Members of a First Nation near Quesnel can once again hunt bull moose within their traditional territory.
The ?Esdilagh First Nation (Alexandria) said recent population estimates indicate moose populations are now at a place where limited bull moose harvest for sustenance can occur.
Members had forefited their Aboriginal right to sustenance hunt for bull moose since 2017 following devastating wildfires that destroyed significant portions of moose habitat.
“With the moose population indicating stabilization, we feel comfortable to permit a limited and sustainable bull moose harvest for the purpose of sustenance,” said Nits’ilʔin Yaz (Councillor) Chad Stump in a news release Aug. 11.
“At the community level, we will continue to monitor moose recovery and ensure that we are implementing measures that will continue to benefit the moose population and ensure that their population remains healthy.”
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by ?Esdilagh with the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) in 2018 to assist in the enforcement of any community member who went against the temporary ban.
?Esdilagh will be signing a newly agreed upon MOU within the coming weeks with the COS which will include an internal permitting system for members to exercise their Aboriginal hunting rights.
“We are optimistic that the bull moose population is stabilizing and that there exists the opportunity to have limited and sustainable bull moose harvesting once again for our community,” said Nits’ilʔin (Chief) Roy Stump, noting food security remains a challenge for the community.
“We remain cautious, and will continue to make decisions for the benefit of Mother Earth and for our people, both those here now and the generations to come.”
Parts of Management Units 5-02D, 5-13B, and 5-14 will be included in the permitted area for ʔEsdilagh members to hunt for bull moose until Nov. 30, 2020.