Open Collections

BC Sessional Papers


Item Metadata


JSON: bcsessional-1.0064280.json
JSON-LD: bcsessional-1.0064280-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcsessional-1.0064280-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcsessional-1.0064280-rdf.json
Turtle: bcsessional-1.0064280-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcsessional-1.0064280-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcsessional-1.0064280-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

1905.  6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 3
Vancouver, B. C.
January,  1906.
The Hon. F. J. Fulton,
Provincial Secretary, Victoria, B. G.
Sir,—I have the honour to submit herewith my Report (as required by section 37 of the
Game Act) for the year 1905.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Provincial Game and Forest Warden.  6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 5
The Department for the Protection of Game and Forests, with the office of Provincial
Game and Forest Warden, was instituted by the "Game Amendment Act, 1905." The
organisation of the Department and the appointment of Game and Forest Warden date from
the first of July last, so that there have been only a few months to organise an entirely new
On taking office, it was at once found that the work was far in excess of that expected,
particularly the amount of correspondence from all parts of the Province and outside. It was
in consequence impossible to do more than attend to the more important matters.
The protection of big game was the first matter to receive attention, after which other
things, of less importance, were attended to, as far as it was possible for one Warden to do so.
Considerable assistance was given me by the Provincial Police and by salaried Wardens provided by the Game Associations of Vancouver and Victoria. These Wardens did very good
service, and many of the convictions obtained in these districts were due to their efforts. The
Provincial Police, of course, gave me every assistance in their power, and on all sides did
exceptionally good service, most of the successful prosecutions being due to their efforts or
assistance; but as they have so many other duties to attend to, the time they can devote to
game matters is necessarily limited.
It is to be regretted that there has been a great tendancy on the part of the Magistrates
throughout the Province to show excessive leniency towards those brought before them for
infringements of the Game Laws. This is, of course, due to the fact that, up to the present
year, these laws were never taken as seriously as they should have been; still, this year there
is no reason why higher fines should not have been inflicted, as copies of the Game Laws were
widely distributed throughout the country, and it was generally made known that the time had
come when there was to be a change from the previous order of things. Now, the action of the
Magistrates not only was an encouragement to the law-breakers to go on defying the law, but
it was most disheartening to the Police and Wardens who were endeavouring to protect the
game. Nobody, however willing he may be to do his duty, can be expected to take the same
interest in his work if he has spent a lot of time in procuring evidence to obtain a conviction,
and then the Magistrates acquit the culprit altogether, or impose such a light fine that the
whole thing becomes an absurdity. I do not, by any means, wish to complain of all the Magistrates, as, of course, some of the cases this year were more or less test cases, and others were
unintentional infringements of small importance; also, one or two of the Magistrates, recognising
the attitude of the Government towards game protection, imposed sufficiently heavy fines, the
effect of which has been to check, if not entirely stop, the more serious infringements of the law.
After the Game Act was amended last spring it was generally considered that the law was
most satisfactory, but, in my opinion, after over six months' experience of the practical working
of the Act, certain changes and additions are most necessary.
The genera] conclusions arrived at are, that the condition of the game is in even a more
unsatisfactory state than supposed; that already there is a change for the better in the observance of the Game Laws, but that there is a great deal of room for improvement in that respect;
that with the Act again amended and sufficient help to see that it is observed, there is no D 6 Game Warden's Report. 1906
reason why the stock of game should not only recover but in a few years greatly increase, so
that there will be sufficient for the people of the country and enough to spare to induce numerous
tourists to come into the country and put large sums of money in circulation.
Non-Residents' Licences.
During the season of 1904 the total revenue produced by the licence fees of non-residents
only amounted to $1,750. This year (1905) the amount collected up to the present amounts
to $2,720; and as it is likely that a few $5 licences may still be issued, the increase over last
year should amount to $1,000.
Taking into consideration the fact that a good many people decided not to come into this
country to hunt on account of so many rumours of the destruction of game out of season by
Indians and others, it is satisfactory to find an increase, and shows that a great deal more
trouble has been taken in collecting the fees. Also, it is a known fact that the payment of a
good many fees, which should have been collected, was evaded under the plea of only hunting
bear, and in other cases press of work prevented the following up of certain people who were
hunting in out-of-the-way places along the Coast. However, even if the amount collected had
been doubled, it would then be a mere nothing to what it should be, and, I think I may say,
will be, if it can be shown that we are enforcing the laws and can guarantee that the best
grounds are not despoiled of all game before the season opens.
Game Associations.
Now that the Government has shown that they are taking an interest in the preservation
of game, the different associations have taken a new lease of life and new ones are being
started. Owing to press of work, the organisation of these societies has not received the
attention it should have, but it is to be hoped that, seeing the amount of interest that is being
taken in all matters pertaining to sport and the protection of game and fishing, this matter
will be remedied during the coming year.
In Victoria the association is strong and has assisted me in every way possible, and
provided salaried Game Wardens at the time most needed.
In Vancouver the interest taken by the various gun and game clubs is exceptionally
strong, as is shown by the large number of subscribers to the fund for the payment of salaried
Wardens during the past season. Such good work has been effected by the leading men of
the clubs that I think if they were to organise into one body from a game protection point of
view, such an association would be more than strong. The individual interest taken by
people is very noticeable, as, of course, it is in other places, but here in a more marked degree.
Last year, in this city, there were 935 signatures to a petition asking for a $2 licence to
carry firearms and better enforcement of the Game Laws; and this year they have, at their
own expense, provided me with two salaried Game Wardens for some months and special
officers as they were required.
At Fernie the association is surprisingly strong; they have had several convictions and
are doing a great deal of good. They are taking a most active interest in keeping the Stoney
Indians on their own reserve.
Chilliwhack can boast of an association of over a hundred members, which, considering
the size of the community, is most creditable.
At Ladners, at a recent meeting to discuss the Game Laws, there were over sixty people
There are also associations at Ashcroft, Eamloops, Nelson, ancl other places 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 7
Game a Valuable Asset to the Province.
There is no doubt that big game all over the world is becoming scarcer every year, while
the number of sportsmen is increasing, and, in consequence, more and more difficulty is found
in obtaining good shooting, so that it can only be a matter of a few years when those countries
that do not have strict preservation of their game will not have any game at all, and those
that do will reap a rich harvest from the number of people who will come to hunt it.
British Columbia still has a splendid stock of game, and in spite of the great amount of
slaughter during the last few years, there is but little doubt that it is the best all-round
country for sport on the continent. Where else can sportsmen go and find the same variety of
big game, moose, wapiti, sheep, cariboo, goat, deer, grizzly, black and brown bear, wolves,
panthers, racoons, lynx and wild cats, to say nothing of the small game, which embraces some
of the best snipe shooting in the world, duck and geese, as well as pheasants, prairie chicken
and other species of grouse, quail and, in a few years European partridges may be added to
the list. In addition to the sport with rifle and shot-gun, we have such salmon fishing as is
unknown elsewhere, and trout and grayling fishing unsurpassed in any other country. When
every branch of sport is taken into consideration, I do not think I should have erred had I
called it the best game country in the world, and not only on the continent.
And yet, in spite of all the advantages the country can offer, what does it receive in the
way of revenue from its game, and what benefit is it to the people living in the Province ?
With the exception of the men who shoot birds, and those who provide outfits or act as guides
for the tourists who come, the only people who really benefit are the Indians and prospectors.
The Province, at present, gets practically nothing in the way of revenue. During the season
of 1904 only 35 non-residents paid for a hunting licence, and though it is likely that
a few more evaded the fee, still their number would not have made any material difference.
The amount of revenue from these people amounted to $1,750, which is nothing compared with
the amount collected in the State of Maine in 1903, where hunting licences were taken out by
1,697 non-residents, producing a total revenue of $24,455. It is even very small compared
with the amount collected in New Brunswick, where 338 non-residents paid the sum of
$10,140 ; and it is absolutely absurd compared with the total revenue collected in the States
of Illinois and Wisconsin for the year 1903, which aggregated the enormous sums of $98,750
and $90,169, respectively.     (These latter figures include a residents' licence of $1 a head).
Yet British Columbia is a better game country than all the States mentioned put together,
and could afford sport to at least as many visitors as the State of Maine, or half a dozen
similar states. Had we the number of visitors the sport of the country would entitle us to
expect, the actual amount collected as revenue would be a small thing compared with the
amount expended by tourists in guides, horses, hotels, etc., and which would benefit everybody
directly or indirectly.
It is very seldom that a man comes into this country to shoot big game without leaving
$1,500 behind him, and more often it is double that amount; while, in addition to this, it is
quite a frequent occurence that a man who comes here simply and solely to shoot, while he is
here sees the commercial advantages of the country, and not only invests money himself, but
advises his friends to do likewise, and generally advertises the country. Such men as these,
even if they came in numbers, would hardly make any difference to the amount of game; they
only want a few specimen heads and shoot nothing that is not worth mounting. A good many
of them are content with less than the amount they are allowed to kill, while others shoot
nothing unless they think it is a record head.
In addition to the tourist class, there are a great number of people of fair means who,
possibly, cannot afford to live in Europe and indulge in sport, which there costs large sums; D 8 Game Warden's Report. 1906
these people are always looking for a country in which they can settle and get some good sport
at a moderate cost. There is no doubt that a few people have already come out here on that
account, and more will follow when they know what a good country for sport this is, and they
hear that the game is well looked after.
Now, why does British Columbia attract so much less than its fair share of wealthy sportsmen, to whom distance and expense are no object when sport is in question 1 There are
several reasons; first of all, because so little is really known of the country. A few people
have been here, but of those few the percentage who have got any sport is very small. The
chances are they arrive here perfect strangers, with only a faint idea of where to go or how to
get guides and outfits; there has been nobody in authority to whom to apply for information;
they ask the hotel clerk or porter, who has very likely about as much knowledge of the subject
as themselves, and, finally, they get off and follow a more or less beaten track. Wherever
they go they find Indians ahead of them, prospectors killing indiscriminately, or hunters who
make a living by selling meat and heads. These people have gone away in disgust and have
warned others not to come. To illustrate this, I annex extracts from a letter lately received
from England, and from two others from residents of the United States; these are only three
samples out of many :—
" Godalming, England,
" A. Bryan Williams, Esq., . " November, 1905.
" Provincial Game Warden, Vancouver, B. C. :
" Sir,—Having lately returned from another hunting trip in your Province, I venture to
address a few remarks and suggestions on the subject of the Game Laws and to point out
something of what is taking place, in case your attention has not already been drawn to the
facts which have come before my notice. To put the whole matter into a nutshell, the goose
that lays the golden egg is surely being killed, but there is yet time to save its life. The laws
are excellent as far as they go, but are not being sufficiently enforced.
" Two years ago, when hunting sheep in a well-known and until recently excellent sheep
country, a place where a year or so previously sheep were to be found in abundance, I found
practically none left. Indians had been hunting all summer and indiscriminately slaughtering
both sexes. I had ample evidence of this wherever I came upon their old camps, and although
the sale of heads is prohibited, they are taken into Alberta and sold there. Professional
guides in that locality now have to admit that it is but little use going into that section for
sheep any more. I know for a fact that heads are also sold in British Columbia itself,
notwithstanding the law, and merchants and storekeepers pay Indians high prices for good
specimens. The same remark applies to deer, which will soon be exterminated in the section
above referred to, unless prompt measures are taken.
"In the Stikine country, from which I have just returned, Indians and others make no
secret of the fact that they are hunting beaver this winter, although the sale of skins is in this
case also prohibited.    They can sell them in Alaska, and do so.
" I found salmon traps set right across the tributaries of rivers, and if every salmon going
up was not caught, it was absolutely impossible for them to get up to their spawning ground.
I enclose a photograph of one of these.
" The strict observance of the Game Laws in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where I
have hunted, is resulting in an actual increase of game.
" I might remind you that some of the best game districts in Africa can be reached from
Europe in less time and at less expense than the best parts of British Columbia; consequently,
many men prefer to go there and ensure sport.
" I am in no way interested in the game question of Canada, but write merely as a
patriotic Britisher who hopes to see the game of the Empire preserved for all to fairly enjoy,
not only in the present day, but for future generations.
" Apologising for troubling you to this extent,
" I am, etc.,
" P. N. Graham." 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 9
Mr. Phillips, of Pittsburg, U. S. A., writes:—
" I belong to a club which has a hundred members, most of whom go West every year,
but, from the experience of a number of us, we are likely to give British Columbia a wide
berth until you can assure us that, after we have paid our licence fees and spent our money in
outfit and guides, we will not be disappointed by finding Indians in possession of the hunting
country and the game exterminated."
Mr. Scott, of Colorado, writes :—
"On September 1st, 1905, we started to hunt sheep, but everywhere we hunted we found
the marks of those that had been before us. Thus it appears that there has been no attempt
to enforce the law."
To obtain a specimen of the mountain sheep and a few more minor trophies, it costs a
non-resident at least $800, while a good many people have spent several thousands and not
obtained one head ; and yet ewes have been killed in hundreds by Indians and prospectors,
who prefer the meat to any other kind, and the rams have been slaughtered simply and
solely for their heads (which fetch from $20 to $50 each), and the meat left because the ewes
are considered better eating.
This should make it plain to everybody that big game, and especially sheep, is too valuable to the country to be ruthlessly destroyed by Indians, prospectors and market hunters.
It is possible that it may be necessary to allow a little laxity to prospectors in certain districts,
but it should only be where it is absolutely essential to obtain food, and then only under hard
and fast conditions.
All over the world the value of good shooting has become known. New Brunswick,
and, in fact, all Eastern Canada, is alive to the fact. The United States have thoroughly
proved it, and are setting such an example in enforcing the laws that even the most highly
protected countries of Europe might learn something from them. In Africa there is a big
movement on foot to get a general combination of nations having possessions there to protect
the game; and it is most worthy of note that the C. P. R. are so well aware of these facts that
they propose to spend money on the protection of game in their land grant on Vancouver
All this is chiefly due to the fact that game has become a commercial asset as well as a
source of pleasure to the people of the country.
Now, in British Columbia we have millions of acres of mountains absolutely incapable of
producing anything except timber and minerals. On the greater part of these mountains the
timber is of little value or is too far away to become valuable for many years, and it is only in
spots that the minerals are of any value at all, but every acre of these mountains is suitable
for game or fur-bearing animals of some kind and should be made to produce revenue from
that source, if from no other. It is not a question of what revenue will be produced this year
or next, as under present conditions the revenue is scarcely worth mentioning, but it must be
considered what it can be made to produce in future years. Every year the facilities for
getting into this country become greater, sportsmen more numerous and the Province better
known ; where, now, one sportsman comes there should be a hundred.
To bring people into this country we must, however, first and foremost protect our game :
to do this there ought to be a certain number of paid Deputy Game Wardens. It is out of
the question to expect one man, even with the assistance the Provincial Police can spare, to do
it all. A considerable amount of money must be spent for a few years and a thorough system
of protection instituted. Then the fact that the game is here and is being protected must be
extensively advertised, not only in Great Britain and in the United States, but all over the
world. The Game Book (Bulletin 17) has already attracted some attention, but so far its
distribution has not been sufficiently widespread. D 10 Game Warden's Report. 1906
Now I wish to state most emphatically that, in my opinion, under the conditions that
have existed for the last few years, it will only be a short time before there is no game for anybody, either sportsmen, Indians or prospectors, but that there is a sufficient stock still left, which,
if strictly preserved, might not only last for years, but increase, and be a most valuable asset
to the Province, as well as a source of pleasure to the present and future residents of British
Big Game.
There is still a fair number of these animals left in certain parts of East Kootenay.
Were they protected they would soon increase, but unless this is done they will shortly cease
to exist.
On Vancouver Island the stock of wapiti is rapidly diminishing; the Indians have been
in the habit of slaughtering cows and calves indiscriminately, in many cases for their teeth
alone, which find a ready market in the States.
At one time wapiti were plentiful all over the country, but owing to the lack of timidity
of the animal, they were the easiest of all game to kill, and for that reason and, possibly,
through two extremely severe winters coming in succession, they were soon practically
The wapiti is rapidly decreasing all over the States, so much so that the Game Laws of
California make the killing of one a felony punishable by imprisonment for one or two years.
It will be seen, then, that the wapiti is becoming extremely  valuable and, if thoroughly
protected now and allowed to increase, might, in future years, be a source of considerable
The whole of the country south of the C. P. R. is rapidly being depleted of deer. While
this is partly due to the advance of civilisation, it is mostly on account of the indiscriminate
slaughter that has been going on for the last few years, not only by Indians but by whites as
well. North of the C. P. R. it is pleasing to be able to report that, in some places, the deer
are on the increase again, notably in the vicinity of Spence's Bridge, where the Indians have
for the last year or two seen that the deer need protection or will soon be gone for good, and
have, in consepuence, only killed what they really needed.
It is to be regretted that the same cannot be said of the Chilcotin Indians, who are
rapidly clearing out the deer from the Lillooet country. All along the Lower Fraser and on
Vancouver Island and Islands adjacent the deer are, if not increasing in numbers, at any rate
holding their own. This is due to the more stringent regulations with regard to the selling of
meat and hides.
In Cassiar deer have been recently seen for the first time.
Caribou seem to have been especially plentiful in Cassiar this year. In the Okanagan
and East Kootenay countries they are rapidly disappearing; very few heads have been
obtained this year, whereas, a few years ago, the Okanagan was a favourite hunting ground.
Moose seem to be rapidly working south, for some reason yet unknown, unless it is that
the increase in population further north, or the greater number of forest fires, are, to some
extent, responsible.
In the vicinity of Atlin it is reported that they have more moose than for many years
past. In Cassiar there were possibly not so many as last year, but they were reported to be
gradually working down the Stikine. All through the north-east of the Province reports show a large increase, and there are
now numbers where a few years ago there were none. At the present, these animals are
numerous near Quesnel Lake, and will soon be found as far south as the C. P. R.
In East Kootenay there are still a couple of small herds which, strange to say, have, so
far, escaped destruction.
Mountain Goat.
There are still quantities of these animals all over the Province (with the exception of the
Islands), and more especially on the higher coast ranges of the Mainland. The fact that they
inhabit the most inaccessible parts of the mountains and are not very suitable for the table
insures these animals all the protection they require.
As far as big game is concerned, the mountain sheep is by far the most valuable asset the
Province has, and too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of the preservation of these
animals. At the present time there are supposed to be four varieties found in the Province,
the Ovis montana, Ovis stonei, Ovis fannini, and Ovis dalli. The only sheep found in the
United States (Alaska excepted) is the Ovis montana, or common big horn, and so scarce
have these animals now become in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that it has become necessary
to limit the bag to one animal.
In this Province we still have a fair number of the common big horn left, and in the
northern portion of the country large numbers of the other species. In East Kootenay, where
the biggest and best heads of the common big horn are got, there is still a fair stock, but the
Stony Indians have, during the last few years, killed off such numbers that only a quarter of
what should be remains.
In the Ashnola (Similkameen), which was once the big horn country, there are only a few
specimens left, and the increase in the number of panthers and the in-breeding consequent on
the small number of animals, makes it unlikely that the stock will ever increase unless active
measures are taken at once to protect them.    The same applies to the Okanagan.
Bridge River and Chilcotin are still good countries, but of late years the number has
decreased rapidly; this is partly due to an influx of prospectors but more to the Chilcotin
Indians, who never kill any other kind of game if they can get ewes.
It is pleasing to be able to relate that in Cassiar there are still quantities of the Ovis
stonei and allied varieties. The Indians in that district are happily too lazy to climb to the
mountain tops, where these animals spend most of their time.
Small Game.
The bags of blue grouse made by people shooting on the opening days were 50 per cent,
lower than in previous years. In the Interior this bird seems to have become very scarce, so
much so that in the Lillooet and Cariboo Districts there has been considerable discussion and
correspondence on the subject.
In the Yale country the same scarcity is reported. The birds shot were often very poor
and out of condition, and in some places were said to have a ring of lice or vermin of the tick
order round their necks. But beyond this I have been unable to trace any particular pest or
disease as being the cause.
Reports from the Fraser River country, with the exception of Nicomen Island and Matsqui,
also confirm the decrease, though in two districts mentioned grouse were unusually plentiful.
One gentleman reported to me that ho went, in pursuit of grouse, to the Nicomekl country, D 12 Game Warden's Report. 1906
where they are, as a rule, very thick ; on the first day he did nof even see a grouse, and on the
second day one only. From inquiry he would judge that not one bird was shot this year for
ten in past seasons.
The prohibition of sale of all grouse was very fortunate legislation, and in order to let the
birds increase it may be necessary to recommend a close season altogether for a certain period.
Prairie Chicken.
Reports as to prairie chicken also tend the same way. They have been reported as bein
much scarcer than in the last four or five years, and bags made by people shooting over the same
grounds every season, this year show results from four to twelve times less than the average.
Duck of all kinds were extremely plentiful during the commencement of the season.
Owing to the early cold weather in the north, the birds came south several weeks earlier than
usual.    The Coast seems to have been more favoured than the Upper Country, where ducks were
much scarcer than usual.
Snipe were exceptionally plentiful, in fact more so than for many years past. The largest
individual bag reported was 36| couple in one day, and 15 to 25 couple were quite common.
Pheasant seem to have been about as plentiful as last year, although the first week of the
season showed a marked falling off on all sides. The birds bred well, and in many cases there
must have been two or even three broods, judging from the size of some birds seen at the
opening of the shooting season, when, in some cases, they were too small to fly.
California quail seem to be on the increase, both on the Island and Mainland. This bird
is, of course, still protected all over the Province, except for the short open season on Vancouver
Island and adjacent islands, which has been allowed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
for some years past. The game associations on the Mainland are still fostering this bird and
importing others, in the hope that, in a few years, a short open season may be justified. Bob-
white quail are reported to be doing very well in the vicinity of Ashcroft and other places in
the dry belt.
Partridge {European).
These birds also seem to be prospering. (A detailed account of the birds last mentioned
will be found below, under the heading "Acclimatization.")
The following particulars have been furnished me by the gentlemen who imported these
In March, 1904, 57 Hungarian partridges were imported from Liverpool, England. The
birds were kept in pens on grass for a week to ten days after arrival, in order to let them
recuperate from their journey. They were then turned out at four different points on the
Mainland, as follows:—13th March, 1904, at Mr. McMynn's farm, Sea Island, 16 birds;
14th March, 1904, at Mr. Hinde Bowker's farm, Langley, 14 birds; 20th March, 1904, on
Sea Island, 13 birds; 20th March, 1904, at McKee farm (Lefroy Bros.), East Delta, 14 birds.
The birds were put down during very wet weather and probably suffered in consequence.
But statistics show that there could not have been any very large initial loss, and at the
end of 1904 it was estimated that the increase was 120 birds.    In March, 1905, the same 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 13
gentlemen imported 34 birds, which were turned out at Chilliwhack and Port Guichon.
Eight brace were sent to Mr. H. Hulbert, at Chilliwhack, and were turned out on 29th March
on the farm of Mr. A. Evans. The remainder of the shipment were given liberty on Mr.
Pemberton's ranch at Port Guichon. At Chilliwhack two coveys, six to ten each, have been
seen on the Evans farm, and others have been reported in the vicinity. At Guichon two
coveys, certain, have been reported, and a number of single birds have been seen. From
general report from all districts, it would seem that a moderate estimate would show that at
least 400 to 500 birds are located in the Fraser Valley and the Delta land at the mouth of
the river.
Pheasant (Phasianus Torquatus).
In 1882 Mr. C. W. R. Thompson, of Victoria, imported twenty pheasants from England,
These birds, in spite of great care and attention after arrival, all died before they were strong
enough to be turned out.
In 1883 Mr. Thompson imported between twenty and twenty-five birds from China
{Phasianus torquatus), which were kept in confinement, the eggs being hatched out under
game fowl, and when the chicks were able to look after themselves they were set at liberty in
the vicinity of the property known as the Admiral's House, at Esquimalt.
In 1886 three male and nine hen birds were imported from China by Mr. Edward
Musgrave, of Salt Spring Island. Two of the hens died and the remainder were turned out
on the south end of the Island; most of the birds in the Cowichan Valley are descended from
this stock. Generally speaking, the birds are now numerous and have spread all up the Island
as far as Comox, and north even of that.
In 1889 some forty-four birds were put down in the vicinity of the Magee and McClary
ranches, on the North bank of the Fraser River, about five or six miles south of Vancouver.
These birds quickly spread over Sea Island, Lulu Island and the Lower Delta. Four years
later about twenty birds were put down at Ladners, thus giving fresh blood. At Harrison
River, in 1898, about fifteen or twenty imported birds were turned out. At Chilliwack a few
birds, probably six or eight, were given freedom in the vicinity of Hope Slough about 1895.
In the Squamish Valley, in 1900, three birds, and in the following year four more, were put
down. No favourable reports were received till very recently (October, 1905,) when a number
of individual birds were seen, and one late brood was reported by several people.
The Lower Valley of the Fraser, and the country for several miles on each side of the river,
now carry a good stock of pheasants and the birds afford good sport. They have made their
way as far east as Hope.
Several shipments of the Bob-white variety- have been imported and put down on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia during the last twenty years, but
with only indifferent success. There are still some left, but, in spite of their being protected,
they do not seem to increase in numbers. On one farm, where they were said to be doing
exceptionally well, they were now reported to have entirely disappeared. Some people are of
the opinion that they were shot off illegally, but it is not probable that this was the case, it
being much more likely that they have migrated elsewhere, as this species is well known to be
" partially migratory."
In the spring of this year some gentlemen of Vancouver imported about five dozen birds
from Kansas, and put down three dozen of them on Mr. Shaw's ranch at Shuswap, and two
dozen on the Harper ranch on the South Thompson River, a few miles above Kamloops. They
are reported to have done well. D 14 Game Warden's Report. 1906
That beaver are on the increase in certain parts of the Province is known to but few,
but the fact remains that in one or two places that were supposed to be trapped out years
ago, and have, in consequence, not been visited by trappers lately, a few beaver were left.
These places are known to a few Indians and white men, and they jealously guard their
knowledge, being well aware of the fact that after a few years' protection they will reap the
benefit of the increased stock. It is, however, a fact that what was once a magnificent beaver
country is, with the exception of these few places and some parts of the northern country,
almost denuded of beaver. This fact was brought to the attention of the Government last
spring, and when the Game Act was amended a clause was inserted protecting beaver for the
next six years, but reserving the right for the Lieutenant-Governor in Council to pass an order
exempting Indians north of a certain point, and also persons in the habit of dealing with
these Indians. During the past summer a great deal of evidence was brought before the
Government to show that this order should be passed, as otherwise a number of Indians would
suffer great destitution, as the beaver were their chief source of livelihood, and as a tentative
measure, and pending the obtaining of further information on the subject, the order was
passed, excepting the northern part of the Province from the working of this portion of the
Act for a period of two years.
Trout and Salmon Fishing.
There is a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction throughout the Province owing to the
unsatisfactory condition of the laws relating to rod fishing, by reason of the conflict between
the Statutes and Orders in Council enacted by the Provincial and Federal authorities, respectively. Also with regard to the depletion of the trout streams, both on Vancouver Island
and the Mainland, and particularly in the vicinity of the City of Vancouver, the same feeling
is apparent. The latter state of affairs is undoubtedly due to the employment of illegal
methods of taking fish, such as dynamiting, use of weirs, nets and other contrivances of a
similar kind. Investigation proves that these methods of catching trout (with the exception
of dynamiting) are more used by Indians than by white offenders, and it is to be hoped that
means will be found by the Federal Government to prevent in future such wrongful acts by
their wards.
The good trout fishing which was obtained in former years in the streams near the larger
cities and towns, as well as all over British Columbia, was undoubtedly a great attraction to
sportsmen, and the great increase of population in late years, combined with the present large
tourist travel, would be the means of putting a large sum of money in circulation if resident
anglers and visiting sportsmen could secure good sport without long journeys to reach the
outlying streams.
The question as to whether or not the trout are undesirable in rivers which are valuable
to the salmon canning industry is not one which can be covered by this report, but there are
many splendid rivers in which trout can be fostered without the least encroachment on this
branch of commerce. Most of the streams on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Seymour
and Lynn Creeks, the Capilano and Indian Rivers on Burrard Inlet; the Kootenay River,
also the Elk and Flathead Rivers, in Kootenay, are a few instances in point, and many others
might be given. Every year there is a marked decrease in the number of fish taken from these
streams and rivers, while some of them are practically depleted. Stringent measures should
be taken to protect the trout left, and measures promptly instituted to increase the supply by
re-stocking operations. 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 15
Salmon Fishing.
The sport that can be obtained by trolling for salmon with rod and line in tidal waters is
hardly yet realised even by residents of the Province. Cohoe salmon can be taken in August
and September, and in some places as early as July, with the spoon bait. In the early spring,
from January to the end of March, good sport can be had by trolling with a herring for spring
salmon, one of our best table fish; while in July, August and part of September the Tyee
salmon, ranging in weight from thirty to over sixty pounds, can be taken at the mouth of the
Campbell River and other points. The fishing at Campbell River has attracted great attention during the past year, and salmon anglers from many parts of the world have visited it.
Reports show that the fishing during the past year has not been as good as former years, and
the cause is doubtless to be found in the " seining " which has been carried on by Japanese
for some time past. The fact that anglers from India, England, from the Eastern States and
Europe, are attracted yearly by the magnificent sport to be had, indicates the great value the
Province should place on this water from the rod angling point of view. In my opinion, this
far exceeds its value from the standpoint of the canning of salmon, as it is doubtful if these
fish are suitable for the purposes of this industry and only find a market in China and Japan.
I would recommend that steps be taken at once to prevent the use of seines or nets in the
estuary or in the river itself.
The time has come when more strenuous steps must be taken with regard to making the
Indians respect the game laws. The law allows Indians in unorganised districts to kill deer
for their immediate use at any time, provided that they may not kill does or fawns between
the first of February and the first of August. If it were possible to restrict them to this
privilege there would not be much harm done in those districts where deer are plentiful, but
a great many Indians take advantage of it to kill most of their season's meat during the
protected season, more especially when the does have fawns and are easy to kill, and the
damage they do is enormous, particularly in the upper country, where deer are becoming
scarce. Some few Indians have seen the folly of this slaughter and are observing the law, but
this only refers to a very few.
It may be said that the Indian is not to blame, as the game was plentiful before many
white men came into the country, but in those days he was not armed with modern repeating
rifles, with which he can shoot four times the distance and wound a number of animals which
get away to die. It is certainly true that some white men are doing their best to kill the
game all off, but the number killed by them is small compared with what the Indians kill.
Take the Chilcotin Indians for example; at a conservative estimate, not less than 200 of
them come into the Lillooet country every summer for the especial purpose of getting meat.
If they contented themselves with killing meat for their immediate use, they would kill at the
very least one animal a week; this would mean 3,200 animals for the four months they are
there. As it is, they kill everything in sight, whether they can use it or not. Their camps
have been described to me as veritable " Golgothas," and, in addition, there are wounded
animals, which they are too lazy to follow, dead and dying all over the mountains. Taking
these things into consideration, and the fact that the majority of the animals killed are either
does or ewes, and that they have fawns and lambs, often unborn, what must the total number
killed amount to in these four months by these few Indians. If it were deer alone, it would
be bad enough, but a great many of these animals are ewes, the most valuable big game in the
Province. Then there is the same thing going on to as great an extent in Kootenay by
the Stoney Indians, and, in fact, more or less all over the Province. Surely the time has
come when the Indians can make a living as well as Chinese, Japanese, or even the white men. D 16 Game Warden's Report. 1906
They have the best of the land and do not pay any taxes. What will they do when the game
is all gone, as it soon must be, at the present rate of slaughter 1 The trapping, too, will be a
thing of the past. Now, I claim that it is better for the Indians themselves if they are made
to understand that, under the present condition of affairs, the game cannot last long, and
that they had better make up their minds to make their living in the same manner as anybody else, and hunt only in the open season, as otherwise there will soon be no game for them
to hunt at all.
Enforcement of the Laws.
The Stoney Indians from the North-West Territory received a good deal of attention.
Three expeditions were organised to put a stop to their coming into this Province. From
Windermere seventeen lodges of Indians, consisting of about seventy-five persons, with their
horses, numbering 100 head, were escorted back to their own reserve. From Fernie an expedition, which was assisted by the R. N. W. M. P., took charge of fifteen lodges of Indians with
300 head of horses.
A second expedition from Fernie followed a small band of Indians for several days, but
failed to locate them, owing to the fact that they took alarm and returned to the Territories.
A couple of constables from the R. N. W. M. P. were sent to assist, but did not arrive till the
expedition had left.
A man was also sent from Fernie on another occasion to inquire into the rumour that a
number of lodges of these Indians were shooting on the upper waters of the Elk River. He
returned with the report that the Indians were so close to the boundary line that nothing
could be done. This was the last report received about these Indians, and it was the intention
that, if they returned, some of their chiefs should, if possible, be seized and severely punished.
It is to be regretted that the reports of the depredations of the Chilcotin Indians in the
Lillooet country were not received sooner, as a special constable was on patrol for a month in
that district, with the intention of making an example of some of them, but by the time he
was sent out most of the Indians had left, and, though he found numerous evidences of great
slaughter of game, he was unable to catch any of them in the act.
Cold Storage.
All cold storage plants have been frequently searched for game.
Illegal Sale  of Game.
Restaurants, hotels, stores, etc., have been subjected to frequent visits from Deputy
Game Wardens and police, so much so that the amount of game unlawfully sold has been
greatly restricted.
Illegal Shooting of Pheasants.
A regular patrol was made by Deputy Game Wardens, assisted by the Provincial Police,
and trains, cars, stages and steamboats were watched and all suspected persons searched.
Sale and Export of Heads of Big Game.
This matter has been given some attention, and though, so far, no convictions have been
obtained, the evil has to a great extent been done away with.
Payment of Licence by Non-Residents.
The collection of licence fees from non-residents has been closely attended to, with the
result that the revenue therefrom has considerably increased this year. The difficulty in the
collection of these fees has been increased by the fact that some people evade payment under
the plea of being only bear hunters. 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 17
Bag Limit.
This matter has also received some attention, but owing to the difficulty in obtaining
sufficient evidence to secure a conviction, but little has been accomplished. If the system of
selling a limited number of tags were adopted, it would greatly facilitate the enforcement of
this law, at any rate in the case of the market hunter.
Trout  Laws.
Numerous complaints have been received from all parts of the country, but, owing to the
conflict between the Provincial and Dominion laws on the subject, it has not been deemed
advisable to take any action on the matter till the laws are on a better footing.
Game Wardens.
It would be of the utmost benefit for the protection of game if there could be salaried
Game Wardens in Bridge River, Chilcotin and in East Kootenay, for the greater part of the
year. From May to the end of December, and more especially in June, July and August, an
immense destruction of game occurs every year in the Bridge River and Chilcotin countries,
and while it cannot be entirely blamed on the Chilcotin Indians, there is no doubt they are in
a great measure responsible for it. Every year these Indians set out in bands of from 10 to
50, and make a regular hunt before the game season opens; it is not as if they just killed the
deer for food alone, but they start fires to drive the game, then a large number of them on
horseback drive everything before them into some canyon, where they ruthlessly slaughter
does, fawns, ewes, etc., as long as there is anything left. Not only do they kill more than
they can possibly use, even if they dry all they can, but they do not even trouble to hunt up
the animals they wound. It is commonly known that these Indians kill as many as 50 or 60
animals in one drive, and it is hard to estimate how many wounded die afterwards. At the
time of year this goes on the does and ewes have fawns and lambs, and quantities of these are
slaughtered, too. At one time the Lillooet and Shuswap Indians vied with the Chilcotin
in seeing who could slaughter most game at a drive, but it is to the former's credit that
they saw the folly of it, and they are now signally in favour of protection, and are loud in
their complaints against the Chilcotins ; so bitter, in fact, is the feeling, that actual hostilities
are liable to occur over it.
This season 16 non-residents took out licences at Lillooet, and I do not think there is
much doubt that this number would have been greatly exceeded but for the fact of the
depredations of these Indians being generally known, not only in the United States, but in
England too. There is very little doubt that these 16 people left at least $20,000 in the
country, apart from the $800 they paid as licence fees. After making careful inquiries, I find
that these 16 people took out of the country 26 mountain sheep heads, which would bring the
cost of each head to over $800. The complaints about the Indians were numerous; these
people stated they could see it was a splendid game country, that they paid the $50 licence
willingly, but that after they had done so they just had to take what the Indians had left,
and that, if that sort of thing continued, they would not only keep away themselves, but warn
their friends to do likewise.
Now the Lillooet and Shuswap Indians are perfectly satisfied with the Game Laws, and
in most cases respect them; they see the value of the game, and can make a living without
slaughtering it. There is no doubt the Chilcotin Indians can do the same. When there are
not salmon there are trout and berries, and all sorts of roots.    Moreover, there are hundreds D 18 Game Warden's Report. 1906
of wild horses on which they could live, and of which it would be a great blessing to be rid,
and there is no reason why they should not kill an occasional deer; but if the slaughter that
has been going on for the last few years continues for a few more, there will not only bo no
game for the tourists and the white people of the country, but the Indians will then be in a
worse position than they will be now if they are made to respect the law. In Lillooet and
Chilcotin Districts the prospector is not dependent upon his rifle for food, and should not be
allowed to kill game indiscriminately, or, at any rate, not mountain sheep, as I think I have
shown that this animal is too valuable to be killed simply and solely because a man wants
fresh meat.
With regard to East Kootenay, much the same conditions occur, only there the case is
even worse. The Indians who commit the principal depredations are Stoney Indians from the
North-West Territories; they are not even our own Indians ; they come in bigger bands, often
as many as 100 in a baud, and defy all our local authorities. They have even threatened the
lives of our police, have driven our trappers out of the country, and have quantities of dogs to
help in their drives. Wherever the Stoneys have been, large quantities of timber are always
destroyed by fire. East Kootenay was a magnificent elk country. They are now absolutely
protected for the next two years, and this is giving the Stoneys the benefit of them, as they
never let an elk escape, be it bull, cow or calf. These Indians have a standing order with the
taxidermists of the North-West Territories for mountain sheep heads, which they kill in British
Columbia and take back with them. There are even a few moose left in East Kootenay; but
these animals must soon fall a prey to the Stoneys, unless strenuous measures be taken for
their protection. I most strongly advise that Deputy Wardens be appointed to watch the
various passes over which these Indians come, and that their chiefs be arrested and severely
punished every time they come into the country.
As the law now stands, a man while actually engaged in placer mining or prospecting is
allowed to kill game at any time of year for his own use. There is no doubt that this has been
a great deal the cause of the scarcity of game in many districts. For example, in the Okanagan and Boundary Districts, before the mining excitement that took place about 1896 and
subsequent years, there were deer by the thousand, and in some parts of those districts caribou
and sheep abounded. At the time of the excitement it was a common sight to see deer lying
dead all over the country, some with just a small piece of meat cut off them, and some not even
touched, as they had probably run a short way after being shot, and the man who fired had
not even taken the trouble to follow them up, knowing that he would be sure to see more a
little further on, which he might get without any difficulty. Such facts as these are not mere
reports, but came under my own immediate observation, as I was in those parts at the time.
The same thing occurred in previous years during the Granite Creek excitement, and in later
years, to a greater or less extent, in the northern parts of British Columbia.
The scarcity of game in the Atlin District has been the cause of much complaint from
tourists and residents. I have received numerous letters from people complaining of finding
the remains of animals all over the country, and in most cases the Indians get all the blame,
which, probably, they to a great extent deserve; but there is no doubt that the irresponsible
prospector, and there are a good many of them, has a lot to do with it. Of course, I do not
wish to make a sweeping condemnation of all prospectors, as there are a great number of them
who are either too good sportsmen or have too much principle to do such things; but the fact
remains that these things have been and still are going on in the country, and the Province is
suffering in consequence. 6 Ed. 7 Game Warden's Report. D 19
Licences for Trappers.
In the northern part of the Province a number of Americans and other non-residents
take out a miner's licence as an excuse to trap. I recommend that, in future, all non-resident
trappers, whether they have a miner's licence or not, be compelled to pay the same fee as for
hunting. I consider this very necessary, as at the present time the trapping grounds of
British Columbia are becoming very limited, and it can only be a few years before fur-bearing
animals are a thing of the past. Now, the greater part of the trappers in this country are
Americans, who come here simply to trap, market their skins on the American side, and this
country is none the better for it.
Fishing   Licences.
There should be a $10 fishing licence imposed on all non-residents, for both trout and
salmon, whether it be rod or hand-line, except in the case of a person who has taken out a
$50 hunting licence. A number of persons have been in British Columbia this year on purpose
to fish, some for salmon and some for trout. It is more than likely that the number will
increase every year, especially when the magnificent spring-salmon fishing on the Coast becomes
better known.
Naval and Military Officers.
I recommend that section 14 of the Act be amended to make it plain that officers of His
Majesty's Navy and Army must be on actual service in the Province to be exempt from the
licence fee; it should also be stated what length of time is necessary to qualify as a "resident"
—three months, at least, in my opinion. There has been a good deal of discussion over this
section, and in a great many instances a wrong meaning has been taken.
The practice of using pit-lamps should be stopped at all costs. There is a tremendous lot
of it done on Vancouver Island and all along the Coast. It has not only been the cause of a
great many cattle being killed, numbers of deer wounded to get away and die a lingering
death, does and fawns being indiscriminately shot, but it has also led to loss of human life.
The Game Warden or Constable who, in pursuit of his duty, goes out to prevent this practice
runs serious risk of his life, as it is absolutely necessary to follow the man till he shoots at or
kills a deer. If his presence is known, his time is wasted ; and if it is not known, he stands
a good chance of getting shot by mistake. Then, if he does, after taking his life in his hand,
obtain a conviction, the chances are the man convicted gets off with a light fine. There is
one, and only one, way of putting a stop to pit-lamping, and that is by making the act of
using a pit-lamp a felony, punisheble by one or two years' imprisonment.
Protection of Moose.
I recommend that moose be absolutely protected in British Columbia, south of the Canadian Pacific Railway, for the next five years, and that an increased penalty be imposed for
killing them. At the present time there are still a few moose left in East Kootenay, and they
should be allowed to increase.
Protection of Elk on  Vancouver Island.
I recommend that an Order in Council be passed to stop the shooting of wapiti on Vancouver Island after the season of 1906. I think it advisable to give sufficient notice that
these animals are going to be protected, as lately the Game Book has been advertising the
sport of this country, and people should have time to know they cannot kill wapiti. D 20 Game Warden's Report. 1906
Protection of Bear.
At the present time non-residents are not compelled to take out a licence for hunting bear.
This fact has been the means of considerable loss to the Province, as from 10 to 15 nonresidents were in the country last spring and summer for the sole purpose of hunting bear.
Bears are getting very scarce all over the southern part of this continent, and the grizzly
especially so, and more and more people are looking for new hunting grounds for them, and
there is no reason why bear should not be as valuable an asset to the Province as any other
kind of game. Another reason why bear should be placed on the protected list is that they,
at present, afford non-residents an excuse for not taking out a hunting licence. They can say
they are only going to hunt bear, and may in reality be after moose or any other kind of big
game. If they kill their moose, they may or may not pay their fee, according to where they
are and what are the chances of avoiding doing so. This makes a lot of work watching that
these so-called bear hunters do not kill any other kind of game. It is a known fact that several
people have evaded the licence under this excuse.
Exportation of Game Trophies.
With regard to the exportation of trophies from the Province by non-residents who have
taken out a hunting licence, there has been a good deal of trouble in determining whether the
shipper has obtained a licence or not. To do away with this difficulty and make it easier to
prevent the illegal exportation of the heads of game animals, I recommend that a new form of
licence be issued, with tags attached for each different kind of game, and that it be necessary
to have one of these tags attached to each head before it can be shipped, and that all heads be
shipped in open crates, so that the tags can be got at. Under the present condition of the law,
it is hard to tell whether it is lawful or not for a head to be shipped, till exhaustive inquiries
have been made as to whether the shipper has a licence or not. As a general thing, the owner
does not accompany his trophies, as they have generally to be prepared for shipment, and to
hold the head till these inquiries were made would cause considerable annoyance, or might
result in the head being spoilt. This tag system is now in use in Ontario and other places, and
has been found to work satisfactorily.
Black Game and Capercailzie.
As there is a strong probability of some of these birds being imported into the Province
during the coming year, it will be necessary to put them on the protected list.
victoria, b. c. :
Printed by Richard Wolfknden, V.D., I.S.O., Printer to the King's Most Excellent Majesty.


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items