The BC Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch opened an investigation on Wednesday into a controversial wolf-kill contest in the Peace River region of northern British Columbia in response to a flurry of complaints lodged by conservation groups and concerned citizens.
Wolves in Snow (c) McAllister / Pacific Wild
Contests in BC are required to obtain a license when they have the three elements that constitute gaming: entry fees, chance, and prizes. Contests that are primarily skill-based are exempt from provincial gaming regulations.
Hunters pay a $50 entry fee to participate in the contest, with a chance to enter up to three wolves before March 31. Prizes for hunters who bag the biggest wolves include cash awards of $250 to $1,000 as well as rifles and taxidermy services. The hunter who kills the smallest wolf wins a $150 booby prize.
Photo used to promote the wolf-kill contest obtained by the Vancouver Sun.
The annual contest is co-sponsored by the Peace River Rod and Gun Club and Fort St. John realtor Rich Petersen, formerly on the Board of the BC Wildlife Federation. “It’s not a contest to exterminate wolves, not an organized thing where we go out and shoot every wolf in the country,” Petersen argued in an interview with the Vancouver Sun. “If you are driving down the road and see one and you happen to shoot it and you’re in this contest, you have a chance to win something.”
The Vancouver Sun reported yesterday that the BC Gaming closed its investigation in less than a day, deciding not to intervene in the contest because “in this instance, the … branch has determined that since the entrants must present a wolf to be eligible to win a prize, the event is skill-based and does not require a license.”