Aug. 29, 2018
Government announces restrictions to Chilcotin moose hunts this fall
The government announced new closures and restrictions to several limited-entry moose hunts in the Chilcotin this fall.
The closure will begin Oct. 1 to Oct. 14 limited-entry hunt in management units 5-13A, 5-13C and 5-14, and close the moose hunt in portions of management units 5-03, 5-04 and 5-06. In addition, the use of motor vehicles for the purposes of hunting on branch roads or trails in portions of management units 5-12A and 5-12B is prohibited.
In a news release, the ministry said they were taking the additional steps after a decade-long population decline, wildfire impacts and concerns from First Nations.
Over the past 10 years, moose populations have decreased in the area from about 18,000 to 11,500 animals, said the ministry.
There are no restrictions to First Nations hunters, although the government said it is working with First Nations leaders and communities to reduce the harvest of cow moose in the Chilcotin.
“The moose hunting opportunities that remain in place in this area are considered sustainable and strive to balance the interests of Indigenous peoples and licensed hunters,” he ministry stated.
“These restrictions are the result of discussions between the Province and the Tsilhqot’in Nation, and aim to address concerns related to decreasing moose numbers and increased vulnerability of moose to hunting following last year’s wildfires. Changes to the landscape from wildfire can increase sightlines for hunters, potentially resulting in higher success rates and more moose killed. The restrictions will be in place for this year’s moose hunting season and will be re-evaluated after the season is over.”
The government said it was committed to reconciliation and adherence to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“These changes reflect both the short- and long-term goals of government.”
No one from government was immediately available to comment on how many hunters or LEHs this latest decision will impact.
For several years now the Cow Moose Sign Project initiated by Williams Lake resident Dan Simmons has been bringing awareness to the decline of the population and the need to restrict antlerless moose hunting for all.
Sep 06, 2018
B.C. First Nations ban moose hunt after wildfires destroy habitats
Two First Nations governments in the B.C. Interior are joining together to ban all limited-entry hunting for moose in their respective territories, while accusing the province of not taking effective action to protect the animals.
The Tsilhqot'in Nation and Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance say in a joint statement that this year's record-breaking wildfires have made struggling moose populations in the region even more vulnerable.
The fires have drastically reduced high-value habitat for the animals, while creating thousands of access routes for hunters and predators.
Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse, pictured in 2017, has said hunting would only further endanger the moose population. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)
The First Nations say the situation is so dire that many locals are choosing not to exercise their Aboriginal rights to hunt moose and are going without their main source of winter food.
"When our moose suffer, our people suffer," Chief Betty Cahoose wrote in the statement.
They say that while the provincial government continues to issue limited-entry hunting permits, they are asking all hunters to respect the ban they're imposing on their territories.
The provincial government could not immediately be reached for comment.
September 10, 2018
Enough is Enough
During the last few weeks several First Nations have called on the government to ban hunting in their territories under the guise of fires impacting wildlife. The provincial government has responded in the case of the Tsilhqot’in Nation call for a ban by noting that the science indicates no measurable impact on wildlife (moose) due to the 2017 fires. The BC Wildlife Federation (BCWF) applauds the government for sticking to science in its response to the Tsilhqot’in demand.
The BC Wildlife Federation has no issue with legitimate requirements for First Nations right to food, social and ceremonial (FSC) use of wildlife. Resident and non-resident use are set after FSC has been met. A few in the public seem to forget that some non-indigenous people do rely on wild meat for their families. BCWF President Harvey Andrusak stated “we are respectful of First Nations’ FSC requirements that are set by government after conservation levels are satisfied. The BCWF objects when First Nations’ demands for hunting bans are not based on science nor due to conservation concerns. When there are true conservation concerns, then the BCWF calls for no hunting by non-indigenous and indigenous people. This is not what is being put forward by most First Nations.” The government has stated that impacts of fire on wildlife numbers to date have been insignificant.
Using the argument of impacts of fire to call for a ban on resident hunting is disingenuous since a) the call does not include a ban to all hunters and b) the area of fire impact, although very large and clearly disastrous to humans and their dwellings, is in fact a very small portion of any of the identified traditional territories involved.
The continued First Nations call for hunting bans predicated on fires impacting wildlife is an example of First Nations asking the BC government to make wildlife management decisions based on non-science or populism. The BCWF is saying enough is enough, let the wildlife managers do their job and make decisions based on science.
The BCWF works with a number of First Nations including the Tsilhqot’in Nation and other First Nations to improve wildlife populations, especially moose that are a prime source of food for their people. The solution to the current issue of calls for hunting bans is not to eliminate one group of hunters but rather to restore wildlife numbers through collaborative restoration of wildlife habitat.
The BC Wildlife Federation is British Columbia's largest and oldest conservation organization. Our 40,000 members are passionately committed to protecting, enhancing and promoting the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. Our volunteers and donors give generously of their time and finances to support to a wide range of wildlife conservation programs and projects.
Photo submitted to Williams Lake Tribune