Hunting and Angling During COVID-19 FAQ

Hunting and Angling Included in Essential Services

Hunting and angling are sustainable, COVID-safe and good for your mental and physical health; hunting and angling will feed your family with organic, ethically sourced protein.  Compared to going to the grocery store, and other outdoor activities, responsible hunting and angling can provide excellent COVID-safe opportunities.  The BCWF encourages British Columbians to go outside and enjoy hunting and fishing.

Anxiety is high, especially in more remote communities, and the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks is real; your fellow British Columbians, including hunters and anglers are counting on you to follow not only the health orders but also the guidelines.  It will only take a few hunters and anglers who are not responsible to affect everyone else’s ability to hunt and fish.

Here is a list of the most frequently asked question:

What does having hunting and fishing classified as essential services actually mean?

Essential services are those daily services needed to preserve life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.  They are the services British Columbians come to rely on in their daily lives.

As it relates to hunting and fishing, they are listed under food and agriculture, which is tied to the act of securing food.  All organizations and services must still follow all Public Heath Office (PHO) orders and guidance.

Here is a link to the government’s List of Essential Services.

What does is mean when government (or Public Heath Office) says to hunt or angle locally?

While there is currently no definition, it is best to use common sense.  The PHO does not want people travelling to or using services in other communities.

The BCWF suggests hunting and fishing to areas you can leave your house and return the same day without having to stop to purchase any supplies such as fuel or food.

Who can safely leave home to pursue outdoor activities such as hunting and angling?

People who are not presently exhibiting any of the symptoms of being sick, and for at least the 14 previous days, can leave their homes for activities such as hunting and angling.  Hunters and anglers should travel only with people who live in the same residence.

Should I shop for food, fuel and other supplies in small communities while pursuing hunting, fishing or recreational activities away from home?

For the time being, many small communities are asking non-community members not to stop for supplies, including fuel. Small communities do not have the capacity to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in their medical facilities and should someone become infected in a rural community it would likely mean travel to a larger centre for treatment. Small communities are also experiencing shortages of some common supplies and are having trouble meeting the community’s demand without the added pressure of non-local shoppers.

All supplies should be purchased in your town of residence. While travel routes may go through other towns, do not stop in other towns for any reason.

Can I hunt and angle in a Provincial Park?

Prior to COVID-19, the park plan for some provincial parks does not allow hunting. At this time, the Ministry of Environment has decided to close all provincial parks for any kind of activity, so until that decision is reversed or modified, hunting and angling in provincial parks is not permitted. 

Am I allowed to camp on crown land other than in designated recreational sites and provincial parks?

Currently, there are no additional restrictions on camping on crown land outside of the closed areas.  Please keep in mind the guidelines of stay local, be respectful of the environment and your fellow British Columbians.

Am I able to hunt and angle within the traditional territory of a First Nations?

First Nations have jurisdiction to protect the health and safety of their community members.  Travel restrictions could apply to First Nations, and other small towns and communities should any issues develop.

Although there are no specific restrictions of travelling into First Nations communities, the same recommendations around hunting and angling locally and not stopping for supplies apply for the same reasons as travel to any rural and remote communities.  By following the PHO orders and guidelines, particularly hunting and fishing locally, conflict should be avoided.

What happens to my species licences and LEH authorizations?

The Limited Entry Hunting draw is expected to run in a manner consistent with previous years. Given the unprecedented circumstance of COVID-19, applicants must take into consideration several factors:

 

  • The Provincial Health Officer has asked all British Columbians to limit travel
  • Hunters are asked to only apply for Limited Entry Hunt areas close to home
  • Costs of processing a refund are many times greater than the application fee. It is the policy of the Ministry not to provide refunds should you not be able to partake in your hunt opportunity due to restrictions in place to protect the health and safety of British Columbians

We do not know what the trajectory of COVID will be this summer and fall.  As a result, travel restrictions may or may not be in effect.  While hunters can apply for LEH outside their region, they should be aware travel could be limited.  Hunters will not be issued a refund, or carryover if they are successful in the LEH draw.

Are non-residents of BC allowed to hunt and angle in BC?

Currently, travel into Canada from other countries is highly restricted and for “essential” purposes only, so by default, most non-residents will not be hunting or angling in Canada until those restrictions are changed. Most provinces are “urging” their citizens to avoid any non-essential inter-provincial travel, so non-resident hunters and anglers from other provinces could come to B.C., even though that would be contrary to B.C.’s hunt and fish “locally” recommendation and the recommendations of most provinces at this time.

Stay Safe and Stay Informed!

While you are out enjoying the outdoors, you are also the eyes and ears for our environmental enforcement agencies.  Reports of illegal dumping and poaching have increased recently.  Please download the BCWF conservation app to report any environmental infractions.

Go out and enjoy yourself, but please stay local, be prepared, responsible, patient and courteous.

For updates about Hunting and Angling During COVID-19 check our website regularly.