Hunting quota appeal dismissed for Cariboo guide outfitters

An appeal has been dismissed for five Cariboo guide outfitters, who challenged a July 2022 moose allocation and quota decision set by Logan Wenham, Director, Wildlife and Habitat, Resource Stewardship Division of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Their appeal was dismissed by Environmental Appeal Board Panel Chair Linda Michaluk on Feb. 2, who said the five appellants, Bradley Bowden, Darren Linnell, Eldon McMann, Allan Tew, and Stewart Fraser failed to prove their allegation that Wenham acted arbitrarily in his decision.

"The appellants have the obligation of establishing, on a balance of probabilities, that the director failed to comply with legal requirements or otherwise acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner when the director made the quota and allocation decisions. I find that they have failed to do so," wrote Michaluk.

"This does not amount to deference to the director, but rather the fulfillment of the appropriate burden of proof on appeal," she added.

The guide outfitters sought to have their 2022 to 2026 allocations and 2022/2023 quota increased to the same levels issued during 2017 to 2021. A five-year allocation for moose is determined after population estimates are gathered and analyzed by the Ministry, who sets a sustainable harvest number.

Bowden’s allocation is 47 moose, and his quota is 14. Linnell’s allocation is 13 moose, and his quota is four. McMann’s Allocation is seven moose, and his quota is two. Tew’s allocation is eight moose, and his quota is two. Fraser’s allocation is 37 moose, and his quota is 11.

The group also alleged that former Ministry Wildlife Director Jennifer Psyllakis influenced Wenham's decisions, noted the ruling, and that local expertise was not considered.

The Cariboo Region is regulated under the Limited Entry Hunting system and has been since 1993, designating a specific number of game to resident hunters and guide outfitters to be hunted over the course of a licence year, with set quotas for guides informed by allocation.

The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) was granted limited participant status by the appeal board in the matter, providing a written statement on the Province's allocation policy and procedures, and over potential impacts of guide outfitter quotas on resident hunters.

"The BCWF submits that the allocation policy has been administered properly in this instance and that the appellants’ requests for quota increases for a moose season that has already ended are not feasible," noted the ruling.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News