Is hunting a game of skill or chance? That is the question posed by opponents to the local wolf hunting contest who hope to see it shut down.
West Coast Environmental Law, working on behalf of Pacific Wild, the conservation group, believe that the local hunting contest is basically a lottery and that this makes it illegal.
However, both the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and the Fort St. John RCMP agree that the competition does not violate any laws.
Pacific Wild sent a letter to the RCMP yesterday to request that they launch an investigation into the contest based on the West Coast Environmental Law legal opinion.
“The BC Gaming office has looked into it and they’re satisfied that a license isn’t needed under the Gaming Control Act. There’s no activity there that would require police investigation,” said Jodie Shelkie, the Fort St. John RCMP’s spokesperson.
Because the winner of the hunting contest is not determined by luck, it does not qualify as a game, said a spokesperson for the provincial gaming regulator.
“If an event or contest is determined by skill, then it does not require a license,” the spokesperson said.
“In this instance, the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch has determined that since entrants must present a wolf to be eligible to win a prize, the event is skill-based.”
The wolf contest is sponsored by people and organizations in Fort St. John including the North Peace Rod and Gun Club. Unfortunately, no one involved with the contest was available for comment.
The announcement of the contest caused controversy last month after news of it broke in provincial papers.
At that time, Pacific Wild filed a complaint against the contest with B.C. Gaming. The gaming authority maintained that the contest was legal.
“The lawyers who worked on our behalf put forward the opinion that its against section 206 and 207 of the Criminal Code of Canada. We then sent that letter and legal opinion to the provincial ministry in Victoria that oversees gaming,” McAllister said.
The hunter who brings in the largest wolf is the winner, but there is also a “booby prize” for the smallest wolf. Each entrant is allowed to submit a maximum of three wolves.