BCWF REPORT – Rod Wiebe
Parksville Qualicum Fish & Game Association
Since my retirement in April 2012 as BCWF President, membership in the BCWF has grown 25% and now touches the 50,000 mark. That’s a lot of voices. This dramatic increase is mostly due to the rapid growth in shooting sports Province wide and those people need a certified site to pursue their chosen recreation. These sites are most commonly owned/operated by Fish and Game clubs like ours. Some are small but some, particularly in urbanized areas, are over 3,000 members. This growth, particularly over the last decade, has resulted in almost all BCWF affiliated clubs becoming highly populated by shooters who have no interest in hunting, fishing or conservation issues. In short, many clubs currently have a preponderance of members who have joined because they have to (need a safe and legal place to shoot) not because they want to (support the founding values of these clubs like fish & wildlife conservation, access to public lands, wildlife/fisheries management/allocations, habitat protection, etc.)
I believe this has become the situation in our own club. We have become large with the accompanying emergence of a shooting subculture having a single interest who are questioning why they must personally pay a portion of their annual club dues to the BC Wildlife Federation. It’s not that they oppose what the BCWF does for its members; its just that pure shooters don’t care so they don’t see why part of their club dues should go in support of values they don’t share. The complaint has persisted within our ranks without address to the point that there is a movement among members primarily from our Henry Range whose intent is to load the PQF&G Executive heavily with Directors to lead our club out of BCWF affiliation; or possibly break up the club along shooter/conservationist lines.
The wealth of assets our club currently enjoys is the result of decades of mutual effort and respect for each other’s values. Being united has brought us success and my opinion is that continued unity will carry us further to a successful future. It doesn’t make sense for any group to reject the values of another because the fact is we all need each other
Whenever our club needs to deal with complaints, City Council, Association or fundraise we gain esteem from being known as champions of the conservation ethic which is valued by First Nations and admired by all the public. To scrap the “Fish & Game” support by our members through affiliation with the BCWF would be the first step to ours becoming a gun club only. The social license our community currently holds for our association would evaporate. All the studies of public support for gun ownership clearly indicate high approval for purposes of hunting, low approval for target sports and almost zero for home or self defense.
In closing I would strongly urge our members to attend our upcoming AGM and elect a slate of Directors as their Executive that reflect the interests of all our members and not allow dominance by any single interest group. I am confident that a broad interest based Executive will carry us further down the road of success.
Respectfully submitted – Rod Wiebe, Past President PQF&G 1992- 1998.