Region 5 - Cariboo/Chilcotin

Wilf Pfleiderer - Quesnel Rod & Gun Club

Wilf Pfleiderer has been interested in conservation since his late teens when he helped install duck nest and Canada Goose boxes with the Maple Ridge Rod and Gun Club. Chair of the BC Conservation Foundation and a member of the Quesnel Rod & Gun Club (QR&GC) since 1995, he is still actively pursuing conservation initiatives with elk, Mule deer, and California Bighorn Sheep, to name a few.

“I thinks it’s important to put something into life.”

In 2007, a sealcoat was applied to West Fraser Road to allow for higher traffic between Quesnel and Williams Lake. The increase in usage (especially by logging trucks) led to collisions with 9 California Bighorn (CB) Sheep in a few months. The local sheep herd was rather small, so these mortalities were of great concern to fish and game club members like Wilf at the QR&GC.

In an effort to prevent additional deaths, Pfleiderer devised a plan to install signage to warn drivers of the sheep population and urge them to slow down. Wilf was unable to find an appropriate template that would address the issue so he created his own sign design. After receiving permission from the Ministry of Transportation to erect the signage and funding from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF), the QR&GC partnered with Randy Wright of the Ministry of Environment Fish and Wildlife Science and Allocation Section (Williams Lake) to install the signs at key locations along the corridor. Randy unfortunately passed away from cancer recently, but was instrumental in completing this project. “He was just great to work with”, praised Wilf. The sign project has been hailed as a success. To Wilf’s knowledge, there has not been a CB Sheep killed by traffic on that road since the signage was installed.

In the future, Wilf hopes to create a Mountain Goat ID Pamphlet that aids hunters in the field. Based on a similar pamphlet in Alaska, this document will help ID Mountain Goat gender and lower the accidental shooting of females. Though hunters can learn the differences online or with videos, it can be difficult to tell the difference in the field, especially if you are inexperienced. “Just double checking in the field can make a huge difference.”

We asked Wilf to provide advice to individuals and clubs who wish to initiate their own conservation project(s). Throughout our conversation Wilf spoke highly of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) and their support of fish and game conservation. He recommends that anyone wanting to initiate a similar project, to consider contacting the HCTF, stating that they can be very helpful in providing direction.

“People forget that it’s our fund. We all pay into it”.

The HCTF has seed funding, which can be used to hire professionals to develop plans to help clubs achieve their conservation goals. Another recommendation of Wilf’s was to contact regional or provincial staff, as he has found most of them willing to provide advice or, at the very least, write letters of support. “Most people are just great, whether in your own region or another”. Another key point that Wilf shared with us, was to highlight people and funders that help with projects. For example, when installing the CB Sheep signs the QR&GC included both the club’s and HCTF’s logo. Wilf feels that “it’s important that people see the work that is done and see we are a part of the community as conservationists. It’s great to have an article in the paper but a great sign can have much longer and lasting effects.”

One final, crucial piece of advice for those considering beginning a conservation project:

“The biggest mistake is not to try.”

-Written by Jason Jobin