Pacific Wild comment: The legal issues that WCEL lawyers put forward in their legal opinion still have not been addressed by the BC government. We will continue to advocate for wolves and work to end this wolf-kill contest.

Victoria sticks to guns in allowing wolf-kill contest

Vancouver Sun
December 19, 2012

Hunting is skill-based, so doesn’t qualify as ‘gambling,’ official says

The provincial government is sticking to its guns and won’t intervene to stop a controversial wolf-kill contest in the Peace region.

Douglas Scott, assistant deputy minister for the gambling policy and enforcement branch, says in a letter released Wednesday that for an activity to be considered gambling, it must involve three elements: consideration (participants must pay a fee or make a purchase to be eligible), chance and the opportunity to win a prize.

“While this contest involves the elements of consideration and prize, we are satisfied that hunting is a skill-based activity,” he writes in a letter to West Coast Environmental Law. “To be eligible for winning a prize, contest participants must present a wolf.”

He described the wolf hunt as similar to a fishing derby “where a fish must be presented” before contestants are eligible to win a prize.

West Coast staff lawyer Andrew Gage provided a legal opinion to Pacific Wild last week suggesting the province erred when it concluded the wolf-kill contest does not require a permit.

“Games in which winners gain more as a result of the contributions of other contestants, whether games of chance or skill, are clearly prohibited under Section 206 of the Criminal Code, and subject to regulation by the province ...,” he wrote.

In response to Scott’s letter, Gage said that money from the organization’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund will be used to hire Nanaimo lawyer Danelle Lambert to confirm his legal opinion and to look into options that might be taken given the province’s refusal to intervene.

“It’s an initial legal opinion on what can be done,” he said.

The Vancouver Sun reported last month that hunters who enter the contest and kill the biggest wolves stand to receive $250 to $1,000 and more — plus a booby prize of $150 for the smallest wolf. According to a copy of the contest poster obtained by The Sun, hunters pay $50 to enter, with winners receiving 10 to 40 per cent of the entry prize pool in addition to the guaranteed prizes of $150 to $1,000. Participants also stand to win draws for prizes such as a rifle, free taxidermy work, and a $200 gift certificate at a hunting shop.

Fort St. John sponsors of the contest include: North Peace Rod and Gun Club; realtor Rich Petersen, a former B.C. Wildlife Federation director; Raven Oilfield Rentals; Backcountry, a fishing and hunting store; T & C Taxidermy; and Mr. Green-Up Envirotech Ltd., which offers hydroseeding services.

The contest continues to March 31, with up to three wolves per hunter.

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