A northern British Columbia gun club and some local businesses are sponsoring a contest offering cash prizes to the hunters who kill the biggest wolves, and the idea has drawn emotional opposition from Canadian conservationists. The Vancouver Sun reports wolves can be hunted year-round in B.C., and the province is considering eliminating the bag limit, saying the wolf population is healthy.
Hunters who kill the largest wolves stand to receive $250 to $1,000 and up, with a booby prize of $150 for the smallest wolf and draws for prizes such as a rifle and free taxidermy work.
“It’s just kind of a social thing that’s gotten bigger every year,” said Rich Petersen, a hunter and realtor in Fort St. John who is co-sponsoring the event.
“It’s not a contest to exterminate wolves, not an organized thing where we go out and shoot every wolf in the country. If you are driving down the road and see one and you happen to shoot it and you’re in this contest, you have a chance to win something.”
Conservation scientist Chris Darimont of the University of Victoria told the Sun the contest gives all hunters a bad reputation.
“This is not about putting food on the table or feeding families; this is about feeding the egos of small men with big guns,” he said. “There is this focus on size. I’ll leave that up to psychologists as to why, but it seems to dominate those interested in hunting for trophies.”
Nature photographer John Marriott of Canmore, Alberta, is urging a tourism boycott of the Alaska Highway in response to the contest.
Read more in the Vancouver Sun: Contest offers cash prizes for wolf kills in northeastern B.C.