sticky bar

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wolf Kill Contest in B.C.

An open letter to Rich Petersen, retired owner of Re/Max Action Realty in Fort St John, B.C. from John E. Marriott, owner of Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours in Canmore, AB, a prize winner in the 2012 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and contributing editor to Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.

Sent on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 to the following:

Rich Peterson:

CC: Members of Parliament for Fort St. John and the Yukon, Members of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, Travel Yukon, Northern BC Tourism, Whitehorse, Dawson Creek and Fort St John newspapers, the Vancouver Sun newspaper, several prominent wolf experts quoted in the article, and the President, Vice-Presidents and Regional Director of the BC Wildlife Federation.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Hello Rich,

I wanted to write to express my disappointment in you after reading about your contest offering prize money to hunters that kill wolves in northeastern BC this winter (in the Vancouver Sun this morning:  This letter is to urge you to reconsider your contest and to focus your efforts elsewhere on actions that will benefit all of the wildlife of British Columbia.

Your Re/Max website [note: site was removed two days after I wrote this] describes you as a strong advocate for wildlife, and I quote, "A strong supporter of wildlife conservation issues, Rich has served on the provincial board of directors of the BC Wildlife Federation for over 10 years including two years as on the Federations provincial executive. His outdoor interests include trail riding, camping, river boater, fishing, hunting, and wildlife photography."  So my question to you is this: how does a 'we'll give big money to who can shoot the biggest wolf' contest fit with your claims that you are a proponent of wildlife conservation?  As seems far too common in my line of work, you and your fellow sponsors appear to be hunters without ethics, claiming to be conservationists acting on behalf of British Columbia wildlife, yet acting the complete opposite. As such, I am calling on you personally to stop this contest immediately. 

I will be launching a nation-wide campaign later today on my blog ( and Facebook fan pages for my readers, which number in the thousands, calling out hunters across Canada to step up and do something in protest of this contest, perhaps backing their oft-heard claims that their actions are for the good of all wildlife, not just select species, and are all about conservation.  Because this is not hunting, nor is it ethical.

Killing any animal for the sake of killing is simply not acceptable in today's day and age and you should be ashamed of yourself.  Hunting is a time-honoured tradition that is about putting food on your table and getting out on the land, it is not a contest for killing the biggest this or that or for nurturing a hatred of one species.

Perhaps it's time you truly did do something for conservation and picked up your camera instead of your gun if you can't act responsibly with the resources we all share.

I travel the Alaska Highway almost every year in search of great wildlife photographs, including of wolves.  I had a trip planned for this coming June, yet will now not be coming up there this year to spend my hard-earned money in protest of your actions.  I will be urging my photography fans to do likewise until your contest has been stopped.


John E. Marriott
John E. Marriott Wildlife and Nature Photography


Would this wolf pup photographed two years ago in the Fort St John area qualify for the $150 smallest wolf prize?

I urge each of you to do three things: one, please copy those email addresses up above and write to them with your thoughts on this contest (and note that you will have to add your own local Re/Max agent email addresses).  Please keep it clean and stick to the facts, and tell them that until this is stopped that you will no longer be considering trips up the Alaska Highway.

Two, if you know ethical hunters, please pass this along to them so that they can voice their say on this.  It is painting all hunters in a bad light and I want to see who, if anyone, will step forward and let us know their thoughts, good or bad.

And three, please leave your comments below for others to read.

Thanks everyone,

Note: The Vancouver Sun has since published a follow-up story to this highlighting my call for a boycott of tourism along the Alaska Highway until this is resolved. 


  1. Thanks for drawing attention to this, John. I will certainly be adding my thoughts in an email to the emails above.

  2. Open email from Sheila Hordal of Edmonton, AB to Mr. Peterson:

    I am outraged and disgusted in reading about this in the paper and seeing comments on facebook via Mr. Marriott.


    In a day and age where we need to be leaders in protecting the environment and teaching our children to be advocates for others, that this sort of competition comes up is horrible. Hunting to put food on your plate is one thing, but to have these beautiful creatures HUNTED and killed for none other than GAMING is disgraceful and downright unethical.

    ‘A wildlife advocate’??? That is a complete lie. And a shame to call yourself any sort of advocate. I don’t know you at all, nor can I even begin to think about the decisions you make. However, it says a lot about character and respect for others and our only resource that we have---NATURE.

    Truly and seriously disgusted.

  3. I too will be emailing Mr. Peterson and will urge all I know, to do the same.

  4. Open email from Hendrik Boesch of Calgary, AB to Mr. Petersen:

    Dear Mr Petersen,

    I have just received information about a wolf kill contest you are sponsoring with price money for hunters to shoot the largest wolf possible, even the hunter who will shoot the smallest wolf will get an extra price.

    I am a great fan of Canadian nature since immigrating to this wonderful country but find it disturbing that events like this exist and get sponsored by a real estate company.

    It is hard to understand that someone who is stating on his company website how much he loves nature and has an interest in conservation at the same time is sponsoring an event that has the sole purpose of killing wolfs just for entertainment.

    I have learned from my great-grandfather, my grandfather and father that the purpose of hunting is to bring food on the table and that animals should be respected for that.

    I know you will probably not give a damn about me or my thoughts, but I wanted to remind you that actions like these can and will harm your reputation and the reputation of British-Columbia, so in the end other businesses in BC will loose as well.

    My fiancee and me are in the process of looking to buy a house in the greater Calgary area and we have already been in contact with real estate agents.

    Up until today we had also considered using REMAX agents, since learning about you as a REMAX agent sponsoring and promoting this event, we will no longer consider the services of REMAX, no matter if you will continue or stop funding this event.

    Even if it means we will not be able to get our dream home at a decent price, the competition is big and sooner or later we will find an agent able to help us.

    We will also inform our Canadian friends, family and colleagues about REMAX being involved in a contest like this to have them consider using other companies when looking to buy or sell their property.

    I am regularly writing articles about my nature and wildlife experiences in Canada for German newspapers, websites and magazines that reach over 50,000 households with print media alone on a daily basis.

    Even though it is past 9pm in Germany now I was able to contact editors and there will be features still this week about this event that will include your name and company name.

    It is a shame that in times like these where wildlife watching and environmentally friendly holidays generate more and more income for the province of British-Columbia companies like your promote events like this.

    To give you an idea, my fiancee and me alone spent over CAD$ 20,000 in the last two years on trips to BC to watch grizzly bears and the salmon run. I have just cancelled a trip to BC to get a chance to see one of the few remaining spirit bears that would have cost me over $7,000, now a company in Manitoba is happy that instead of going to BC I will now give them the business to watch
    polar bears.

    That will give you an idea about the fiscal damage events like yours create for your province and company, ultimately for REMAX as well.

    With kind regards,

    Hendrik Boesch, Calgary

  5. Open email from Leigh Daly to Mr Petersen:

    Mr. Petersen,

    Your contest has come to my attention by way of famed wildlife photographer, John E. Marriott. I incredulously read the article published in yesterday’s Vancouver Sun. I cannot fathom how such an idea would come upon you. To add insult to injury, you put the ReMax brand behind you (boy are they going to love the bad PR that comes from this). I would strongly urge you to reconsider your position, not only in order to save harm to the wolves but the obvious backlash that you will endure if you decide to proceed.

    Respectfully yours,

    Leigh Daly

  6. Open email from Catherine E. Fox to Mr Petersen:

    Dear Sirs and Mesdames:

    Imagine my incredulity when my friend and mentor, John E. Marriott, wrote in his blog earlier today about the “Wolf Kill Contest” sponsored by Rich Petersen, Re/Max Realty, Fort St. John, B.C., as described in the Vancouver Sun article of same date.

    To describe this hunt as contributing to “conservation” rather than describing it as what it actually is, a grubby little trophy hunt, is to believe the general public are too stupid or apathetic to see the truth. Whereas true conservation methods seek to rebalance populations, “contests” simply encourage killing for prizes. Taking out the largest and generally oldest animals could lead to more of the livestock depredation that is alleged to have occurred; it leaves younger and less experienced animals to survive without any guidance from the older, larger and more experienced pack members. This hunt could simply make the issue of livestock depredation worse, thereby resulting in the opposite of “conservation measures”.

    Giving a prize for killing the smallest wolf, which would generally be a pup or youngster, leaves me entirely speechless. That Mr. Petersen of Re/Max Realty, Fort St. John, describes himself as a “strong supporter of wildlife conservation issues” and has “served on the provincial board of directors of the BC Wildlife Federation for over 10 years” leads me to wonder about the actual purpose of that organization.

    Although not a hunter myself, I understand that while ethical hunters hunt to eat and to experience the land, trophy hunters simply hunt to kill. Ethical hunters everywhere will no doubt be outraged by this “contest”, as they should be.

    I for one will not undertake any trips up the Alaska Highway until “events” such as this are foresworn. I will also endeavour to persuade any of my friends, relatives and colleagues to do the same.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Yours truly

    Catherine E. Fox
    Barrister and Solicitor

  7. This is horrible, and shameful. I have also sent a letter, hopefully enough people will e-mail them, and their minds can be changed.

  8. Hi John - thank you for bringing attention to this. This is the email I sent today.

    I am writing to express my concern, disappointment and, quite honestly, disgust at the contest sponsored by Mr. Rich Peterson (Re/Max Realty, Fort St. John, BC) and the North Peace Rod and Gun Club offering prize money to hunters that kill wolves in northern British Columbia. I became aware of this ‘contest’ through the writing of acclaimed wildlife photographer John E. Marriott.

    To directly quote Mr. Petersen in an article discussing the contest in the Vancouver Sun: “its just kind of a social thing that’s gotten bigger every year”. ( Really?? A ‘social’ thing?? I wasn’t aware that killing animals for the sole purpose of prize money was considered ‘social’.

    Mr. Petersen then goes on to say: “It’s not a contest to exterminate wolves, not an organized thing where we go out and shoot every wolf in the country. 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 casual manner in which he discusses the killing of these animals is truly astounding. To even hint that they are contributing to “conservation” is sickening. Mr. Petersen’s Re/Max website ( describes him as “a strong supporter of wildlife conservation issues”. Kindly explain to me, Mr. Peterson how your direct quotes above, extolling the ‘social’ nature of killing wolves for prize money are in compliance with your self-proclaimed description as a strong supporter of wildlife conservation??

    I suspect that ‘real hunters’ that have a true respect for the animal, the land, the dignity in which the animal is treated and killed and the appropriate use of its products would be outraged by this ‘contest’.

    I fully support Mr. Marriott’s call for a tourism ban along the Alaska Highway until this ‘contest’ has been stopped. I certainly will not undertake any trips (or recommend to anyone else) in this region until these types of contests are permanently stopped. I will also ask my friends and colleagues to do the same. I would hope that the tourism board of British Columbia would recognize that wildlife and wild places have a higher economic value when those places are allowed to be left wild and intact.

    I would also urge all Re/Max agents to take a closer look at who their agents really are. Its one thing to advertise themselves in a positive manner on a website but then act in a manner such as Mr. Petersen has done, which in my eyes is unethical. To support the killing of an animal, for the sake of killing and prize money is unacceptable. I would recommend that Re/Max agents publicly denounce Mr. Petersen’s actions.

    Mr. Petersen, a private citizen, should remember that he has no right to carelessly decide the fate of these animals that we ALL SHARE.


    Jennifer M. Rutledge, MD

  9. John,

    This is an absolute disgrace that any person, let alone one representing a corporation like ReMax would conduct themselves this way! Does the Realtors Code of Ethics in BC not cover conduct like this? If it does, a complaint to the Canadian Real Estate Association might be in order.

    It might also be a good idea to have everyone send the Vice President of Corporate Communications (Shaun White) at the ReMax Head office in Denver an email complaining about this guys conduct as a representative of ReMax!

    His email is and his phone number is 303-796-3405.

  10. Mr. Petersen,

    I received information that led me to read the article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun on November 19, 2012 and am absolutely disgusted with you and your business for promoting a contest to kill wolves like this while portraying yourself as a supporter of wildlife and a conservationist. The article I am referring to can be found at this link:

    Sponsoring a contest under the ReMax banner that promotes the indiscriminate killing of wolves and offering prizes for the biggest and the smallest animal killed is absolutely disgraceful! No ethical hunter would participate in this type of activity which makes me question what your real agenda is. There are many contests your realty business can run without encouraging this indiscriminate killing by the type of individual who will be attracted to this type of activity! I cannot believe that the ReMax Corporation would support this type of activity in their franchises!

    As a Professional Photographer/Wildlife Photographer and businessman, I find your conduct absolutely reprehensible! Does the ReMax corporate office know of your contest and support it? Do your ReMax colleague’s? I somehow doubt it!

    I had several wildlife trips planned for next year in your region but after learning of this contest, I can assure you I will not spend a penny in any businesses in your area and will encourage others to stay away as well! Do the right thing and stop this contest.

    Ron Robertson
    Leduc, AB

  11. John and others

    Here is the text of a letter sent by email to Remax's head office in Toronto.

    "Dear Remax

    One of your agents in Fort St. John BC is promoting a rather odious wolf kill contest which runs counter to the attitudes and ethics I hold dear regarding the great outdoors and its wild animal populations.

    My wife and I are retired and we love to travel. I’m a professional wildlife photographer and we regularly take trips in Canada. Needless to say, unless I hear otherwise, I will not be travelling the Alaska Highway until I hear that such odious anti-wildlife campaigns as this, purportedly sanctioned by your company (since it is promoted on a ReMax website), is rescinded.

    Please be aware that we will be selling our Ontario property in the near future and we will certainly not be choosing Remax as our real estate agent, unless you can assure me that you have done your best to disassociate your company from this contest/campaign and that you have taken action to terminate this stupid ‘contest’. Your realtor’s ethics disgust me and my wife and we are shocked that Remax has agents with attitudes such as this.

    Yours sincerely, Don and Brenda Johnston

  12. WHY? What is the purpose behind your contest? Enough people go out and kill - not only wild animals, but humans - that you don't need to encourage them to do more. Trophy hunting is not sport, is not humane, is simply not acceptable. And to target a specific animal is absolutely insane.

    I would like to see you reverse your contest and make it into something that helps preserve our wilderness and the animals that reside therein. Surely you can think of something productive to support instead of senseless murder. Give it a try.

    As Oscar Wilde stated,
    "Nowadays we know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Your price for a wolf comes far short of the value of wildlife to our lives and future.

    Margaret from Arizona

  13. WHY? What is the purpose behind your contest? Enough people go out and kill - not only wild animals, but humans - that you don't need to encourage them to do more. Trophy hunting is not sport, is not humane, is simply not acceptable. And to target a specific animal is absolutely insane.

    I would like to see you reverse your contest and make it into something that helps preserve our wilderness and the animals that reside therein. Surely you can think of something productive to support instead of senseless murder. Give it a try.

    As Oscar Wilde stated,
    "Nowadays we know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Your price for a wolf comes far short of the value of wildlife to our lives and future.

  14. I am outraged at this. And rest assured, Remax will be hearing from me. Wolf are as big and wild as Alaska. Too bad
    the tables could not be turned on Rich Peterson. That would be justice.
    Lorraine Kirby

  15. John, good for you and your letter. We were just up there 2 months ago. I cant imagine such inhumane behavior. It will be a while before we return to Fort St John, if ever.

    Richard Seeley

  16. This is about as low as an individual can go,i.e., promoting himself and his business at the expense of another species that is important to ecological integrity of our natural spaces. One hopes that this individual's family and friends have a higher moral code and respect for life, and that he can be persuaded to cancel the contest.

  17. Hi John - In case people wanted to also send their thoughts to Remax, I also found the email address of the Remax Western Canadian Regional Executive Vice President: Elton Ash:

    Jennifer Rutledge

  18. As a community member and business owner in Fort St John, I am truly disappointed with what would appear to me to be a purely reactionary story and letter in the Vancouver Sun. I am not a hunter. I have never hunted or killed any animal. When I fish, I sport fish and only keep what I plan to eat. It's not my thing. However, I have tremendous amounts of respect for every single hunter I know. Most, are far more considerate of the environment than I am, and I consider myself fairly aware of my footprint. Since reading this slanderous article, I feel the need to come to the defence of Mr. Rich Petersen. This wolf hunt which you so vehemently oppose, is perhaps in bad taste, but in no way is it not necessary. The wolf population in our little corner of the province is running rampant. While not globally condoned or sanctioned, culling in this area is a necessity, both in terms of food security and in terms of general security. Wolf populations are increasing every year at a hugely unnatural rate due to the wolf population's constant feeding and preying on livestock, as well as wildlife. This has led to a man made inbalance in wildlife populations, elk herds, deer herds as well as moose are decreasing at an alarming rate while our wolf population is increasing hugely.
    The provincial government has set the limits at 3 animals per hunter, not Rich Petersen. This means that even the Province has noted that there exists a reasonable need to cull the population. This "wolf hunt" has attracted a lot of negative attention but not from local farmers nor from our rural neighbors. It is attaching a contest to an already existing allowable limit and encouraging hunters to socialize and discuss their hunts of this elusive predator. Mr. Petersen has done amazing work in the past and continues to do so in areas of conservation and the environment. He has my respect. He may not have known the negative light with which he would be painted when answering questions for the Vancouver Sun and as is his character, probably downplayed what the hunt is all about. These hunters all know each other already. They hunt together, fundraise together and celebrate the wilderness together. They are doing the ranchers, and farmers and rural inhabitants of Northeastern BC a service. I support them wholeheartedly. They really do want to see nature survive and thrive so that future generations may enjoy what we are enjoying now.
    Sincerely, Marc Beerling.

    1. nonsense...its time the ranchers adopted some real ranching skills instead of running thier cattle on public open range...there will also be a conflict with wolves and ranchers if the ranchers refuse to budge from old ranching styles.

  19. Dear Rich,

    I was both saddened and disgusted to read in John E. Marriott’s blog today of your plans to sponsor a wolf hunt. As a serious amateur wildlife photographer and conservationist, I find this both irresponsible and totally unacceptable and urge you to reconsider this decision.

    I also find it incredulous that as a ReMax realtor, you are using the company’s name to help promote such a disgraceful “competition,” and will urge Re/Max agents everywhere to publicly denounce your actions.

    I fully support Mr. Marriott’s call for a tourism ban on the Alaska Highway until this anti-conservation ‘contest’ has been permanently cancelled, and will also use my own blog to speak out publicly against it.

    yours truly

    Rick Andrews
    Medicine Hat

  20. Thanks for bringing this to my attention John. I have just sent off my email and will be urging other friends to do the same. Cheers, LA :)

  21. Hi John,

    I was not aware of this, but will take it a step further and boycott ReMax itself if the company does nothing and allows it's name attachment to such low-life attitudes toward our environment and the balance of Nature.

    Brad Allen
    Nature & Wildlife Photographic Artist
    Calgary, Alberta

    1. Sorry guys or girls , but come here and see what the wolf does to the wildlife. I think the people from the south who come to fort St john to hunt benefit from this . sorry I do not have the same opinion as you.

  22. Eileen Puge...... Lover of wildlifeNovember 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Maybe we could all take one step further and just boycott beef. After all its the beef producers who are loosing their "animals" to the wolves. Does Mr. Marc Beerling not realize that everything goes in cycles. If the ungulate population goes up so do the predators until the population of the ungulates goes down. It is a natural occurrence. Therefore there is no need to "cull" the wolf population, it will naturally go down. Sigh.... there is just no hope for wolves or other species in this province called Beautiful British Columbia. Thank you very much Christy Clark and our lt governor who is the president of the cattlemans association of BC. Don't eat beef save a wolf!

  23. Thanks for informing us of this John. I've sent my email of protest.

  24. jamesbrydle @shaw.caNovember 21, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Targeted elimination of the apex predator results in a significant disruption to the balance of nature. Wolves are the usual apex predator and a keystone species in areas where they thrive and control ungulate populations. Planned extermination of predators in Banff National Park in the 1920's and 1930's resulted in the decimation of the local wolf population and a subsequent explosion in elk numbers. By 1940 the Park Wardens where forced to shoot elk to reduce the numbers of predominantly diseased and starving elk.

    The 1995 & 1996 re-introduction of Canadian wolves into Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming has resulted in a beneficial trophic cascade with a well documented improvement in the regional ecosystem. This experience, which is well documented in many sources, proves the value of wolves to a boreal ecosystem. The sport hunting of wolves is immoral, ignorant and should be illegal in all Provinces.

    The initiation and sponsorship of this activity clearly indicates a total lack of respect for nature and gross ignorance of the value and sensitivity of a balanced and healthy forest ecosystem.

    James G. Brydle
    Calgary, Alberta
    November 21, 2012

  25. I think all of you have no idea on what is happening up here and how bad the wolves are. Pull your heads out of your asses and get the other side of the story. When the people r scared to leave their house there's a problem, you guys have no idea!!!!

  26. John, Here is what I have sent to Mr. Peterson.
    Donelda Snyder
    Mr. Petersen,
    I am joining the ranks of the many who object to the wolf killing contest. I do understand that sometimes a cull is necessary to bring a balance back, especially to allow herds of game to flourish for food resources, but the contest demeans the process, and it threatens to lead to uncontrolled killing. Taking of the lives of wolves, as with any wildlife, needs to be respectful, and honouring of the animal. I challenge you and your fellow hunters to find a way to do that. And to let us all know that you have been able to do so. I believe that First Nations peoples are the ones who set an example that we could learn from here.
    Donelda Snyder

  27. At first I was mad but now after reading the over reacting city dwellers emails, Mr. Marriott I now thank you. See we have a problem in this area of a large number of people from out of town that treat our part of the globe as their toilet and because of your letter we will now have fewer of them to put up with. So stay away over reactionaries(sp), doing no research, living in your cities, producing nothing but toxic waste(literally and figuratively) killing far more things with your consumerism than some hunter wanting to save some random(delicious)elk/moose/deer/cow/calf from getting hamstrung and eaten alive from the hindquarters. Peace ps Never thought too much of Mr Peterson till now. pss We are shaking in our holey socks at the thought of less morons on our roads ooooohh

  28. I am from the fort st john and yes i know u at will attack me because we all must be so horid up here in the sticks, but we arnt . It is horible that there is money up up to kill animals. Which im not for but to attack all because of one is not fair to us Its unfair. You paint us all in a horible picture.lso there is a over population of wolfs attacking dogs, colts, horses, cattle. But that never makes the news in your area only local. What does concervation do when bears are over populated put out a drawl to kill. So there no better really. So if a wolf tries to kill a person or a poor helpless horse just let it kill it hey . So when you guys have cougar problem and you kill them do we attack your city no so dont attack ours when u dont know the first thing about it. Also yes you may travel here but you dont live here there alot more die from wolves then u think Just doesnt make the vancover sun. Also for big city to attack one small town u must feel big. Look at the guy in vancover sleeping in
    tent killed by wolves. We are not all bad but slandering a whole town over some people just to get results for your self is horible. Also the alaska highway tourism isnt just fort st john it tons of towns so you wont hurt our but what about others u will hurt that had nothing to dowith it.

  29. About two years ago, I followed two wolves into a power-line off of the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park. I lost them as soon as I went off trail; or so I thought. After about 15 minutes of kneeling perfectly still and enjoying the awareness I had created around me I had the distinct feeling I was being watched. I scanned, and scanned until finally, only about 30 feet away from me, I could see two eyes staring at me from behind a bush. We shared a good hard stare for about a minute. I was by myself, in the bush and I knew that I was looking at my equal. These two wolves could have ripped me to shreds and fulfilled their instinctual need to hunt, but that is not what Wolves do. They have a higher self that tells them, Man is my equal. He is not for food. I wonder if more of us could reach down deep inside and share the same insights towards our fellow predators? Can we be as respectful?

    Firstly, in my humble opinion, hunting for sport should be illegal, wether it's sustainable or not. Thats just me. I feel this way, because I feel we are all connected and each time we take a life, big or small, we are taking from the pool of life we all share. It is not uncommon for many first nations cultures to do a prayer to mother earth after each kill to create balance for what has been taken. I know this does not compare to killing a wolf, or a deer, but I've been an avid crab fisherman since moving to the west coast, and for each crab I catch, I do a little thank you to the universe and the crab I'm harvesting. I try to be aware throughout the catch that I'm taking a life for my own sustenance and this has created a deeper respect for my environment around me.

    In short, the predators are not the real threat to ungulates; it is man. Our endless search for fossil fuels, lumber, and the like is destroying sensitive habitat and challenging ALL species in these ecosystems.

    I would ask each of you, if you can take the time to change the focus of your contest and share this idea. Turn turn your guns into cameras and have a photography contest. Take your skills as hunters and see if you can take home some amazing photos or video of your fellow predators and of these magnificent animals. Use these photos and video footage to promote your community and draw peoples admiration for the resources you have at your feet. Would you consider taking the steps to change your point of view and show the world that you love your community, and you respect the environment around you that is so sustaining? Take it a step further and donate the money raised, to supporting the non-profits around you that are trying to protect the environment around you.

    Please consider every time you pull the trigger what the end result is. It's a good thing to put food good clean organic food in your freezer for you and your family to share. Not everyone feels that way but there are a large number of us, who are nature lovers, who support harvesting wild game for food, not for sport. It's much more serious than that.

    Thank you for taking time to listen to my thoughts. I hope that some of you will take the time to consider this point of view. It might just change your life and give you a purpose you never knew you had.


    Les McDonald
    Tracker Productions

  30. Would you consider posting all comments? Maybe from those of us that live in the area and not just an outsiders perspective... I am not a hunter, but I am a realist and feel that if you're going to take such a strong stand that you do it in a professional manner and take part in the debate you have spearheaded? Any one person can take something and twist it to make it appear any which way they would like. Thank you.

  31. Shame on most of you for sitting in your homes outside of the Peace region passing judgement on people, companies and entire regions without knowing all of the facts behind this.

    Do you the same group pass this much judgement on your friends and family? Is your closet that clean that you can sit behind a computer and stay busy emailing people and making comments on a blog that slanders honest decent people, reputable companies and one of the most pristine area's in Canada.

    Mr Petersen was a co-sponsor, he is retired from RE/MAX Action and did this on his own accord, personally. The city, regional district, tourism association and RE/MAX had and have nothing to do with the event.

    So I ask, before you get all bent out of shape, contact those who are actually in charge of allowing events such as these to happen, not those that sponsor or partake in them...or in the case of this blog companies and regions that you are slandering.

    Thank you.

    Trevor Bolin

  32. We just saw the final chapter about the man who killed 40 or so sled-dogs to keep them from starving. A great hue and cry worldwide; threats against him and his family. He was charged with cruelty to (I think) 9 animals because he did not kill them outright and they suffered. Killing an animal is not a crime, causing suffering is. How can anyone be sure that a when wolf is shot, particularly from the air, that she/he is killed outright and does not suffer for hours or days or weeks? Can the shooter (calling such a hunter is too much aggrandizing) or the pilot, or the minister who made it possible, knowing full well there was a fair expectation that suffering would follow, be charged? If they were, what boon to Beautiful BC Tourism!

    Cal Towle

  33. So I've had a few people call me out for not offering up solutions to the problems the Peace has right now, being "overrun by wolves". I've also had people ask me what right I have to step into this debate in the first place, asking why I think I have a say in how they deal with their wildlife.

    To begin with, I think any resident of Canada has a say in matters like this, just as I would hope that Peace region citizens would be able to have a say in how Banff National Park is run or in how the tar sands are managed, I would like to think I have just as much right to say how I think wolves in northeastern BC should be managed. I do not come into this as a naive babe-in-the-woods. I grew up in Salmon Arm, BC, which was a similar-sized population to Fort St John and features ranches and farms and surrounding wilderness much like that area. Within an hour's drive of Salmon Arm you can find moose, caribou, deer, and thousands of cattle. What you can't readily find is a lot of wolves, because they were eradicated decades ago. Sure, a few are leaking back into the area, but overall they're still far more scarce than they are in the Peace.

    However, my current home in Canmore, AB on the edge of Banff National Park is full of wolves. I have two packs that live on the edges of town, with another nine packs that live within an hour's drive of my house, which is remarkable given the lack of roads in this area and the topography (the Fort St John area is much more road accessible). Basically, every single inch of roadway that I can drive is wolf terrain, except for the area close to Calgary.

    As part of my job as a wildlife photographer, I spend 250+ days a year in the field watching and following wildlife. In particular, I spend 150+ days a year following, watching, tracking, and photographing wild wolves. To put that in perspective, in the past 20 years, I've probably spent more time in the field than just about any hunter in BC or Alberta (except maybe professional trappers and hunters), and I've probably spent more time in the field with wild wolves than anyone except for perhaps one or two other photographers (Ian McAllister comes to mind) and a handful of researchers, including my friend Gunther Bloch.

    In all of that time, I have yet to have an aggressive encounter with a wolf. In fact, in the history of the Canadian Rockies' national parks, with 5 million visitors a year skiing, hiking, walking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding, there has NEVER been a single wolf attack on a person. Not once.

    So I have to ask, what is it that you residents of the Peace fear?? Why are you scared to let your families out into your yards? Wolves do not pose you or your family any threat. The facts are that just two people have been killed by wolves in the past ONE HUNDRED YEARS in all of North America.

  34. So let's address the real perceived problems in the Peace, which are that there are too many wolves and that they are killing too many cattle and too many moose, deer, caribou. The first is easy to address. I've been asking every single one of you that have written me to provide me with some statistics showing a) how many wolves there are in your region, and b) how many cattle are being killed by wolves. So far I've yet to get any data. Writing me to tell me that you watched your newborn calves get chewed to shreds is one thing, but then why do you send me links to wolf-cattle predation in Washington State as your "proof"? Where is the data from the Peace region? Am I just supposed to take the ranchers word for it that they're losing 10% of their herd every year like the BC Cattlemen's Association is wildly claiming (numbers which are very easy to dispute and discredit, watch for my blog post on Monday or Tuesday giving concrete proof of this)?

    If indeed there is a problem in the Peace with cattle predation (which I don't doubt, there probably ARE some wolves that do prey on cattle in that area), then here are some solutions: 1) take a long hard look at how Idaho ranchers have been taught to avoid conflicts with wolves, because it's reduced wolf-cattle predation by 90%, 2) target ONLY the wolves that are doing the cattle predation and either remove those wolves with a wolf predation specialist (after he/she confirms that it was wolf predation and not just wolves feeding on a cow or steer that had died naturally) or remove the alpha male, which has also been shown to work well in reducing conflicts.

    The bottom line here is that there are workable solutions. But offering up a ridiculous contest and standing behind it is still just as asinine as it always has been. Randomly killing whatever wolves you stumble upon (Rich Petersen's words, not mine, though I'm paraphrasing) actually makes wolf-cattle predation worse than it already might be, because you disrupt the dynamics of the pack and leave more rogue wolves in the system that are more likely to start killing cattle (there is ample evidence of this in both scientific literature and on the internet).

    So the first solution to all of this is simple. Put an end to the contest, and I'll put an end to my call for a boycott of the Alaska Highway.

  35. Open email from Robert Allen to Mr Petersen:

    Hello Mr. Petersen,

    A wolf killing contest? Are you serious? Please re-consider your sponsorship of this barbaric event. In this modern age where people are so sensitive to environmental issues, this was a bad decision on your part. As a former board member of the BCWF you should be ashamed to be associated with anything so unethical

    I'm sure the publicity is not doing Fort St John's or your business's reputation any good. My wife and I are planning an RV trip to the Yukon next summer, and were wondering which route to take. The Vancouver Sun news article about Mr. Marriott's call for an AK Hwy boycott has made the decision for us.

    Thank you, Bob Allen
    Victoria BC

  36. Open email from Dave Turchanski of Fort St John, BC to me:

    John: I see you have commented on the wolves in Northeast BC and the wolf hunt that a number of the local service providers are involved with. I just would like to respond to your comment as I feel everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when you do not have any of the history up here in regards to the wolf packs, and how are ungulates are being affected I do not appreciate your comments along with a number of other people here.

    I was born and raised here in the North Country and a very avid outdoorsman. I have guided over the years growing up as a kid as well have spent numerous hours on horse and in jet boats in the Northern Rockies. The Muskwa, Tuchodi, Kechika, Liard watersheds over the years. We would sometimes run into wolves on our horses but very seldom, and never ever did see a wolf while in our river boats. If we did they were like ghosts.

    The muskwa and prophet watersheds used to have the best stone sheep populations in the world. The prophet bench is where the largest stone sheep was ever taken. The outfitters that managed the wildlife there along with the biologists out of Fort St John and Fort Nelson did a great job. Years back we had a protestor in Fort Nelson come up and he thought he could stop the wolf kill program that was in place at the time. To no avail did it work for him. They have tracked for years the sheep populations, moose, elk , caribou, deer etc. in all areas of region seven. When they did wolf kill programs years ago it would take about 6-8 years and we would see animal populations coming back. Stone Sheep population at one time was approx 15,000 sheep strong. Today stone sheep population is approximately 4500-6000 sheep. A wolf kill has not been done for a number of years and sheep along with ungulates are taking a beating. One biologist said we should neuter or castrate the males so they could not breed, “well the wolves are not screwing the sheep they were eating the sheep”.

    I as well travel a lot between Fort St john and Fort Nelson for business. You never would see wolves on the hi-way 10 years ago, as they are very smart. Over the past 10 years I have seen approx. 25 wolves so what is that telling you about the population. The outfitters that live out there eat, breath and sleep what they do complain about the wolf populations. The farmers in the local area are as well taking a beating from the wolves. I live 6 kms. from Fort St. John on Charlie Lake and last year there were 4 wolves out in front of my house on the ice.

    So unless you have some very good information about the wolf populations and knowledge to back it up whether the trappers are trapping the wolves, the sportsman are killing the wolves you may want to think twice in making comments like you have.


    Dave Turchanski
    Fort St. John, B.C.

  37. Open email from Roberta Olenick of Vancouver, BC to Mr Petersen:

    Dear Mr. Petersen,

    I am writing to add my voice to those who have expressed outrage and disgust at the wolf killing contest you are promoting. This is barbaric and unsportsmanlike. It fosters killing for the sake of killing rather than for sustenance, promulgates hatred of a specific species and even encourages targeting of wolf pups through a prize for the smallest wolf killed. It is the antithesis of responsible hunting and wildlife conservation.

    The whole concept is repugnant to me. Rest assured, I will be putting my money where my mouth is and avoid any business or enterprise that sponsors and promotes this wanton activity.

    I urge you in the strongest possible terms to terminate this contest immediately.

    Please inform me of what steps you will take in this regard. I look forward to your prompt reply.


    Roberta Olenick
    Vancouver, BC

  38. Open email from Francie Cochran of Comox Valley, BC to premier Christy Clark (

    Dear Premier Clark,

    I am writing to you with disgust at the news of a wolf killing contest being held in B.C. The list of CC's is lengthy and will be even longer when I add tourist outfitters that I have travelled with in B.C. , Yukon and Alberta and others in Canada and abroad. Time overdue to evolve from 19th century attitudes and actions such as this in B.C.

    I'll start with support for John Marriott's letter of Nov. 20/12,

    What further do I think about killing wolves for contest sport ?

    -it is unethical.

    -I'm tired of hearing that the way wolves(or any wild predator) kill their prey is not a pretty sight. True, they don't use scopes, high powered rifles,lights, snares, traps, run 'em down with machines or as with meat under wrap in the grocery stores-slaughterhouse equipment behind closed doors.

    -killing wolves(and other predators) sure benefits ranchers that lose stock and what is the actual economy of these livestock losses against the final prices that their livestock bring in these days ?

    - who is putting up the so-called $ prizes ?

    - Re: drop in ungulate numbers,what is the relationship between growing oil and gas and other mining interests in Northern B.C. and the increased access from their infrastructure for poachers and also more road kill of hunter preferred prey ?

    -If it "isn't breaking any provincial regulations today" to have a kill contest then there is a critical need for the legislature to change that. And the same is true of the rest of Canada.

    Thank you for taking the time with my concerns and I look forward to your response.

    Yours sincerely,
    Francie Cochran
    Comox Valley, B.C.

  39. Open email from Dave Hohn to me (cc'ing all of the above email addresses):

    Dear John,

    The only reason that a moronic contest like this can happen is because the BC Liberal Government has declared open season on wolves. They caved to pressure from the B.C. Cattlemen's Association, who has been calling for a cull. See Stephen Humes article in The Vancouver Sun, Oct 9, 2012. Mr Hume analyzed the Associations claims about wolf kills and showed that they were totally bogus. In addition he stated that in 2011 the BC Government paid $63,800 dollars to ranchers as compensation for 133 cattle verified as lost to predators. If you do the math that works out to less than 1.5 cents per citizen of our Province. I talked to the main man at the Williams Lake auction company and he said a top breeding cow is worth a maximum of 1400 dollars. If we had paid that amount for each cow lost, it would have cost us 4.1 cents each. Compare that with the 15 million dollars of tax payer money the government is currently spending on ads to tell us what a wonderful job they are doing. I am certain that the vast majority of BC citizens would be more than pleased to continue subsidizing our ranchers for their lost livestock.

    Wolves are amazing social animals and the ancestors of man's best friend. For us to permit them to be slaughtered by ego starved trophy hunters, or contestants in an immoral contest like the one being promoted in Fort St John, is so wrong.

    As for Rich Petersen and Guy Lahaye, I would love to present them with a perfect "booby prize", its called a pink slip.

    I can't believe that the citizens of Fort St John think that this contest is good for their community. They need to step up and put a stop to a despicable idea.

    I will not be doing any business with ReMax or taking my trailer up the Alaska Highway.


    Dave Hohn

  40. I realize that this is an emotional issue for many, but please do not write in comments about how evil hunters are or about how terrible people that kill wolves are or I will not publish the comments (I've gotten rid of just as many comments like that as I have comments that are spreading misinformation). Feel free to voice your opinions, but please keep it clean and to the point. Thank you!

  41. This was my email to Rich:

    "Hello Rich,

    I am pleased that you are strong to your roots and support a managed wolf hunt. Stay strong and don't fold under the pressure."

    Nobody is advertising this as an extermination cull, it's simply promoting a legal hunt, same as a big buck contest, or a fishing derby...there is a reward for the largest harvest. The wolf population is very healthy and can support harvest.

    "In addition he stated that in 2011 the BC Government paid $63,800 dollars to ranchers as compensation for 133 cattle verified as lost to predators. If you do the math that works out to less than 1.5 cents per citizen of our Province. I talked to the main man at the Williams Lake auction company and he said a top breeding cow is worth a maximum of 1400 dollars"

    The key part of that is "verified as lost"...ask ranchers if they feel are justily receiving compensation for their "unverified loss."

    To the people crying wolf here, have you made any effort to understand the population trends/decline of ungulates? Do you make a living off the land? When you buy your meat wrapped in plastic at the grocery store, do you truly understand how that arrived there? Perhaps think about that the next you suggest ranchers "adopt some real ranching skills."

    How much time do you spend in the woods? How many hours per year? Typing on a computer in the lower mainland is not the same as spending a couple thousand hours working in the bush each year. It's sad that this many people will jump on the wagon without the full picture to make a fully informed opinion.

    This whole situation reminds me of the Peelee deer cull in Ontario in the 90's. Population control is part of conservation and the protection of an ecosystem, and ALL it's inhabitants, outweighs the protection of a single species.

    I am a consevationist, avid hunter and angler, and I will be paricipating in this contest. Would I support shooting coastal wolves, which are genetically different, or Algonquin wolves? No, I wouldn't support that. This hunt is not targeting an endangered or rebounding population. It is a very healthy population.

    Perhaps you should ask the opinion of Conservation Officers and WMU biologists and then reconsider some of the opinons you are promoting on your website.

    Alleged "ego starved hunter"

  42. John--
    Well Done!Shooting with cameras is better than shooting with rifles.


  43. The Vancouver Sun article (as well as the Calgary Herald) was so obviously one sided, how did anyone take it seriously?
    There were no interviews with any local Conservation Officers, no interviews with local ranchers, no interviews with any of the participating hunters. Just one quote from Rich Peterson and I have a hard time believing that that is all he said. I have a feeling he probably said more, but the story would be juicier if edited to include only that remark. Shame on The Vancouver Sun. Nad shame on the people who took it as gospel.
    I am not a hunter, I am not for this hunt or against it. I dont have all the facts. So before I go and start boycoting ReMax (who has absolutely nothing to do with this) I will make the effort to inform myself of the facts intead of following everyone elses lead. I would hope that the open minded and educated people that Canada is known for would do the same.
    If you still feel that strongly about it then go to the source. The governing bodies that decide bags limits and hunting practices not Rich Peterson, he is not the enemy here.
    And for all those boycoting the Peace all together, you might want to think about where all the resources you use to live the lives you has become accustome to come from. The residence in the Peace Country work hard and put up with alot so you can drive your cars and heat your homes. Everyone wants the benefit but no one wants it in their back yard. Will you boycot the resources coming out of the Peace as well? Probably not, you'll just boycot the easy stuff.
    Stop being sheep! Think for yourselves! Get the facts! Get educated!

  44. Dear Anonymous (directly above). Did you even read the article in the Vancouver Sun? It's got quotes from two of the contest sponsors, one on behalf of the BC Wildlife Federation, and one from the Minister. I'd say that's pretty fair representation, wouldn't you? Perhaps YOU need to get the facts and get educated. One-sided? Far from it....

  45. I love it. Boycott the Peace, please. Last thing we need up here are people who don't understand overpopulation of problem predators on long-established farm and ranch land.

    Until you are a farmer/rancher and have experienced looking at the bloody bones left from your beautiful and critically endangered farm animal, who made a meal for the very numerate predators who are now expanding their hunts onto farmland instead of within the wilderness, only then might you understand. A farm animal that has taken years and high veterinary expense to produce due to reproductive problems experienced (by many of the rare breeds due to their small gene pool), gone to feed a wolf that will go on to contribute to the overpopulation of that species in this area. A critically endangered farm animal that could not escape the pasture when the wolves arrived. A critically endangered baby that will not go on to reproduce in an effort to stop the breed from advancing into extinction. This farm animal will never be photographed again if it goes extinct.

    All of you who think wolves do not harm, please, boycott the Peace. Stay home. We don't need your tourist dollars. Go to Jasper where the animals are protected and where you are welcome.

    Don't complain if your neighbours don't control their pack of dogs and they come over and kill your cat while he's trapped in his own yard. Yes, I know there is a difference between cats and horses/cattle/llamas/buffalo/goats/sheep: the keepers of these animals have invested a lot more time, money, land, equipment and tough, gruelling outdoor work to maintain these animals than dog and cat owners do. But the heartfelt loss is the same when a predator kills one or many more of them.

  46. I would like to add to the protection of slandering rich petersen he has done nothing wrong. As other people have noted that the bc government has set the bag limit to 3 wolves per hunter and you don't even require a tag to shoot them why is he to blame? You all who have blown this out of proportion especially you John! Should be writing the bc government and boycotting them blah blah wine wine. I get a kick out of your comments I am from salmon arm and it is much like the peace region... Not even close! The wolves were erraticated from there for a reason! Farmers had enough! You can be "the boy who cried wolf" or you can be realistic, we have a healthy population of wolves here and if it continues on the way it is it will be the only population! And then guess what? The wolves will be coming to your cities and your back yards and you will be crying then. I encourage you John to ask the conservation officers around this region what they think about all this? Ask them how many wolves vs other animals we have? Ask them what they're solutions are? After all that's their job isn't it? For the people who have no idea about any of this and are sending rediculous emails to remax and rich get a grip on reality. They don't care! They are not going to read your non sense whining. I have hunted my whole life and treated the wilderness with the same respect I treat my own life. I have seen populations decimated in other areas due to wolves. My question to you all is what do the natives around this area think? How do they come up with solutions for this problem? What did they ancestors do to ensure they still had meat to eat in the coming winters when the wolves were becoming a problem?

  47. My name is Harry and I am 82 years old. I have been an ethical hunter and avid outdoors man for over 70 years! This "Kill the wolf contest" is silly and unnecessary. The wolves have their place in the whole scheme of Nature and the natural order of life. There is no bird or animal that lives that does not have its spot in the universe. Killing the young and killing the old is not what should be happening out there in this day and age! The average "hunter" would not go out and just kill a wolf. In all my years of hunting, I have only seen a handful of wolfs and thought to my self ... it is great to see them in the wild! I certainly hope that my comments help you to make the right decision.

  48. Except, Harry, that now they are so numerous they have been photographed right in city limits - it made the newspaper. There are so many of them that the other wolves who have their own territories are so numerous that other wolves no longer have any territory to claim, so they are expanding to the populated areas.

    You have to understand, these wolves are totally overpopulated and are becoming PROBLEM predators. Most of us live in the north partly because we enjoy the wildlife. However, the wolf population is out of balance. If they are to survive, this species needs to be put back into balance. What part of this is so hard to understand?

  49. This tired rhetoric that some of you northern folk keep throwing around is getting old, honestly. So there are wolves at city limits, whoop-dee-doo. There have been wolves within my town's city limits every month for the past ten years, yet you don't see us going off like a bunch of rednecks holding a contest to see who can shoot the biggest one.

    If these wolves are so overpopulated, then where is the evidence? I ask it again and again and again.

    And I'll reiterate that if wolves WERE to become overpopulated, then their population would regulate itself, because they'd have nothing left to eat. It's the natural cycle, folks, wolves and their prey have been living together for hundreds of thousands of years.

  50. John, the North is one third of BC. When you have been asking, have you spoken to the conservation officers? The evidence is with the Conservation Officers who are alarmed at how many wolves there are. Call them at their Fort St. John office to get the stats. Hard evidence is with the cattlemen, several of whom have lost a third of their cattle to wolves. Cattle herds in this area are large, usual sizes are 150 head plus. Tell you what, throw a third of your salary towards saving the wolves, because that's what the cattlemen have done through providing meals for the wolves. Can you afford to throw away a third of your salary, John?

    As you say, if they become too overpopulated then there would not be anything to eat. Indeed, this is becoming the case, because wolves don't normally infringe on populated places. When wolves start killing cattle, it is because the territory they normally occupy has become overpopulated, meaning there is less to eat and the new packs are forced onto less desirable territories.

    FYI, wolf packs are generally only up to about 8 members. The packs here are now up to 25 members because it is so difficult for them to expand. When they become this big they do eat more in their territory and the wild food supply dwindles.

    Call the conservation office and speak with the head CO if you are truly wanting anwers to your questions.

    I wonder, did you get at all concerned when the rabbits were depopulated in Victoria? They don't even kill...

  51. ‘A wildlife advocate’???
    Killing any animal just for the sake of killing is simply not acceptable in today's day and age and you should be ashamed of yourself for promoting such out-moded values.
    Hunting is about putting food on your table, it should not a contest for killing the biggest trophy nor for promoting an unjustified hatred towards particular species. Each and every species has its role to play within its ecosystem . Promoting this type of hunting has no place in an educated and civilised society. Any and all forms of trophy hunting should be outlawed.
    This is disgusting!

    S. Cummings
    Wildlife Cameraman & Sound Recordist

  52. All these bleeding hearts from down south should see the amount of wolves up here in the north.The wolves are out of control up here .get your head out of your ass and let people take care of the problem before there are no moose or deer left up here.

  53. G Dixon, it's comments like those that make us 'southerners' think that some of you up north have lost touch with reality. I spend a tremendous amount of time up north photographing and know hundreds of hunters and trappers and biologists living in the north, yet I don't see an overabundance of wolves or a lack of moose or deer where I travel, and my friends don't complain about too many wolves or not enough deer or moose. So where are your comments coming from? "The wolves are out of control", seriously? Then why is it so friggin hard for me to find one to photograph? Why are they out of control up there, but not down here where they're protected in our national parks? Why don't they just overrun the parks then, since no one can hunt them or trap them? Here's why, Mrs Dixon, because wolves don't kill everything in sight, only humans do that. If there's a moose problem, then look in the mirror. If there are too many wolves, then go count again, because wolves manage their own populations with something called 'carrying capacity'.