George Wilson has been involved in the organized hunting community since his early 20s. In the mid 70’s, George became involved in the Fernie Rod and Gun Club, which is the oldest club in BC, celebrating 100 years in 1999. George became Secretary of that Club, and remained in that position for 15 years. Through his work with the Rod and Gun Club, George became involved in the East Kootenay Wildlife Association (EKWA); a regional body of the BCWF.
In 1992, the Provincial government formed the Kootenay Hunting Opportunity Committee (KHOC), where George was named as one of five Directors of that Committee. George sat on this committee until 1997, when he left to become the president of the EKWA. The Regional Presidents of each association automatically become Directors of the BCWF board. This was George’s first exposure to the BCWF in 1997, and he has been involved ever since. In 2014, George was elected as the BCWF’s President, and is currently in the 2nd year of his 2-year term.
There are 10 regions in the province, each with a president that serves on the BCWF board. The board meets quarterly in Vancouver, keeping up to date with regional issues. Their mandate is to deal with political issues, supporting clubs with resources to carry out their regional priorities, and helping the government deal with illegal acts involving wildlife. The BCWF is an advocacy group for conservation; made up of hunters and fisherman. The government relies on the BCWF to provide support and information regarding various issues, such as the decrease in caribou populations specifically in 2 regions across the province. “Sometimes desperate measures are called for, such as the wolf culls for dealing with caribou declines. These are unpopular issues, especially with politicians, however it is a last ditch effort and the BCWF has supported government on their stance”, Wilson reports. He continues to say that “the BCWF supports the full extent of the law; when we feel the government’s position isn’t exactly right, we get involved to educate them”.
Membership of the BCWF is at over 50,000 today and growing, which is quite unusual in today’s world for volunteer based, not for profit groups. For more information about the BCWF, visit their website here.