A wooden cabin in the forest
episode 95 | Jan 31, 2023
Hunting & Fishing

Ep. 95: The Future of Hunting in Canada

The BC grizzly bear hunt, indigenous hunting, federal gun bans and much more. Nothing is off limits in this information packed episode of the Silvercore Podcast with BC Wildlife Federation executive director Jesse Zeman. Jesse is an incredibly informed and articulate advocate for conservation. Jesse shares his thoughts on the future of hunting and provides actionable steps that everyone can utilize for the betterment of our shared resources.
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[00:00:00] Travis Bader: I'm Travis Badder, and this is the Silvercore Podcast. Silvercore has been providing its members with the skills and knowledge necessary to be confident and proficient in the outdoors for over 20 years, and we make it easier for people to deepen their connection to the natural world. If you enjoy the positive and educational content we provide, please let others know by sharing, commenting and following so that you can join in on everything that Silvercore stands for.

[00:00:40] If you'd like to learn more about becoming a member of the Silvercore Club and community, visit our website at silvercore.ca.

[00:00:56] I am joined today by a UBC grad in Economics Business and Sustainability who did his undergrad thesis Hunter recruitment and retention, his massive thesis on preferences and willingness to pay for wildlife management and his currently the Executive Director of the British Columbia Wildlife Federation.

[00:01:14] Welcome to the Silvercore Podcast, Jesse Zeman. Thanks, Travis. You know, even though this is about BC and you've got a big role within the British Columbia Wildlife Federation, your areas of study and your expertise are something that I think would be useful for people all throughout North America and beyond, and you've got very keen insight into what it is we're gonna be talking about today.

[00:01:40] and a lot of respect from people who have been working with you and around you, and even those who just kind of follow you casually on forums. And I was funny because in doing a little bit of research for this podcast, I came ac, came across a crow quote here and it says, uh, I admire Jesse and his efforts.

[00:01:58] He is horribly intelligent and is extremely dedicated to our wildlife concerns. And I thought, who better to have on the Silvercore podcast to share his thoughts on wildlife management, on hunter retention and hunter recruitment than you? So again, thank you for joining 

[00:02:16] Jesse Zeman: me here. Yeah, thanks. Those are, uh, very kind words.

[00:02:19] Someone who must not know me that well. . 

[00:02:22] Travis Bader: So you've been involved with the Wildlife Federation for a long time, I think in your, um, you're, you're an airline pilot by, by trade, on top of everything else here. And you decided to jump in and work at the Federation, which probably. , uh, in, in some respects, people would look at it and say, well, I bet you it doesn't pay as much as being an airline pilot.

[00:02:45] Why would this guy do this? Yeah. Why would, what, what is it that drives you? Yeah, 

[00:02:49] Jesse Zeman: that's, yeah, that's certainly the, the case. Um, you definitely work a lot more and get paid a lot less. That that is true. , um, my, my time with the BC Wildlife Federation, I've been involved since I was a kid, probably since, uh, as far back as I can remember, involved in the Oceola Club, which is in Lake Country, kind of in the interior British Columbia, and, and started, uh, under a fellow named Ron Taylor, who is one of the original members of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

[00:03:18] Um, You know, big name and the conservation movement. So he kind of got me started as a kid. You know, I was into hunting and fishing, fishing as young as I was, you know, two or three years old. Um, and kind of just took, took that on and got started into some stewardship projects. So I've kind of been a lifelong BCWF member.

[00:03:35] Um, and, and the passion for it really just comes in seeing the change and realizing the change in fish and wildlife populations and. , um, all of the effects that we now realize, you know, we're, we're down in, in Ladner, right beside the Fraser River here. Mm-hmm. are close there. Mm-hmm. . And, um, you talk to some of the folks that are older than our generation and they used to have sockeye returns every year where they could go fishing.

[00:04:01] And then it went to, you know, once every other year. Then it went to once every four years. And now, you know, the likelihood is we probably won't see another sockeye fishery for the foreseeable future in the river. Or if we do, it's gonna be, you know, very marginal once every four years. So that's kind of the passion is recognizing that, you know, what I've experienced and what the people before me experience, my kids are probably not gonna get that opportunity unless people who really care about these resources put their hands up and say, we're not okay with what's going on.

[00:04:30] We want to see change. We want to see sustainable fish and wildlife populations. So that's the motivat. 

[00:04:35] Travis Bader: So that sounds like a pretty uphill battle personally. I mean, it sounds like you're gonna be banging your head against a brick wall at times because best laid plans, you can put together a, a full thesis and paper and stats and everything on it, but you're gonna have layers of bureaucracy and you're gonna have different political climates that are going to affect how those decisions are being made.

[00:04:57] How do you deal with that ? I 

[00:05:00] Jesse Zeman: mean Yeah, yeah. A lot of sleepless nights for sure. I mean, the, the, the very interesting thing, if we cut right to the core in British Columbia, you know, politics, there are politicians who are intrinsically motivated, who really get into it for the right reasons. Um, there are a lot of personalities, but the reality of it, inbc is that quite often the provincial election is won and lost by 60 to 80,000 votes across the province, right?

[00:05:26] Sometimes far less than that. And there's a number of areas where things are always close, right? And so when we look at how many people hunt, uh, you know, 110,000 plus people at buy license every year between freshwater and saltwater licenses, you're talking. Plus over 500,000 licenses that are sold. If you can get those people to stand up and advocate for fish and wildlife and let elected officials know that what they're doing isn't okay, they want to see change, you'll get changes in how fish and wildlife is managed and how conservation is applied.

[00:06:00] So, so that's kind of like the ultimate goal is to get people, um, to herd the cats in a way where they are vocal about what's important to them, where they're engaged with their MLA's, and I think you'll see change. Hmm. Um, That strategically, you can definitely, a hundred percent anglers could a hundred percent control the outcome of the provincial election if they were all on the same page and, and not, that would not be a hard, hard feat in that sense.

[00:06:25] Travis Bader: And like any, any group of people, there's always gonna be classes within that group that they look at trying to make distinctions between each other. They'll say, well, I'm a sport shooter. I'm not a hunter. Or I'm a, uh, I'm a rifle shooter. I'm not a pistol shooter. And there's a level of divisiveness in there.

[00:06:43] I would think that it would be extremely difficult to get people to self-advocate. And I, I, I think you, uh, you're probably fighting a, um, a traditional sense of co-opting responsibility for advocating to a third party because. in days of old people would say, well, I belong to the Wildlife Federation, or I belong to whatever it might be.

[00:07:09] I pay my money. What are they doing for me? And what we're really seeing as we move forward is the empowerment of the individual. Like the internet has really empowered the individual, uh, uh, ai. And that's an interesting thing I'm kind of looking at as well. Cause I got an expert in ai they just did a podcast with, and another one who's, uh, uh, a futurist who I'm talking with, talking about how AI is changing the whole paradigm of people and commoditizing essentially knowledge.

[00:07:38] Mm-hmm. and how moving forward the trend is going to be. It went from physicality to, uh, intelligence to now uniqueness. Mm-hmm. the individuals. So, I, I think you're gonna see a growing push that's gonna be assisting in people recognizing and realizing that their own unique voice has a heck of a lot more power than it ever has in the past.

[00:08:02] but how are you looking at this? How, how is this something that, uh, the federation is kind of looking at mobilizing the individuals to advocate? 

[00:08:10] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. So, yeah, that, that is always, so when we talk strictly, you know, advocacy is one part of our, of our business. We've got a whole bunch of different parts, right?

[00:08:19] But in terms of mobilizing people, in a lot of cases it's education. Um, there's also, we, we get this like feeling of hopelessness from a lot of people where it's like, well, I'm exactly what you're saying. I'm just one person. My MLA is never gonna listen to me. It's a waste of my time to go see them. And that's part of the, you know, the hurdle that we gotta get over is people recognizing that their time is valuable, that their MLA's, um, in person appreciate them coming in and having an exchange of knowledge or lobbying or advocacy or whatever.

[00:08:51] And so Bill C 21 is a prime example where people are finally getting mobilized and, uh, you know, we kind of talked about this off air, um, , I, I, I think what you alluded to is that, you know, there's these factions and so you have like the sport shooting community who maybe not doesn't hunt. You have hunters who obviously shoot, um, that's part of their business.

[00:09:10] And, and I think, you know, in the past you had people saying, well, I don't hunt, so why should I care? I don't sport, shoot, so why should I care? Well, you should care because you have overlapping, um, interests in the sense that, you know, hunters need sports shooters and sports shooters need hunters in the sense that there are a ton of sports shooters.

[00:09:28] So that adds numbers to people who care about. firearms are using firearms. Uh, on the flip side, uh, sports shooting's, social license is very clearly tied to people hunting, right? So the public doesn't necessarily support people who just shoot, and that's not their fault. That's really more spillover from what goes on in the States.

[00:09:49] But the reality is, is everybody's on the same team and going, I care about what you do. You care about what I do. Let's jointly work together to advocate. You are gonna be much more powerful than if you say, well, I, I don't hunt and I don't care about bird shooting, so I'm just gonna go my own way. And so I think that's part of this broader realization.

[00:10:07] And it's the same in the world of fish and wildlife, right? We now have this. Fish, wildlife and Habitat Coalition, which is 29 groups, I think, um, makes up, you know, there's over 900 sustainable businesses, 275,000 plus people who have, you know, five years ago couldn't even stand to be in the same room together.

[00:10:26] really like it was, I, I was at, I was at a pile of those meetings where people just like instantly cut loose on each other. But everybody's coming upon this realization that, look, you know, I, you know, . If you're a non hunter, you're like, I really care about grizzly bears. Well, guess what? Grizzly bears also need salmon, right?

[00:10:45] Yeah. And we all care about salmon. Yeah. And we all care about the sustainability of grizzly bears and the sustainability of caribou. So these little tiny things that we don't agree on, why don't we set that aside? Because there's bigger, more important issues. You know, there's bigger fish to fry than these little tiny nuances.

[00:11:01] Cuz if we all head off in our own direction, we know that things are gonna get worse. Mm-hmm. for shooting or for conservation. So that's really the message, I think, and that's part of the mental bridge that we gotta get over. And so how are we focusing on that? Um, we just recently added a conservation, hunting, angling and sports shooting, uh, engagement coordinator.

[00:11:22] So that person's role really is gonna be building community within. Different constituencies, um, and talking to people and educating people, that's a, that's a big part of it. We're also kind of stepping up the world of education. We already do a ton of education, but we're gonna be offering some more products to kind of bring in, um, you know, we're seeing increased female participation in things like hunting and angling.

[00:11:43] They're both becoming more family, family-oriented activities. Mm-hmm. . And so supporting that transition, again, is good for hunting and conservation and angling because there's more people that care about the resource. Um, but under that, again, like, it's, it's, um, These activities are stigmatized in the sense that typically it's been a white male, older who does these things and people find that unrelatable.

[00:12:09] But if we have all these other people who are coming into these activities and reaching out and touching the rest of their community, um, hunting suddenly becomes far more palatable. And we're seeing that, right? Like, I mean, I recall even 15 years ago where if you talked about hunting in British Columbia, you were instantly sent death threats and, you know, was in the Vancouver Sun.

[00:12:29] You know, the province is out to train, you know, 10 year old killers and those sorts of things. And now that discussion has changed big time right now. Like there's like the local food movement and people are moving towards hunting because they're concerned about where their meat comes from. They want to source it ethically.

[00:12:45] So, So I guess what I'm saying is, you know, we can all be a bow hunter or a rifle hunter or a sports shooter, a fly fisher, but we should all be on the same page in terms of taking care of this resource in terms of making sure that everybody has access to it so that they can go out hunting and fishing.

[00:13:02] And if, if we can get, raise it up that level, we're gonna be a lot better off. . 

[00:13:06] Travis Bader: Yeah. If you can create a hierarchical approach, I mean, not that the concerns of these different groups are invalid, but perhaps there's something that can be approached a little bit later on down the line after some of the big blocks are set in place and it gives you a strong foundation.

[00:13:21] Jesse Zeman: Yep. Yeah, I think, I mean, there's, we, we do, we have, we have clubs that have had internal struggles between, you know, the ips I and the trap shooters and all the rest of that stuff. And, you know, the, the reality is, is like if we can't, people can't use handguns. Ipss i's gonna go the way of the, the dodo, right?

[00:13:40] Yeah. And if we, so, so, you know, you gotta set those things aside. You gotta make sure that you're not trying to marginalize each other and you gotta go, okay, if we all work together, we are gonna get to a better place in time than if we all fight amongst ourselves. Right? That's the, that's the one of the big 

[00:13:57] Travis Bader: challenges.

[00:13:58] You know, I had someone on the podcast before, very intelligent person, and she was saying, uh, talking about ego in hunting. I'm like, I don't know what you're talking about. Right. And anyway, she's going in, she's like, I get, you know, some people have ego, but it made me pause and look at and really analyze the, uh, the thought of the ego in, in what's involved.

[00:14:18] And you find it everywhere. But it, I think she was correct. That's, uh, Jenny Lee, Jenny ly. Am I pronouncing it right? She said it both ways to me, so, yeah. Yeah. Um, that I, I think she is very correct and so far as, you know, money and power seem to be the two things that, uh, uh, can create the most strife people, whether that's real money or real power, or perceived money or perceived power.

[00:14:46] Uh, I'm, I'm the captain of my gun club, or I'm the head rain safety officer. Okay. Fair enough. Right. That's, uh, a different elevation of position or, or whatever it might be. And it seems to me that that is, That she hit the nail on her head. That that is the barrier to having people kind of work together.

[00:15:05] If people can kind of take a step back and put the ego aside and really truly look at what it is that's gonna benefit the group the most, and maybe swallow that difficult pill, work together with your, uh, the person who you've been feuding with because of whatever it might be for the hospital so that you got, can both see the realization of a shared goal.

[00:15:31] Um, yeah, that's, uh, but that's a, that's a huge thing in it to itself because uh, you know, ego's tied into basically everything and you know, in the firearms world I see it a lot too. I got a gun. Mm-hmm. , I'm pretty special. Right? Yeah. I mean, in the states, everyone in their grandma has a gun. Yeah. And there's a completely different personality.

[00:15:49] I work with firearms instructors. Well, I'm an instructor, I gotta be extra special cuz I teach it now, right? Mm-hmm. and learning that. Coming to the realization that we're all in this game together, and I think Shane Mahoney actually said it really well before when he is talking about the animals and how we manage 'em, and he says, you know, It's not that I'm better than the animals.

[00:16:09] It's not that I have dominion over the animals. I mean, the animals will all have things that they can do better than me. That bears stronger than me, right? The, the cougar's gonna be faster than me. The deer's got better ears than me. Right? There's all these different things. The question is, is that we are actually one of the animals and we have to find a way to.

[00:16:26] Work together in, in a 

[00:16:28] Jesse Zeman: holistic way. Yep. Yeah, I think that's accurate. I mean, SHA Shane does spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, and, and it is accurate, and I think it, it, we're seeing it ar it's already happening like this, this kind of shift in, in why and when and who picks up hunting and who picks up angling has changed, right?

[00:16:48] Mm-hmm. This was, you know, 40 years ago, hunting was essentially a male dominated Caucasian activity, and now there's more and more people that are getting into it. Mm-hmm. And I think that's great, right? Like you'll, you'll find some people with, in a much older demographic who, you know, oh, on my day, You know, men and boys went out hunting and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:17:08] And it's like, that's great in your day, but in our day everybody goes out hunting. And so these people, I guess, you know, ego is part of it. It's, it's uh, how they relate to hunting and how they were brought up, seeing hunting and the view about hunting now is different. And I think it's a good thing.

[00:17:25] Mm-hmm. , I mean, I think there's, um, you know, there's a ton of value in getting people hooked into these activities. And I think that's the broader part too, is hunters. As hunters, we often find ourselves in competition with other hunters, right? So if you're out somewhere and it's busy and you're running into people, quite often hunters get really bent outta shape.

[00:17:43] There's people everywhere, I'm tripping over them. I can't believe this, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. And it's like, well look, you know, hunter is in British Columbia, prime make up 3% of the whole population. There's a whole bunch of people that probably support hunting or forms of hunting, but there's also a bunch of people that are opposed to hunting.

[00:18:00] Mm-hmm. , right? . So I would rather go out in the bush and run into someone who's out enjoying the same activity that supports conservation and go, Hey, I'm gonna go up this drainage, you go up that drainage, have a great day, or let's work together on this. Yeah. Rather than running into someone who hates what I'm doing and hates me for it.

[00:18:17] Right. So I love that. So it's like a totally, it's a like, I mean, all these things to me, when people see, you know, have an interest in these activities, it's like, I wanna bring you into this, um, for a number of reasons. And same, you know, as it relates to bbc, w f is we want to train up, and I'm sure it's the same for you, we wanna train up people who.

[00:18:35] are confident and understand how to safely fire, hold a firearm, handle a firearm, harvest an animal. Like we want these people to have the best experience possible. Cuz the worst thing you can do is get somebody who goes, I want to get into hunting. And the first time they go out, they harvest something that's illegal, they get a fine and they quit hunting.

[00:18:51] Right? Right. So, you know, even as you're talking about firearms instructors, you know, in my mind as a firearms instructor or as a core instructor, you want to be putting through the best students that you possibly can to prepare them for hunting so that they enjoy hunting so that they're good stewards for these activities so that it reflects well on the public.

[00:19:09] Right? So all things that we think about all the time, a hundred 

[00:19:12] Travis Bader: percent. You know, we've always taken the approach of this material. People need to know to pass a test. We can sit here and we can just teach that material. They can go, they can leave and they're like, okay, I passed my test. Now what? Or we can instill our passion for what it is that we do through example, and try and have people adopt a, a, a mental process or a lifestyle of safety, of ethics of community.

[00:19:38] And I. We've, we've worked really hard to be able to do that since about 1994 when I started doing the, uh, the training. And we found that it's been, uh, it's been quite successful. And any, when I say look around, others that are successful in the field do do it very similarly. Mm-hmm. , but you brought up, oh my God, so many things.

[00:19:58] I'm, I'm taking notes as we're going through here. Uh, recruitment and retention. Um, paying for conservation, uh, talking about memberships, grizzly bear. I've read something about black bears. We might want to talk about that too. Mm-hmm. , um, what the federation stands for, C 21, demographics. Food is a vehicle.

[00:20:18] Like, there's a whole bunch of things, and I'm trying to mentally just kind of put this into an order, that doesn't have us jumping around too much. But I think an interesting area would be, you know, and this would probably apply to those in British Columbia, everyone when they're saying, Hey, what's, what's the federation doing for me?

[00:20:35] Right? Yep. Yep. Understanding, What the federation's mission statement is, or what it is that the Federation stands for. Cuz uh, so often I see people look at it and say, well, I'm a duck hunter, right? I'm a waterfall, or yeah, I'm a firearms owner or I'm an angler. Right? Um, From my understanding, the federation wasn't designed for any one of those groups in particular, but for the management, the long-term smart management of, uh, our natural resources.

[00:21:03] But you can hopefully steer 

[00:21:04] Jesse Zeman: that in the right way. Yeah, there's, you know, I mean, you can hand out the vision statement and mission statement, but really it's about taking care of nature, essentially taking care of these resources, representing. People who hunt, fish, trap sports, shoot advocate on their behalf, advocate on behalf of conservation.

[00:21:23] But the other piece too is to, um, engage and instill awareness in the public. Mm. And, and so there's like, so there's like a whole bunch of different parts to our business. I mean, we do, um, education, right? So, um, uh, core is one of them. One of our programs becoming an outdoors. Women, women outdoors. We do wetlands education.

[00:21:44] We have our conservation webinars. So that is all, um, engaging. Not only our members, uh, but also the public. Our conservation webinar is we get elected officials, we'll get members of Parliament, which is our federal government, will get members of legislative assembly, which is a provincial government on those to learn about them.

[00:22:01] Um, a bunch of our stuff is outreach in terms of media. Last year in, by December we were in I think 1400 different new just newspaper articles, nevermind TV and radio. And so that reached, in terms of the viewership, it would've reached something over 400 million Canadians last year. Right. Wow. So that's a huge part of what we're trying to change.

[00:22:23] Like those numbers are up big time over 2021, cuz a lot of it, what we're realizing is we have a ton of access to federal and provincial ministers and MLA's. We meet with them and advocate. The public. Having our public engage and having our members engage and having hunters and anglers who are non-members engaged makes huge strides in terms of policy decision making, right?

[00:22:46] Mm-hmm. . So media engaging the public advocacy, I would say is really where we're, where we're well poised, given the size of our membership and the activities we do. Um, but we also do a ton of on the ground stewardship, right? So in terms of fish habitat, wetlands, restoration, um, we're probably gonna deliver just.

[00:23:06] Just right around $5 million worth of on the ground wetlands and water projects this year. Um, we'll deliver well north of a million dollars in terms of terrestrial wildlife conservation. So sanitary mule deer project. We got three large controlled burn projects on the go. Um, we're funding, I think we've got three PhD students who are doing wildlife conservation science for us.

[00:23:30] Um, we've got one that's doing a post-doc on interior Fraser steelhead. So it's kind of like, um, science on the ground, stewardship, a ton of education, a ton of advocacy. Um, we do a bunch of work for the clubs in terms of, um, Advocacy, but also, you know, we're trying to build more of a sense of community. We have a bunch of, uh, support for ranges in terms of lead management and noise management that we use to support them to ensure that our ranges are sustainable and that they're not on the wrong side of provincial law.

[00:24:00] Um, and then we also provide insurance. I mean, so there's a whole bunch of parts to our business. 

[00:24:05] Travis Bader: Great. I guess it's difficult to be everything to everyone. Yep. And you're never gonna be that. Yep. But at the crux of it, it's about the conservation and wise use of our resources. Yep. And, uh, I guess if we step back to that hierarchical approach, if we're able to address that, the other thing should help fully fall in line.

[00:24:25] Now you brought up, now we're talking about people self advocating, talking to their mps or MLA's, uh, bill C 21. So I, you know, we've had some discussions about that here on, on the podcast and. , uh, and someone said, Trav, what, what's your MP had to say about this? I'm like, you know, I've spoken with her in the past.

[00:24:47] She's really nice. Yeah. You know, we get along just fine, but I never see anything really come of things right. I thought, well, you know what? I gotta do it anyways. gotta go in there. Yeah, so call her up. And I had a really long conversation, really insightful, actually learning that, uh, the division within the ranks on how, how C 21 s being rolled out and, you know, without her putting her foot in her mouth, but reading between the lines on things, um, things aren't all right on that.

[00:25:16] And in fact, my name's been put forward to be, um, a witness and the hearings. So, we'll, we'll see where that goes. Uh, if it happens, I'll better make sure I'm talking to smart people like yourself and others to make sure I'm putting our best foot forward. Um, but. Even from in my position and being down the road so many times and talking with others within the federation, like, ah, you're gonna get nowhere with it.

[00:25:43] but all of 'em went through it and did it anyways. Mm-hmm. that negative mindset of, uh, we're, yeah, we're messed up to begin with. You know, what if the boat's sinking? Yeah. Because it's taken on water. What do you do? Yeah. You just rode Aho faster or keep bailing. Yeah. Don't give up. Yeah. And I'm finding some, some really positive results from that mentality 

[00:26:04] Jesse Zeman: over.

[00:26:05] Yeah. Yeah. There's a, yeah, there's, there's a number of things to consider. So in the world of advocacy, you know, everybody does like fill out this online form, right? Mm-hmm. a form letter that goes to an a l area. No, I'm done. I mean, that is like, that is like decimal dust. That is like a speck of sand on the largest beach in the world, right?

[00:26:23] Means nothing. The next part is like a personalized letter. You know, your elected officials assistant might read it, might tabulate how many of they get the next, you know, the, the next part is the in-person meeting. Mm-hmm. . And that is worth orders of magnitude more than the other two combined, right?

[00:26:38] Mm-hmm. , like, I mean like 20,000 letters is like one visit. And so, you know, the feeling that you get after meeting with your m l or MP is different depending on if they're in opposition or what their position is. But the reality is, is that. Are able to influence these people and their decision and educate them.

[00:26:57] And so when we talk about MLA's and mps, there are very few that Haunter fa, or that shoot, right? Mm-hmm. . And so they don't know what this is all about. And when they get a briefing note from their. Cabinet or their caucus. It says, well, here's the party. Here's the party line. We want you to tow it. Right?

[00:27:15] They're not exposed to who uses firearms, how do they use them? What's the licensing scheme? How many times a day are these people checked? They don't have, that's a huge knowledge gap on their end. And so if you spend the time to educate them and build their relationship, they are going to get it. And even if they don't portray to you that they're gonna go take it back to Ottawa and raise a bunch of, you know, what about it?

[00:27:39] Yeah, they're going to do that. Right? So when you're in government, your job is to listen. write stuff down, but you are not supposed to externalize if you are opposed to it. That goes back to caucus. Mm-hmm. . And so, you know, if Travis walks in and 200 Travis friends walk into, um, a member of government of the party in power and say, this is offside.

[00:27:59] You might not feel like you got very far, but when they go back to their next caucus meeting, they're gonna go, why do I have all these firearms owners and hunters in my constituency office raising? Hack over what's going on and why are they giving me a different line than what you are feeding me? Right.

[00:28:14] Right, right. So they're gonna start to ask questions. And the same goes to the opposition, right. I'll hear all the time. Oh, well my, me, my MLA's a member of the opposition. So it doesn't matter. Well, it matters for a whole bunch of reasons. One is that the opposition can make the government's life really hard.

[00:28:30] Mm-hmm. . Right? And they can talk to the media and they can basically slam the government for what they're doing. The other piece that we all have to consider is, it seems like in Canada and BC is that we don't vote governments in. We vote governments out. Right. So, so one of the, one of the biggest learning moments that I had with, with a minister was minister said, you know, the reason why I always met with you is because you took the time to meet with me when I was a backbencher before I was minister.

[00:29:00] He said, look, as a minister, I don't remember any of the meetings that I had. My schedule is completely jammed, , you know, you're running from point A to point B. But the reason why I always made sure that you got a meeting with me and that I listened to you is because you spent the time at the front end when I was in opposition MLA for starters.

[00:29:19] And that's why you got access. So these are like long-term relationships that you establish. You become trusted by your MLA or your MP and, and be like a legitimate person and tell them how important it's the other. The other, the last piece that I'll just mention too is people always go, well, you're gonna go into this meeting and I don't want to sound like I don't know what I'm talking about.

[00:29:39] All these people need to get across is that you are unhappy. Mm-hmm. , here are the reasons why. And here how, here's how important it is to you. Cuz when we come back to this, like what you said, Politicians like two things. Money and votes, right? And if they're worried that the votes are not going to come, you're going to change their mind, you're gonna change that party's mind and they will move in a different direction.

[00:30:00] And I think that's part of, you know, there is a, a lot of inertia behind the opposition to see 21 where the public is starting to bite. Um, and that's where the BCWF I think has been really well positioned cuz we've been able to talk to like CBC, radio, cbc, some of the media outlets that probably, uh, seem more left-leaning are giving us a lot of airtime and talking about this.

[00:30:23] Not in the sense that gun owners are bad people, they're actually getting through to the facts and starting to call the, the government of Canada out on it. And so, you know, I guess what I'm saying is all of this works. You might not feel great after your meeting with your m p or your MLA , but you're having an effect.

[00:30:38] That's their job, their job. To not show emotion, to not say, I'm gonna take this back. They gotta tow the party line. Right. It's like being on a team. Mm. You might be a fourth line hockey player and you might not get much ice time, but you're not gonna go complain to the coach. Right. 

[00:30:52] Travis Bader: I, I really like that cuz so often people lose fact of the lose sight of the fact that they're just people like you or I.

[00:31:00] Yeah. They have the same motivations. They got the same things that hurt their feelings, that make them uncomfortable or upset. Treat them with respect. You know, there's a saying, they say, oh, it's not, not personal, Jess, this is just business. Mm-hmm. , and I've always taken the approach, my business is built on relationships.

[00:31:18] Those relationships take time to establish or built on trust, which are, and trust can be easily broken. All business is personal. Building those personal connections and relationships is what helps grow a business from nothing to something and it's what is going to help. If you treat any one of these issues as a business problem, is this, I think gonna help see resolution favorably if you can have that relationship.

[00:31:46] Mm-hmm. , because it's really hard to have a really good relationship with z, with Jesse, but then go do something which you know is completely offsite. Yeah. 

[00:31:54] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Yeah. You, um, yeah. The, and you'll find it interesting in C 21, like when you, you know, people don't, you know, nerd out in the policy world and watch what's going on in Ottawa, but you will find that two of the mps, um, who are in the NDP caucus have been raising like major grief in Ottawa about Bill C 21.

[00:32:16] And those are both mps where our clubs, uh, have, you know, established relationships with them to help educate them, like, come out to our, we're gonna have a range day come out to our range. Let's show you how this works and what the process is. And so those people are up to speed and now they're asking questions, right?

[00:32:34] So, . Um, yeah, I, I, I know I, I get the helplessness or hopelessness feeling. Um, but it's, you gotta be resilient to that. And, and if you build those relationships at a time, uh, over time, like the, the part that I don't understand as well is everybody thinks conservation is like, oh, this party's the only party that practice conservation.

[00:32:53] It's a non-partisan issue. Right? Right. Like, everybody cares about sustainability. So the more that we can advocate and show elected officials that this is our number one issue, you know, I'm a hunter and angler, and my number one issue as a British Columbian is X, Y, and Z. Mm-hmm. , they're gonna get the message.

[00:33:12] I mean, they understand when people are bent outta shape or when people are passionate about it, and they'll do everything they can to support it. 

[00:33:19] Travis Bader: So, you know, mobilizing people, providing people with. the tools so that they can go out there and speak and have some confidence, like, well, you say it. Yeah. I, I've heard that as a common, uh, barrier.

[00:33:30] People said, I haven't had time to read the whole bill. I don't know all the ins and outs. Hey, you are an expert. Yeah. Right. Can you go speak for me? Yeah. And that idea of expert, well, who's an expert like I've been, uh, I, I've been a subject matter expert in every level, of course. And federal, provincial, municipal.

[00:33:49] I've qualified as an expert in certain issues. And I will still look at myself and look around and say, wow, look at that person over there. They're an expert. You know, I had a friend who, um, was out climbing with another friend who's a well accomplished client, where he is a ecmg guide, and, and he says, uh, he was b playing at the bottom.

[00:34:06] Girl comes up, says, oh, you're a climber, are you? He like, oh, no, no, I'm not a climber. He is like, well, you got a harness on. You got shoes on, and, well, I've only been a couple times before. I said, well, then you're a climber. Yeah, right. Yeah. Oh, got it. Yeah. And in the same way, you know, I, I look around and I see a.

[00:34:22] Uh, I, I own a firearms business. I'm, I'm into, I enjoy precision rifle shooting, pistol shooting. I, I shotgun shooting. I hunt and, but I don't see myself as a gun guy. Yeah. And people come by and they look around like, Trav, you're a gun guy. Yeah. Right? Yeah. So, I, I think for people to just kind of realize that if they're in it, even if they just dip their toe a little bit in that pool Yep.

[00:34:46] They're in the pool. 

[00:34:47] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and, and, and the extension of that is they're going to know more than their MLA and mp. Mm-hmm. , I mean, just, just defacto being involved in the world of conservation or sports shooting or hunting and angling, you most likely know more than 99% of the elected officials because they just don't know anything about it.

[00:35:06] Right. Right. They're o. So you do not need to be an expert. And, and as you said, like MLA's and mps, it's a popularity contest. They're everyday people. They're some of 'em that are really intelligent, have tons of policy, but there's a ton that are not Hmm, that literally one day we're like, I'm gonna run for politics.

[00:35:25] I don't know what I'm doing, but I'm gonna give it a try. And so 

[00:35:28] Travis Bader: I've been a teacher for a try. And so the teacher for a little bit and I thought, you know, I might try . 

[00:35:31] Jesse Zeman: Yeah, I know. Totally. Totally. And that's, that's our system, right? Yeah. That's our system. That's how it's built. And so, yeah, as a, as, as someone who's passionate about these things, don't ever think that, that the person, the MLA MP that you're meeting knows more than you cuz they don't like you, are there really You're Bill or bill relationship.

[00:35:47] You're there to educate them first and then advocate, right? Mm-hmm. . So you wanna be seen as a person they can trust who gives them good information that's reliable. Um, but yeah, you are going to know away more than your ML or MP when you meet with them. Yeah, that's a hundred percent the 

[00:36:02] Travis Bader: case. So, There's a, a mutual acquaintance of ours has introduced me to a term called gs.

[00:36:09] I don't know if you've heard that one before. Uh, G o w t. Grumpy Old white dudes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I had never heard that term before, but you were talking about demographics within. The, the hunting community and firearms community. And you touched on that a little bit and Yeah. It, it does traditionally have this grumpy old white dude, uh, male dominated.

[00:36:33] Um, people who are, feel that they're having things stripped away from them. And so they're always on the defensive, which is probably where they come across as grumpy. But our demographics are so quickly changing. Yeah. Which is amazing. Um, you talk about new, uh, people, new hunters getting into, or new people get into firearms.

[00:36:55] Women make up the largest percentage of, uh, new firearms and new hunters across North America. And this is something the Wildlife Federation from, from, uh, my observation as an outsider looking in has been embracing. Yeah. Uh, did. concept, uh, play into your original thesis that you did about, uh, recruitment and retention?

[00:37:19] Jesse Zeman: Yeah, to a lesser extent, at that time, I mean, at that time, a hundred numbers were crashing. So we go from, you know, in the early eighties. 176,000 hunters every year licensed hunters. Yep. And I think by 2004 we were at 84,000. Mm-hmm. , so like the world was literally falling apart at that point, . And it's like, okay, let's, let's try to figure out why this is happening.

[00:37:44] Let's figure out what the constraints are. Um, the demographic shift was not necessarily on the radar at that time. It was just, it was just starting to turn. And I mean, that was part of it is there were some signs in the states that it was starting to shift mm-hmm. and it's like, okay, let's put some more focus on this and talk about it.

[00:38:01] Um, so it's, I would say a lot of it's happened on its own. There were a few changes in a bit of discussion that happened. Um, but yeah, I think it's phenomenal. I mean, hunting and fishing as a family activity is. For, for the future of hunting and fishing is like the best possible outcome you can have. And here we are in the lower main line, which is outside of Toronto, one of the most diverse places in Canada.

[00:38:23] Yeah, for sure. You have people coming here from all over the world and you can take one or two approaches. You can take an approach that says, oh, well these people don't know anything about conservation, and so they shouldn't be hunting and fishing. Or you can go, these people are clearly interested in fishing or hunting.

[00:38:39] Mm. So let's try to educate them and bring them up to our standards or cultural norms around how we treat wildlife and how we interact with it. So those are the two approaches. And I mean, the second approach brings more people in the way you want them to behave. and it also will fan out into these communities.

[00:38:59] So like, you know, in British Columbia, we're, we're a bit of a microcosm cuz we have all these people, you know, like 90 plus percent of the population occurs in like less than 5% of the province, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And so we can take the approach that we shouldn't even go there and, and engage the lower mainland, or we can take the approach that we should try to influence the lower mainland and educate the lower mainland.

[00:39:20] And we know that BC politics is really driven to the lower mainland, right? Mm-hmm. . So we should probably be trying to engage down here and to talk to people and to bring up the issues and to make hunting, fishing, and sports shooting supported by the communities. Mm-hmm. , right? So that when something like Bill C 21 comes up, you know, the MLA from Langley and the MP from Langley.

[00:39:43] What are you doing? I've got 3000 constituents at a club who do all these great stewardship projects, who are taking care of salmon, who have a rifle range, and you're taking them all off and you're gonna cost me my seat in the next election unless you change it, right? Mm-hmm. . So that's, so that's kind of like, I think where we want to go is, um, you know, you can, you can ignore the lower mainland or you can get yourself into it and try to start having a conversation about the sustainability of fish and wildlife.

[00:40:08] And I think the second approach is the best approach. You 

[00:40:11] Travis Bader: know, Shane Mahoney was uh, saying, you can jump into the river, you can be right in your approach. He can put your hands up and start walking up that river, but the river's gonna win. Yep. . But if you can find something that's floating down the river and you're able to jump on that and work with the river in order to, to direct it in a way that is gonna be beneficial for everybody and his assessment, and it's, I agree.

[00:40:37] It's something that, uh, um, you know, my wife's a chef and it's, we've talked about this or a very long time. His assessment is food. Is that vehicle Yeah. To be able to reach people who may be adverse or disinterested or have like, just ignorant to, to what hunting and fishing is all about. Food is that common universal vehicle?

[00:40:56] Mm-hmm. , the culture of food, how it's shared, how it's repaired. And, and I think that, uh, C O V I D had probably really highlighted the need for sustainable harvesting and. being able to have some sort of, uh, sufficiency, self sufficiency within us. Yep. 

[00:41:16] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, I can't remember. I think it's Ronella who said it, he calls it venison diplomacy, right?

[00:41:21] Mm-hmm. . And, uh, and, and that is huge. Like at our place, we have people over all the time who are non-hunters, non anglers don't eat well, and that's all we eat, right? Mm-hmm. . And even in terms of how, you know, this comes back to social media too, and we've talked about this, uh, all over the province for the last 15 years, right?

[00:41:39] But. Making hunting relatable to non-hunters and anglers, um, is huge, right? So, uh, someone who doesn't hunt or fish does not understand a picture of a dead animal, right? But someone who hunts doesn't hunt and fish understands. Here's the story of my hunt, right? Mm. So one of the pictures is the animal you harvested.

[00:42:00] The other nine pictures of here's what we did before, here's the misadventure that we had, here's the time I fell in the creek, and then here's the meal at the end. And then, and then, then it becomes relatable. Hunting becomes relatable. And same with social media, um, like on Twitter. Um, There's a bunch of people now who, who I don't think would've talked about the fact that they were hunters five or 10 years ago.

[00:42:23] But now that you know, food, uh, people, I think the hunting community's realizing that food is a big connector. Mm-hmm. , you know, everybody's putting up pictures of their meal, right? It's like, right here's what I ate. Here's the new thing that I made this week. And the non-hunters like, whoa, that's cool. I'd love to do that.

[00:42:41] I'd love to try sushi from a salmon that I caught myself, or I'd love to try whatever it is. Um, you know, tongue tacos or whatever, whatever it is. Right? Liver balls. Yeah. Doesn't matter. So yeah, you can make, um, you can make hunting relatable to non-hunters. Um, through, yeah, through, I mean, people appreciate what we do if it's put across properly.

[00:43:05] Travis Bader: So I've seen a marked shift in, since you become executive director of the Federation with how the, uh, Federation communicates and you're out there, you'll get up and you'll do your, we talked about this ahead of time. I have this, I was asked to do a bit of a talking head thing where I say something and it comes out, man, I must have recorded that thing about 20 different times, , and like, oh, my eyes went too wide.

[00:43:27] I was doing something silly on this thing. And he said, you know what? You just, you gotta get over it. One and done. Get it out there. Yeah. But what I've noticed in the shift is the way that, uh, you guys communicate through social media. Um, do you have a background in that? Is that something that, uh, you're getting coaching on or help 

[00:43:45] Jesse Zeman: with or?

[00:43:45] No, I hate, yeah. I know like our, our social media, like our marketing communications team, we've got an awesome team who are doing just like, absolutely phenomenal work. But in terms of those videos, we get a ton of like, awesome feedback. I hate doing them like with a passion. Mm-hmm. in front of a camera is not my thing at all.

[00:44:03] And even on media interviews, like having a camera a foot away from my face, It's not my thing. I can talk to 300 people in a room, no problem. Yeah. The camera thing is not my jam, but I just, you know, there's, it, it, it's, it goes to extremes for me. I either sit, I either record it and do it off the cuff and chip it off to, to the team and they put it out.

[00:44:22] Yeah. Or I spend like half a day trying to make it perfect, and I do not have half a day to record a one minute video. No. Right. So for me it's just like, hit, hit the record button. Spit out what we've been up to for the last two weeks, get it out on the airwaves and done and on the other. The other thing on the communication thing is, you may have noticed too, is like again, we're focusing on our membership, on our directors, the things that they do, the things that we do, and even in terms of our social media, like we are definitely.

[00:44:52] getting the message across that hunting is becoming more diverse. So like Jenny's on our board, Charlotte's on our board talking about female participation. Mm-hmm. talking about other viewpoints and we take flack for sure. It's, it's really interesting, like Instagram and Facebook for us are like polar opposites.

[00:45:09] Oh yeah. Instagram tends to be very positive space where people like to see these changing demographics, like to see diversity in hunting and angling, whereas Facebook not so accepting and warm . Um, but we gotta move on with it. Right. Well, they're different 

[00:45:23] Travis Bader: age demographics too, that use the different 

[00:45:25] Jesse Zeman: platforms.

[00:45:26] It's, it's a hundred. That's a huge, that's a huge part of it. But again, like you gotta kind of stick to your principles and what you're trying to achieve. Mm-hmm. And we are trying to include more people in outdoor recreation, conservation, hunting, and angling. And so we gotta show that. How do you do that?

[00:45:43] Well, it, it, it's, it's in large part like talking, you know, interviewing people like Jenny and interviewing people like Charla. Um, we've got, yeah. It, it's really showing people, you know, if people like women who want to get into it, or people who are visible minorities want to get into hunting or wrangling.

[00:46:00] Sure. If they just see a picture of an old white guy on social media every single time, it's unrelatable to them. Right. So how do you show themselves, you know, how do you show them that they fit into this community? That's the challenge is like, is like, Even when you look at some of the research in the states, it shows that up to 70% of kids want to try hunting and fishing.

[00:46:22] It's that they don't have access to it, right? So if you can show people that people like them are into these activities and they can talk about why they're into the activities, it suddenly becomes relatable. And you might push that person from just being hunting curious to being a hunter or from being vehemently opposed to hunting to going, Hey, you know what, Jenny Hunts and here's why she hunts, and I get that so I can get behind hunting now.

[00:46:46] Whereas before I saw and learned about her, I couldn't. Right. 

[00:46:50] Travis Bader: Well, that barrier to entry into hunting could be, could be pretty huge. Um, there's a cost outlay. There's the knowledge acquisition, which is just a, it's a lifelong lifetime endeavor. Um, Are there things that the Federation is looking at or has been doing that can assist people in building that community and bridging the gap between no knowledge, no, uh, no ability to, no kit, no gear to.

[00:47:22] Being able to get out there and do something with someone else. Yeah, 

[00:47:25] Jesse Zeman: yeah, absolutely. Or on their own. Yeah, absolutely. So two of the programs that we currently have, uh, becoming Outdoors Women and Women Outdoors, that becoming an outdoors woman is like, uh, an all inclusive, basically three dare and you can learn whatever you want.

[00:47:38] Like fly fishing, chainsaws, backing up a trailer, you know, we're saving, you know, you know, getting rid of lawyers, retirements, I guess, and saving, saving, saving marriages at the same time. Right. . But, but all of those activities are offered and like this thing sells out like instantly. Yeah. Like, it's like a matter of days.

[00:47:57] And so last year post Covid, we were finally able to get two smaller courses up, but we're really turning up the volume on those courses and trying to educate as many people. Like we've got a long-term goal to basically educate 20,000 people a year, um, through our different programs. And so, yeah. So Wow.

[00:48:13] So offering that, offering that kind of like taking people from. In an ideal world, I'm opposed to hunting to, I'm okay with hunting to, Hey, I want to try this, and then supporting them all the way through that journey. Um, I think there's a lot of value in, so the BCWF's motto kind of has always been join, volunteer, donate, and we're gonna be putting educate, like, learn, join, volunteer, donate as part of the thing.

[00:48:40] So the upfront is them, you know, trying to get their, you know, brain engaged in terms of how this 

[00:48:47] Travis Bader: all works. You know, for somebody who comes from an education background, which I've always thought was kind of funny, actually, a friend pointed it out, says, Travis, you sucked at school . How is it that you're, you've got an education background.

[00:49:00] You, you went to five different high schools, a few different elementary schools, like school just wasn't your thing and you're into education. And I thought, , I looked at it a way that I would like to learn mm-hmm. and how I can reach people. And, and it's not that, uh, I can't, it's just a different way and my approach seems to be resonating with other people.

[00:49:19] But that education piece is something that I know I've very strongly advocated for with the Federation. Mm-hmm. for a number of years. I'm very encouraged to hear that. Cause I see that as the vehicle just, maybe it's just cuz of my echo chamber I'm in and my background, but I see that as the vehicle that's going to really propel, uh, the federation as well as, uh, BC and beyond.

[00:49:42] Yeah. Into having more people out there doing things in a way that's gonna be ethical, sustainable and uh, and growing. Mm-hmm. . And in fact, I remember I was recently, it was kind of funny because, uh, there is an article, I don't, I think it might have been The Sun Newspaper. And this guy gets in there and he's, uh, talking about how in the eighties there is a 80% decline in, um, uh, new.

[00:50:09] uh, recruitment. Mm-hmm. and it kind of did coincide right. With an education piece cuz this is in British Columbia. Yeah. And, uh, all of the Hunter education outdoor education was taken outside of the school system Yeah. And put into, uh, sort of private instructors and volunteer instructors throughout the province.

[00:50:26] And recently I was asked if I could find that article and I pulled it up. I'm like, Hey, that guy's Jesse . Cause that was about 10 years ago when I, when I read that one. Yeah. That was you, you were the guy who was uh, in that one. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, did that tie into that paper 

[00:50:42] Jesse Zeman: that you did? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:50:44] That was part of the learning. Yeah. So I mean if, yeah. The reality of all this is, is that it's not that people, like you'll get, you'll get people who are opposed to hunting, fishing, and say, well, these are dying things. They're going out like smoking. And there was even a government official, like a long time ago that said that the reality is, People want to go hunting and fishing and they want to try it, but like you say, there's so many barriers to entry.

[00:51:06] Um, and then so many things that you can screw up, especially not having that mentor, right? Mm-hmm. . So this is, this is part of like the pre eighties approach is father, it was a father and son activity predominantly. So dad taught son. Now we're finding is there's a whole bunch of people that are new to Canada or live in Vancouver we're not exposed to that, did not have a mentor, and now they wanna learn.

[00:51:26] And so it's way harder to pick these activities up mm-hmm. without having someone who knows what they're doing, um, than it is with a mentor. And so even in terms of what we're doing in the lower mainland, we actually just. Um, just got an agreement together for the Seymour River, basically, where we're gonna be bringing a busload of high school students out to the river every day, I think from April, may, and June to take them out to the river to talk about salmon, roll over some rocks, look for some bugs, take them up to the hatchery, give them a T-shirt and send them on their way.

[00:51:59] And I think we're looking at doing it like, I think it's like 1500 students every spring Wow. To get the education right. And so what we're hoping is two things. One is that we're gonna have 15 more, 1500 kids a year that care about salmon and then have a better relationship with our environment. But the other thing that we're looking at too is like, I bet you a whole bunch of those kids wanna learn to fish and maybe they're gonna become BBC, W F members.

[00:52:23] And if we can start them out as B CWF members, when they're in their teens, they're gonna stick with us for a long time. We're gonna raise the kind of anglers who are ethical, who understand regulations, who portray a good public image. So there's a whole bunch of things attached to that. You 

[00:52:38] Travis Bader: know, there is a quote, and I think it was, I don't know who it was attributed to.

[00:52:42] I, the person who said it was attributing it to, um, I think that's the current government in power, but they said, you control the children, you control the future. And although that's kind of got negative connotations to that mm-hmm. , if you're able to provide the children with the, uh, education and information and the ability to learn, right?

[00:53:00] Mm-hmm. on their own. So it's not just, uh, regurgitating rhetoric. Uh, you're gonna have a much better future. Yeah. And, and that's, uh, I've believed very strongly in that education piece, and it's really encouraging to be, to hear that's a direction that, uh, yeah. That the 

[00:53:16] Jesse Zeman: federation's going. Yeah. We're finding and hearing more and more about, you know, in the lower mainline here too.

[00:53:20] Like, there you do have, you do have, you know, There aren't as many salmon as there was 10 or 40 years ago, but you do have a number of rivers that have like hatchery fish, hatchery, coho or whatever. And so we are hearing more and more about all of these kids who wanna try fishing, but their parents don't fish.

[00:53:37] Or, you know, like mom, like, you know, broken family or whatever, where the parents split up and they just don't have the access. So again, it's about supporting these kids, getting 'em outdoors, right? Uh, you know, the alternative to keeping a kid busy as a kid gets in trouble, right? Mm-hmm. . So, so why wouldn't we invest some of our resources in the future instead of living day to day and trying to bring these kids up, um, in a way that we think is gonna be good for fish and wildlife in the long run, but it's also gonna be good for hunting and angling, and it's gonna be good for the B C W 

[00:54:06] Travis Bader: F.

[00:54:07] So, you know, on that same forum where the individual, that quote that I had at the very beginning was singing your praises. Uh, there is a. A common topic that came up a few times, and that was about indigenous hunting. Mm-hmm. , and that's an issue of course, all across North America. , the resources that we have don't belong to any one individual who belongs to all office in general.

[00:54:32] Mm-hmm. . But we have different layers of government and different interests, and sometimes those are butting heads. One of the quotes that came up, and I'll paraphrase as I didn't have it written down was, you know, I'm getting outta my tree stand at last, after last light, and I'm cutting trail, walking back, and I'm watching some hunters driving up in their truck and they're just starting their hunting for the evening.

[00:54:54] Mm-hmm. , or I'm fishing with my single Barbless hook and, um, getting upset about the fact that I'm not really catching anything just to see Annette across the river. Yeah. And, and a whole ton of bcat. The, that's in a very emotionally charged politically Yeah. Uh, treacherous area to navigate through. Yeah.

[00:55:15] But it needs to be navigated and needs to be talked about is how, how do you find that? 

[00:55:21] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Well, it's not easy No. Right. And I mean, we, you looked at your watch no change subjects. No, no, no, no, no. Cause we got, I've got a No. The other meeting. No, it's, it, it is not easy. I mean, in BC the reality is there's like over 200 different nations communities.

[00:55:38] Right? Right. So, and there are a lot of challenges in our world. You know, we do not have the bandwidth or capacity to work with every single community. So really where we are is we're focused on building relationships with nations that wanna work with us. Hmm. And so there is one side of the story where, you know, People just fish when, how they want.

[00:55:58] It doesn't matter the status of the population, if they're in danger or whatever. That's one side of the story. There's the other side of the story where there's nations who are voluntarily giving up their right, um, to hunt and fish who we're working with on stewardship projects to restore salmon. So hopefully one day we can all fish.

[00:56:16] Mm-hmm. . Um, there's nations who are Yeah. Who are like intentionally limiting their rights because they want to see non-first nations hunting and harvesting, um, and fishing. And so that's where we're spending a lot of our time. Um, you know, it's a big, like, there's a lot of nations. There's a lot of nations that are really.

[00:56:34] Proactive. Mm-hmm. , where they have their own licensing system, where they have, um, like an MOU with the conservation officer service, so that if their community members are not following the regulations that they have laid out, then the conservation officer service can charge those individuals. So, so I guess in our world, you know, we don't have the bandwidth to, to work with everyone.

[00:56:54] The ones, everybody who wants to progressively work and improve. The sustainability of fish and wildlife are, is where we're spending our time and we are seeing like a number of nations who are, who are, you know, Essentially writing regulations for their own members. Mm. And who are saying, here is how we fish.

[00:57:11] Here is how we hunt. Here is what sustainability looks like. Like on Vancouver Island, they have their own tags. Like they have a tagging system and it's like, here's your tag. You don't, you don't get two, you don't get three, get ones. So, Hmm. Working, working with the nations who wanna move forward, who are looking to improve the sustainability is where we're spending a lot of our time.

[00:57:31] Travis Bader: So there's an old quote, I don't think it wase, he said it, but it's been attributed to him and others. There's liars, liar, there's lies, Dan lies and statistics, or there's liars, damn liars and statisticians. Mm-hmm. , um, is looking at statistics, is it difficult to reach a con, a consensus throughout British Columbia as to what the concerns are with wildlife management?

[00:57:57] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Consensus is always, Yeah. Right. And people, and people don't want complex answers. They want easy answers. Right. So in the world of wildlife, it can be, we'll just get rid of the walls. Right. Right. In the world of fishing, it's just get rid of the nets. Just get rid of the seals, just get rid of the commercial fishermen.

[00:58:13] Quite often it's just get rid of everything other than me. Right. That's, that's, that's the world we live in. Mm-hmm. . Um, but, uh, yeah, there's, yeah. And that's the world of politics too. Politicians want sound bites and like one zinger, one liners. And quite often in our world, it's not that simple. Sometimes it is, but quite often it isn't.

[00:58:32] So you're right. We're not gonna get consensus with everybody. And again, you know, there's two approaches to this. One is where, you know, and you probably live this too, in your business, there is like 3% of the people who will suck 95% of the energy out of you. Mm. Right? Mm-hmm. , where there is like probably 20 or 30% of people who are like, I'm ready, put me in the game.

[00:58:52] I will play as hard as I possibly can. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, who are you gonna spend your time on? The people who want to suck the life out of you every single minute and are gonna call and complain are the people who are like, I don't like this and here's what I'm gonna do about it. Like the action oriented people is where.

[00:59:08] We try to spend our time where I'm trying to spend more and more of my time because, you know, there's a million people. Like this is the thing too. There's a million people who will complain on an online forum, but they will never step out into the real world where they have a real name and they need to go meet with their mla.

[00:59:24] Mm-hmm. . And, and quite frankly, like, you just can't, you can't get sucked into that vortex cuz it's not productive. Right. We're all looking, in my mind, we're looking for outcomes and complaining to each other online does not change outcomes. 

[00:59:38] Travis Bader: What a breath of fresh air. I like that. Um, I know we're conscious of time here cuz you think No, we're, we're good.

[00:59:45] We're good. Okay. Yeah. So you're, uh, you're master's thesis that you did. Yep. I thought that was kinda interesting. Before we, actually, before we move on to that, is there anything on hunter retention or recruitment, if we wanted to put some sound bites out there, if people were, were looking for, uh, successes that, uh, we're seeing in bc uh, or maybe, um, Major points from the thesis that you put together, what would, what would be your summary of what, uh, uh, Well here it's a two part question then you've looked at it before as a thesis.

[01:00:16] Yeah. What were your thoughts and are there, and is it still whole true now? Now and if now, why not? 

[01:00:21] Jesse Zeman: That's three. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of it back then, I mean, we identified core, the privatization of core as a barrier, right? Mm-hmm. . So you gotta get people A, across that first part of the line. There were a whole bunch of things around hunting regulations, um, and then the mentorship was a big part of it too.

[01:00:38] So just basically access to it, right? Mm-hmm. . So has that changed? Certainly. Like I said, hunting has become a more family oriented activity. Mm-hmm. , I think the people where we're really missing out, um, is probably down here in part. . Um, but also helping these like single moms whose, whose kids Yeah. Not just their son want to get into fishing or hunting and, and moms going like, how do I even do this?

[01:01:05] Right. Right. And, and so that's where we see like, we'll see Moms take the core course. You see this with their, with their kids. Yes. Or we'll see, um, women enroll in the becoming an outdoors women program. So trying to, so, so it has changed in that sense that the demographics have changed and the supports that they need have changed.

[01:01:23] Right. And so in the past, I think the clubs provided a lot of the, a lot of the social stuff, right. Like the monthly meeting, hangout dinners and stuff. But I think the clubs in the future and even now are gonna have to shift more towards. Recognizing that their membership and recruiting and retaining new members is really thinking about this changing demographic and thinking about events and functions to support the, this, this lack and thirst for knowledge, right?

[01:01:52] In the past, like everybody knew like, oh yeah, the hunting regulations back then were this, and this cut block looked like this, and here's how many deer around The people who are getting into it now have no baseline, right? Their baseline is today, it is not 1970. So figuring out a way to kind of fill that gap, that knowledge gap, and also, um, kinda help these new hunters get up to speed and anglers get up to speed, I think is, is what's changed.

[01:02:17] I would say. 

[01:02:18] Travis Bader: Have you heard of the first hunt found? ? No Razzle Dazzle. Rick Brazel. . Okay. As he called himself, Rick Brazel in the estate has said, uh, him and others have been pushing very hard and they've, uh, built something called the First Hunt Foundation as designed specifically to take people out who've never hunted before.

[01:02:37] Awesome. And pair them up with a, a vetted background checked, um, educated, uh, mentor. Yeah. To take a person out and they can get out and hunting once or twice with a hope going off. It's not like you've got a long time and maybe you'll develop a longtime relationship and hunting partner, but mm-hmm. , um, that person's resources are, uh, able to be shared with others.

[01:02:59] So it's not that you're always monopolizing them. Yeah. But he's got this thing going with the First Hunter Foundation. It's growing rapidly. They're doing a amazing job and it's introducing, um, youth and mm-hmm. new hunters. Mm-hmm. into what it's like under, uh, mentorship with somebody who's been doing it.

[01:03:18] successfully for a while. 

[01:03:19] Jesse Zeman: Yep. Yeah. Alberta has a similar program too. I mean, that's something we're just, we're just launching into. But the, the other piece of that too is like, there's the part where you get 'em into hunting, but there's also the social structure. And so that comes up a lot in the research too, is like people, um, you know, like we can, let's just say we have a group of four people who hunt together.

[01:03:38] One guy. or girl might be like, I'm here to get the biggest buck. I'm gonna get up at four 30 in the morning every single day. I'm gonna be back an hour after. Like mm-hmm. One of the other people might be like, well, I'm just here and I hope I get some meat to take home. The other person might be going, I'm just here cuz you, you all are here.

[01:03:55] Right? . And you can get this in like one hunting group. And so part of the challenge in this like sense of community, which Jenny talks about a lot too, is that's missing is, is if one of those people move away or one of them gives up hunting, like the whole group can fizzle. So for these new hunters, having that sense of community and being able to build people around them is really important.

[01:04:16] You see this in the research a lot. Um, you know, people always say, I don't have enough time. And in our world, I'm sure that's true and it's probably never been more true, but, but this sense of community, um, is huge for hunting and fishing. Like we have to build, we have to build some better, um, lines of sight between all these people that enjoy and I mean the clubs, the clubs do provide.

[01:04:39] that to a certain extent, but we need to focus in on it. I mean, that's, that's one of the biggest missing pieces. Sure. It's fine if one person wants to take up hunting, but chances are, um, they're not gonna want to go hunting by themselves. So you have to find people that are compatible, I guess, to go out hunting and I don't know your experience, like we all have different experience.

[01:04:58] I'm totally happy to go hunting by myself for a week. Yeah. Back when grizzly bears were open, like I'd just take off. Yeah. Um, but I know, you know, my wife hunts, she's not, she's not gonna go by herself. It's not her jam, right? Mm-hmm. . And we have friends that are the same way. Like if, if there's a bunch of people going, they're a hundred percent in.

[01:05:15] But if it's like we're headed up north and we're gonna head off in different directions, we're gonna see each other in five days. Mm-hmm. , they're not into that. Right. I hear ya. So you gotta build that, that network. 

[01:05:26] Travis Bader: And I'm So how, how. 

[01:05:28] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Uh, well, and that's so sense of community comes from a whole different, a bunch of different places.

[01:05:33] But like these educational, uh, you know, like women outdoors, becoming outdoors women. So, for example, last year we had two, uh, so I went to an Osceola club meeting, um, right after our bow, two of the ladies that had just signed up for the Osceola Club were also two ladies that had just taken the BOW program.

[01:05:50] They also, that night, volunteered for the son Interior Mule Deer Project. So again, like stringing these pieces together, I'm interested in this. I took the first course, I joined a club. I'm volunteering for a project, and then having club activities that helps support that network and facilitate that relationship, I think is a big part of it.

[01:06:10] Right. Things like pint nights back country countries and anglers do that as well. Mm-hmm. , like, they're really valuable in building the network. So these people need to feel like a sense of belonging to the community, I guess is what we're talking about. 

[01:06:24] Travis Bader: You know, I, I think having a strong north star that everyone's.

[01:06:28] Gravitating towards can bring in a whole bunch of different backgrounds, uh, interests, as long as they're on board knowing this is the North star that we're moving towards. And that's what I see the federation value is, is, um, helping make sure that that star is lit, bright people have an idea where that's going, and then the community can work towards that.

[01:06:48] Otherwise, you just find yourself in, uh, that level of division where you Well, I'm into the angling group. Yeah. But, or even, well, I angle, but only with flies. Well, I, I cast but only spay. Right? Yeah. . And so, but if you have that guiding light that they're working towards, I think that will help the communities become 

[01:07:09] Jesse Zeman: cohesive.

[01:07:09] Yeah. Yeah. You're right. Yeah. It's been, it, it has been very interesting. I always remind one of the, one of the former directors of fisheries that Phish is a four letter word, but it's been interesting. , it's been interesting learning about the fish. Fract factions because I, I was never really that exposed to all the politics there.

[01:07:28] Hmm. But there is a lot of baggage, um, in that world, you know, same as hunting and how people, but yeah, the reality is like, we need fish in the river first before anybody can argue about how, how many barbs the hook has. And you know, how long your leader. , we have to have fish in the river, so we should all be on the same page as that.

[01:07:47] Mm-hmm. . And the other piece under that is the more fish there are in the river, the more opportunity there is for everyone. Right. And so, like, even when we talk about Skeena steelhead, which is a hot issue mm-hmm. , right? Do you all wanna fight over who gets to fish when there's 5,000 fish in the river? Or do you want to go, you know what, if there were 30,000 fish every year, I'd be okay with having people out using gear or the occasional angler, um, eating a steelhead.

[01:08:12] I would probably be okay with that because having 30,000 fish in the river and having more people on the river is way better than having 5,000 fish in the river and nobody out fishing. You 

[01:08:22] Travis Bader: know, who's really passionate about that and who's been doing a lot of work when you bring up the Skeena, uh, Brian Ska and he's out of the Skeena spay, lodged there.

[01:08:31] And man, he's involved at a bunch of different levels. He's, uh, uh, doing a heck of a lot of work. But people would say, well, he's got a vested interest, right? Because he's, he's running this lodge over there. Okay, sure. Yeah. I mean, like he's an angler first and foremost. Yeah. Uh, I think being able to leverage all of those who have vested interests as well.

[01:08:51] So if the federation is able to look, be a hub essentially for businesses, for the clubs, for the new individuals coming through, and not necessarily be the, um, the be all, end all provider of all these things, but be able to connect them to those who do. I, I see that as the, uh, the strongest way from, from my perspective anyways, to leverage those who have, uh, maybe separate interests, but the same North Star guiding them Yep.

[01:09:18] And propel us a heck 

[01:09:20] Jesse Zeman: of a lot further. Yep. Yeah, that makes sense. We are finding that with, um, with a lot of the stewardship work that we're doing, we are, I feel like we're getting into a place where we're able to, um, especially with First Nations, where we're able to manage all of these relationships or build all these relationships that the province or government of Canada really is not capable.

[01:09:39] You know, their approach is let's sit down at a boardroom, uh, you know, in a boardroom and figure out how to cut up this last piece of pie. Whereas our. , our approach is like, let's get out on the land. Let's figure out how to make things better. Let's go out, find some funding and do work on this together.

[01:09:54] And, um, I think that's a, yeah, your, your idea is a good one. And in terms of people with vested interests, I, I think we all have a vested interest. . I do. It doesn't matter if doing a business or whatever. I think the, I think the broader challenge is that everyone, we all need to recognize. that there's people who do these activities different than we are.

[01:10:15] Mm-hmm. . And what we should be really worried about is if those activities are sustainable. That's the first question. Like, I, I really, you know, personally, I'm a, I'm a fly angler 99, you know, when it's, when it's in freshwater, like that's what we do. Yeah. But I don't really care if somebody sits beside me with a worm and a bob.

[01:10:32] It does not bother me at all. What I'm concerned about is that what they're doing is sustainable. That they're out enjoying themselves on the water, that they're teaching their kids good, you know, ethics and that, and that they're, you know, good stewards for this activity. I really don't care what's on the end of their line.

[01:10:48] It doesn't bother me at all. I love that. 

[01:10:51] Travis Bader: Washington. Now, I, I should probably fact check this or I'm sure one of the listeners viewers will take a look and fact, check me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I've had discussions with others about it in the past, and I think, I think I've looked into it. But they've got a program where, uh, people who have been hunting for X number of years can, uh, essentially be a mentor.

[01:11:13] Mm-hmm. , or they might have to undergo some training or do, uh, bit of background checking, but there's an incentive for them if they're gonna be giving up their time, going out hunting and bringing somebody who's brand new to this sport who they don't know. And, and I guess that's another offensive word by some calling it a sport, right?

[01:11:29] Even though our province on, on calls at sport right. On their website and the provincial side. But if they're bringing somebody out into the activity of hunting, uh, the incentive is, is the following year they get, uh, preferential odds. Mm-hmm. on, uh, on drawing tags. Have you heard of that before? And is that something that you think would be, uh, effective or able to be implemented in let's say British 

[01:11:53] Jesse Zeman: Columbia?

[01:11:54] Yeah. Yeah. I think our, yeah. When we talk about this business of 1 0 1 hunting, I know Dylan does a little, it's not hunting. It's, it's limited. I mean, our challenge is around our wildlife act and guiding and illegal guiding and perceptions there. That's the Right, that's the big stumbling block. Right. Um, but in terms of the mentorship, I mean, yeah, it makes sense.

[01:12:13] You, you brought up the limited entry hunting system and how that works. Mm-hmm. , that's in review and I know everybody's got their favorite system and not a lot of people necessarily like this one. So that's, that's work that's going on right now. Hmm. Um. . Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. Like really we're trying to get people who are inexperience out there with people who are experienced and people who have the right kind of experience.

[01:12:33] Right. There's a, there are a whole, I mean, you know, I'm very well aware that there are people who got taught bad habits, who have continued to have those bad habits. Mm-hmm. . And so we gotta make sure that there's quality control, I guess, in that process. Um, but yeah, I'd, I'd, I'd be keen, like Freshwater fishery society also has the Learn to Fish program, right?

[01:12:53] Mm-hmm. . And so you just, you gotta do a bit of, you know, you gotta follow these people through their life history to make sure that they're sticking with it. That's the big, that's the big trick is like, we can introduce people to fishing one day of the year, but how do we, you know, are they staying with it?

[01:13:07] And if they're not staying with it, how, what are the gaps there that we need to fill? Yeah. 

[01:13:11] Travis Bader: I, and I also, I guess I must have, uh, just gapped on the whole Guide Outfitters sort of side of thing, cuz if that could be putting, uh, the way our laws are currently written Yeah. And could be 

[01:13:20] putting. 

[01:13:22] Jesse Zeman: It's the compensation piece.

[01:13:23] That's where it gets tricky, right? Like right, if there's any kind of money involved mm-hmm. , uh, that's where it gets tricky. So, so those are some of the challenges that we have that are not necessarily shared in other jurisdictions, or, or a bit different. But I mean, I think the concept of incentivizing people with a lot of experience to take new people out, I think it's phenomenal, right?

[01:13:44] Mm-hmm. , I think that's, that's the, that's the way we want to do it. For sure. So you did 

[01:13:48] Travis Bader: your master's thesis on something that, uh, Essent, what, what is it? It was on ping of, 

[01:13:55] Jesse Zeman: uh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it's called, um, reds and Hunter's preferences and willingness to pay for Moose Management. So essentially what we're trying to look at is like, what do you wanna see in moose populations?

[01:14:05] How often do you want to go hunting? What kind of governance of wildlife management do you wanna see? How much of your license fees do you want dedicated to the resource? And then the last piece was how much are you willing to pay, essentially? So it's like, you know, how do you wanna see moose hunting?

[01:14:20] How do you wanna see moose managed, governed? And then how much are you willing to pay for that? And, um, . Yeah, that's, that's essentially it. There's a whole bunch more. Um, but that's, you know, 60 pages and 30 seconds. So 

[01:14:33] Travis Bader: what did you find out? What do 

[01:14:34] Jesse Zeman: people wanna Yeah, yeah. We found out, I mean, essentially they wanna see moose restored, right?

[01:14:38] Okay. So in British Columbia, we've gone from, you know, in the eighties, peaked over 13,000 moose a year being harvested. We're now, now we're probably down below 4,000. Wow. Right? So moose have declined. What we've seen is people want more moose on the landscape. They want to be able to hunt more often than harvest, right?

[01:14:57] Because there's a trade off there. If we have, um, let's say a hundred moose available in an area, , we could let you know a hundred people go hunting every single year and harvest each of those hundred moose. Mm-hmm. , or we could let a thousand people go hunting but only, you know, harvest at a like a 10% success rate.

[01:15:17] Right. Right. So we can, we can essentially, we can let people go hunting more often with a lower success rate or less often with a higher success rate. And so that was one of the questions is like, which end of the spectrum, so people wanted to, definitely wanted to go hunting more often. Right. I could see that.

[01:15:32] That's what they said. That's what they said. Right. So you, you know, part of the message there is, uh, contrary to the anti-hunting narrative, it's not about just about killing an animal, right? Right. When people are saying, I want to go hunting more, even though I know that I am not going to harvest a moose or my chance of harvest, moose go down, that means that there's other factors associated with hunting that are also really important.

[01:15:55] Uh, The license fee, proportional license fee, 20% of your hunting license currently goes to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation as a surcharge. Um, people you know, by and large want a hundred percent of their license dedicated, and they're willing to pay more for that as well if it's dedicated. Um, we gave them alternative governance mechanisms.

[01:16:14] So right now, basically things go through cabinet. Essentially there's some delegation, but politicians essentially make the decision around wildlife management. People don't like that. Sure. Yeah. They, they would prefer to see, uh, like in the states, they have a game commission, which is essentially like hunters and anglers who are part of a board that make a recommendation typically to an elected official.

[01:16:34] Mm-hmm. They would way more prefer that, and they're willing to pay way more for that. Or even, we use a, a nuanced piece, um, related to UNDRIP and Drip, which was a multi government, multi-stakeholder commission. So that would be like having the provincial government, first Nations government, and then stakeholders on a commission.

[01:16:52] Mm. And people overall were willing to pay more. There's definitely people that were opposed to it, but, um, yeah. What the research showed is, is people are willing to pay like a current moose license fee for, uh, at Lake. If you get an L e H and then buy your tag, it's 25 bucks. People are willing to spend like literally hundreds of dollars if we were able to change the way we manage moose.

[01:17:13] Wow. 

[01:17:13] Travis Bader: Yeah. Yeah. Was that a bit surprising 

[01:17:16] Jesse Zeman: to you? The, the magnitude was surprising for sure. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Like I think if we, if we dedicated license fees, it went to like 120 something dollars. I'm, I don't have it right at the tip of my finger. Sure. And it's like, I think it was $14 for each a thousand moose additional available.

[01:17:33] So like, so like we're talking, you know, if people got the world their way, like a couple hundred dollars for a moose tag, right. Which is huge. in the world of North America, at least people and especially our, this demographic, kind of like the older demographic, they do not like government and they do not like paying taxes.

[01:17:54] Right? 

[01:17:55] Travis Bader: I, I could get on side with that, right? , right. 

[01:17:58] Jesse Zeman: So those are two things they hate. But in this case, like we we're, we have a compelling case to say there are some people that want to pay more tax if you do this. That's highly unusual. And I know even when you talk to the folks in the states about, um, Pittman Robertson, like their excise tax, you know, again, similar approach to government and tax, but if you went to 'em and said, you know, we're gonna make your firearms 13% cheaper cuz we're gonna get rid of the Pittman Robertson, they're gonna say no.

[01:18:25] Yeah. Because there is close to a billion dollars that goes into Fish Wildlife every single year as a result. So that was one of the really cool breakthroughs is that there, there is a place and a space for people paying more tax. Mm. But they want their money to be dedicated to the resource. They want the resource to be increased.

[01:18:44] And that's a really compelling story. Cause politicians never hear that. Nobody ever walks into a minister's office and says, we're our industry's willing to pay more tax. Mm-hmm. , nobody does that 

[01:18:53] Travis Bader: ever, but we wanna know how it's being spent. Yep. And I, I, I think most people don't really mind the taxes if they can see a, uh, a proper allocation of those funds in a way that's, That makes business sense, right?

[01:19:04] Yeah. Not that it'll just balance itself, right? Yeah. . Yeah. 

[01:19:07] Jesse Zeman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's a really compelling story because minister like governments never hear that. No. Nobody ever like no advocate or lobbyist shows up in Victoria and goes, we're here cuz we want to give you a pitch to spend more money on, you know, essentially taking care of wildlife.

[01:19:25] It doesn't happen. So it was really cool. Yeah, very. That is pretty cool. Very interesting. So it's just a matter of turning that into policy now to actually get the rubber to hit the road. 

[01:19:35] Travis Bader: You know, on the political side, you brought up Grizzly bear. Yep. And I think it was 2017 NDP government and bcs Yep.

[01:19:41] Came in and says, okay, we're gonna get rid of grizzly bear hunting. Yep. Who's enacted sometime in 2018, I think, if I'm not mistaken. Um, and I think the, there was. Some very poorly timed social media, uh, exposure. Some hunters posting pictures of grizzly bears. I, I, I didn't see them all. I heard about some of them.

[01:20:04] I saw some. Um, how much do you feel that that social media aspect played a role in the decision of putting the ban on, on grizzly bear hunting? Yeah, 

[01:20:17] Jesse Zeman: for sure. I mean, you, the, the world of anti-hunting or anti, like the people who are opposed, they're gonna use everything they can. Sure. We've learned that one of the, an, you know, kind of, um, rabid anti hunters, so one of those videos was from Alaska and I actually got offered like a substantial amount of money to find out the name and to cough that name up to the anti hunters.

[01:20:40] Right? So, so they are, Using social media to make hunting look bad, that's what they're gonna do. Hmm. Right. So, again, I think there's a lot of learning. I mean, I have seen things shift, at least on the social media that I monitor and check out where people are starting to tell the story and starting to tell more about hunting rather than just to kill shot.

[01:21:02] So the answer is yes, it plays a huge role cuz it makes headlines, right? Mm-hmm. like, uh, especially in this world where media now is being decentralized and people are doing research on social media as opposed to like legitimate sources. Mm-hmm. , um, it, it, you know, hunters have the ability to undo the social support that hunting has.

[01:21:23] But on the flip side, right, like, let's just say. You know, on your social media account, let's just say for example, the average person has 500 people on their Facebook. You also have the ability to influence all of those people, right? Mm-hmm. . So if we have 110,000 hunting, like we have the ability to impact nearly like the whole province of BC through our social media if we do it properly, right?

[01:21:48] Mm-hmm. , if we tell the whole story and we talk about why we do it and the values that we put into it. So it's a double-edged sword. And I would just say, you know, and you're, before you put a post out, just think about, you know, what is the, how is a non hunter gonna react to this, right? And how do we sell them on hunting?

[01:22:03] We don't need everybody to become hunters. Mm-hmm. . But we need everybody to like hunting, to be okay with hunting to support hunters. 

[01:22:10] Travis Bader: And that's interesting. You said one of the videos that they're offering money for was a fellow in Alaska, you said? Yeah. So it's funny how ideas, funny, maybe not the right term.

[01:22:23] Interesting how ideas can spread and policies can spread and the policy becomes regulation and then becomes legislation. And it just because people look to their left and their right and they'll say, well, that's how my, um, uh, my counterpart over the next province or in the next state is doing things and how important it is for people to, to ensure that they're being vocal and they're talking to theirs and their mps so that that doesn't happen.

[01:22:52] And, you know, I, I look at a, um, gun range over in, uh, in New Brunswick and they won a court ruling. Uh, essentially they took their chief firearms officer to task for. Overstepping their boundaries and placing, uh, renewal conditions on the, on their range, which they had no authority to do so, and it went to court and their CFO said, well, I'm just doing that cuz that's how the, uh, Nova Scotia CFO F does it.

[01:23:23] Well, neither one has the authority to do it, but Nova Scotias never stood up and said anything. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I I can see that changing though. Yeah. Um, it, it just, you know, it it, these things bleed and they will bleed over both positive and negative. Yeah. So if you see something negative happening next door, don't think, Hey, it can't happen to you.

[01:23:45] Sure. You can help reverse this decision for them. Yeah. I know the states are looking to Canada on a lot of different issues and they're trying to say, well, this is kind of where we want to go too, if it's their politic. , they're politically motivated. Yeah. 

[01:23:56] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. I think, uh, like C 21 is a prime example. Cuz I did hear this.

[01:24:00] Well, it's just, it's just quote unquote assault rifles. Right. , why should I care? And it's like, well, yeah. Here are all the reasons why. Um, in terms of the grizzly bear stuff too, when you think about the advocacy on the anti-hunting, I mean, they used, they used what hunters were putting out on social media against them.

[01:24:18] Mm. Right. So that was a big part of it. And the other piece, um, you know, I will give, uh, so Rain Coast was one of the big drivers. Remember that They were, they were successful in that approach, in the sense that they are not really lobbyists. That was a public campaign. Mm-hmm. , that was not a government relations gr campaign.

[01:24:39] That was a public campaign. So what that, what that should tell us is that, Talking to the public, talking to our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family who don't hunt and fish is really important. Mm-hmm. , right? That's the missing piece is great point. You know, you know, if you're a hunter, you know, pardon the words, but you gotta come out of the closet on it.

[01:24:59] Yeah, and you gotta talk about it, and you gotta engage Non hunters, they are way more, and again, this comes back to the online world. Talking to somebody online gives you, no, it does nothing for the activity, right? Trashing somebody or getting in a fight on a hunting forum with somebody else. This does not change the outcome.

[01:25:18] Talking to your neighbors or taking some venison or inviting them over for dinner is huge. Right? That is how you, you start the conversation. That is how you get social support for hunting. I mean, it's the same. It's really interesting. So like, even with gardening, right? If people have a garden, you know, because they're gonna bring you over right?

[01:25:35] Veggies, right? Like you're gonna invite 'em over for dinner. They're gonna be like, what can we bring? Uh, we just got this outta the garden. Nobody's like, Hey, I just got a great head of lettuce from SaveOn. Can I bring it over for dinner next week? ? Totally. Right? Totally. So it's, so it's entirely relatable and all that shows you is that you have, like, as an individual, you have the ability to influence people who don't hunt and fish.

[01:25:55] Mm-hmm. And there are some really easy ways to do it, and part of it is just talking to people about it. 

[01:26:03] Travis Bader: I like that. If I didn't have two more questions, that would be a great way to, uh, to wrap things up. Um, the only, the only other two things that I was looking at, I know Chad day of the Tatan group is put a, uh, a bounty on grizzly bears cuz they're their internal research and data is saying that they need to be managed and not just left a room.

[01:26:23] Do you see, uh, the grizzly. Ban reversing. 

[01:26:28] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. You know what I do? Uh, what I see is there are a number of First Nations across the province, like, you know, part of the narrative around this grizzly bear hunt was First Nations are opposed to grizzly bear hunting and, and some First Nations. are, but I would say in the interior the majority are not.

[01:26:45] Mm-hmm. . And so there is, um, you know, in terms of, like with Chad's approach, Chad is very interested in getting a licensed grizzly bear hunt. There are a number of other nations who also are very interested. So, so as we build relationships with nations and trust with nations, I think the discussion, I mean the discussion's already live, but I think the discussion will, will grow in terms of concerns around the number of grizzly bears and how grizzly bears are acting like from a kind of a behavioral creating problems.

[01:27:16] So, so the answer is, I can see a time where grizzly bear hunting comes back. Um, you know, in terms of the way our world works, it'll, it'll probably be different. Mm. Uh, but yeah, there's definitely a lot of, um, impetus from a number of nations to get grizzly bear hunting back. Um, cuz like Chad will say too, like, you know, they're not harvesting the number of bears that they want to harvest.

[01:27:40] Mm-hmm. . . 

[01:27:43] Travis Bader: Th there's a lot to unpack there. I can read between the lines, but I think that might be for a future 

[01:27:47] Jesse Zeman: podcast as well. Yeah. Yeah. It's, and again, it comes back to this relationship business like we were talking about. Like there are, you know, there are gonna be nations who we can work well with and build relationships and synchronize well with.

[01:27:59] And we are not going to agree on everything. There is no doubt about it, but the things that we agree on, we need to work on together. Right. For sure. 

[01:28:07] Travis Bader: Uh, I guess, see the last one that came up and I have zero. , uh, information on it. And it just came up in Google when I put your name up and it directly to a Facebook page.

[01:28:17] And then I had to search through a bunch of stuff to find it, and I couldn't find it. I gave up. But it essentially, the Google title that came up was about, uh, talking about black bear hunting. Yeah. And, uh, looking like it was gonna go the way a grizzly. Have you heard anything on that or any efforts to try and do 

[01:28:31] Jesse Zeman: that?

[01:28:31] Uh, they're, you know, so the world of anti-hunting will use the things that are easy, right? They're not, they're not gonna, well, they're not gonna go after deer hunting. Like there's, you know, it, it's like this world of firearms, right? The public is not gonna be supportive of people who just shoot. But the public, by and large, is supportive of hunting, right?

[01:28:51] And so there's shades of gray and hunting. There's people who hunt grizzly bears. There's calling wolves, aeri. Mm-hmm. . And on the other side of that spectrum, there is waterfowl hunting and there is deer hunting, and there is grouse hunting. Mm. And so, The people who are opposed to hunting are always gonna pick these ones that result in a negative reaction.

[01:29:14] Hmm. So I would say, you know, black bear hunting is probably part of it. Um, trapping is definitely on that list. A hundred percent. Okay. Like trapping is gonna come to the top. The wolf call comes to the top, huh. Right. So, and there's gonna be a growing narrative that, you know, hunters like are feeding their egos or that they don't eat what they kill.

[01:29:34] Right. And so like cougar hunting's another easy one for anti-hunting. Mm-hmm. . Right. So like, essentially anything that's a per predator, anything that is not not considered normal or where there's a whole bunch of hunters that do it. That's, those are the easy, those are the low hanging. Fruit trapping is the low hanging fruit for anti hunters too.

[01:29:53] Right. That's why they pick it. Mm-hmm. , because this is on the fringe, like these are activities that we know the public is not going to react well to. So those are the ones we're gonna pick Camel 

[01:30:01] Travis Bader: in the 10. Hey. Yeah. Came 10. Yeah, please, sir. It's so cold out. Can I just put my foot in while I guess I could put you, can I put my leg in?

[01:30:08] Yeah. Next thing you know, you're sleeping outside and the camel's inside and 

[01:30:10] Jesse Zeman: that's, yeah. Yeah. And I mean, a successful approach. Yeah. And these groups go after the conservation officer service all the time as well, right? Mm-hmm. , so, so a lot of that again, is just, you know, there's a very, very few of.

[01:30:23] They're not, they don't, they don't get a lot of traction. But don't, don't, don't feed, don't feed them. Right. Don't feed them. Don't feed the anti hunters. Right. And again, like this is where we can engage all of these people that we know inside of our networks who don't hunt and fish. Mm-hmm. . Right. And that's part of this newer position too, that the b o f has, has developed is, is I want our fish and game clubs to be recognized by their communi.

[01:30:48] Buy their city council, buy their mla and buy their MP as stewards of the environment. Like I want everyone to know who lives in Prince George, that the Spruce City wildlife is the place to go. If you have a question about grizzly bear hunting or black bear hunting or restoring fish populations in the Fraser than Jacker River, like those, that's the hub.

[01:31:09] I want our people to be the source of information. Right? Because then it, it minimizes all of this stuff, all of the fringe stuff, right? They, they had suddenly become persona non grata. They are not the place where we go to get information, right? So if we have these clubs and these membership that are trusted, that have a day at the range, that have a cleanup day in the bush that have a conservation project, you, you become the person or the group for conservation and that's who, you know, that's who hunters and anglers are.

[01:31:39] I think we lost that a little bit and we gotta work to get it back. Mm-hmm. . But it's, it's very doable. . 

[01:31:47] Travis Bader: That's amazing. Is there, and I'm looking at a clock conscious of time here. Is there anything else we should be covering before we wrap up? Uh, we covered 

[01:31:56] Jesse Zeman: a lot. Yeah. Yeah. We covered a lot. I, yeah. I don't know.

[01:31:58] I mean, there's, I think, yeah, there's a lot, there's a lot to this world and to this job. I mean, um, I feel like we've covered most of it. There's 

[01:32:07] Travis Bader: gonna be questions that come up. Yep. And if you're a game for another one in the future. Yeah. We'll have to, uh, there is one thing that you mentioned at the end, which is, uh, like I say, if I look with Read Between the Lines, I think there's a lot to unpack on that one.

[01:32:17] Yep. But we'll leave that for a different episode. Sure. Uh, Jesse, thank you so much for being here on the Silvercore podcast. 

[01:32:23] Jesse Zeman: Yeah. Thanks for having me on. Really appreciate it.