Hunting – Big Game


Vancouver Island, part of Region 1, offers hunting opportunities for rifle, black powder firearm, shotgun and bow & arrow (archery).  Indigenous big game species available include Blacktail deer, Roosevelt elk, Black bear, cougar and wolf.  The most commonly hunted upland game birds include the Blue grouse and Willow (Ruffed) grouse.  Several species of geese and ducks also have open seasons.  Check the Hunting & Trapping Regulations Synopsis issued annually by the Provincial Fish, Wildlife & Habitat Management Branch for season dates and bag limits.  Roosevelt elk are only available through limited entry application.  Check the Limited Entry Hunting Regulations Synopsis for details.

Access to much of south eastern Vancouver Island is restricted or prohibited because of private land ownership.  Much of the lands within the old Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) land grant are privately owned by logging companies.  This area runs from Victoria to Courtenay and extends essentially from tidewater to the central Island.  There are also other private holdings outside this area which may restrict your access.  Access to these private lands is entirely at the discretion of the land owner.


The VFGPA offers an annual hunting competition with trophies available for deer and bear.  Blacktail deer taken in Management Units (MU) 1-1 through 1-13 by club members are eligible for the five trophies.  There is also a trophy for the largest bear taken by a member within the same geographical boundaries.  Boone and Crockett Club scoring system is used to determine largest bear and deer antlers.

Deer must be field dressed which means that the heart, liver and kidneys (edible portions) are the only internal organs which can be included when the animal is weighed.  Deer must be weighed on VFGPA scales by the caretaker or his designate.  The official weigher reserves the right to refuse weighing any deer which arrives in an unpreventable condition.  Lungs must be removed and the body cavity wiped dry with a rag or paper towels.  This should be done in the field at the same time the animal is gutted and cleaned.

4x4 blacktail[2]

The following six trophies are available; with 2014 winners noted:


McIlwaine Van & Storage (est. 1955) largest deer/rifle Darcy Rhodes  150 lb
Victoria Fish & Game Antler (est. 1966) largest antlers Jiri Rol      101 5/8 pts.
Bob Hollingworth Memorial (est. 1983) largest buck deer/junior Colton Walmsley  132 lb
Robinson’s Sporting Goods (est. 1970) largest deer/bow & arrow ‘no entry’
Malahat Marauders (est. 1990) largest deer/muzzle loader ‘no entry’
Victoria Fish & Game Bear (est. 1998) largest bear ‘no entry’


Gold, silver and bronze buttons are awarded in both rifle and archery categories for deer in the following weight brackets:


Gold 180 lb + 160 lb +
Silver 160 – 179.5 lb 140 – 159.5 lb
Bronze 140 – 159.5 lb 120 – 139.5 lb

Cowichan deer fall 2009 018[4]


Interest in deer competitions and ‘trophy’ hunting was evident early on Vancouver Island.  The Sylvester U Drive Challenge Cup for the heaviest deer shot on Vancouver Island was started by the Hertz Rent-A-Car company in 1934.  Eight Blacktail deer over 200 pounds field dressed were recorded on the trophy during the years of competition which ended in 1973.  The trophy was retired and presented to the Victoria Fish & Game Protective Association in the early 1980’s.

In early 1972 work began on compiling a record of outstanding deer antlers taken on Vancouver Island.  The first listing of scores with a minimum of 100 Boone & Crockett scoring points was compiled by Byron Mason and Charles Veasey and printed in 1973.
Interest has increased steadily since then for selective hunting.  An eighth edition of these records was published in 2010 and contains 1824 entries.  It is still topped by John Stelmacker’s 1964 buck scoring 140-2/8 points.

The Wildlife Records Club of British Columbia records native big game species in 19 categories.  The Club is dedicated to maintaining B.C.’s big game records and is guided by the principles of conservation, selective hunting, sportsmanship and fair chase.  Their most recent hard cover publication, the sixth edition, was published in 2010.  Copies of this and earlier editions from 1970 (reprint 2011), 1983, 1988, 1995 and 2003 are still available for purchase.
Contact the VFGPA chairperson here for more information, to purchase a record book or to make arrangements to have your big game animal scored.  The Wildlife Records Club of B.C. can be contacted through their website at

cow deer 2011 005[2]