeing game, where they are shooting game, where there are animals taken and what’s going on — that aspect of it and we try to keep abreast of where the closures and openings are so that if they decide to go where it’s closed and they ask me I can tell them where they can and can’t go and short of that check with forestry.”
On a logistical level, hunters need to make sure they have their hunting tags and licenses, as well as C.O.R.E. and firearms courses completed before they head to the field. Licenses and tags are available for hunters in stores throughout the area, as well as online through the B.C. government’s resident hunting page.
While the hunting season itself has been controversial this year, Roseboom says that some people rely on hunting for food, and it’s also used as a wildlife management tool.
He says he hopes everything next year comes back to where it should be.
Dion wishes hunters the best this year.
“Good luck, hope everybody does well and gets what they need to get and do it in fair chase,” he says.