A map showing the area where moose hunting is banned.

A map showing the area where moose hunting is banned.

Moose hunting ban

Two letters have been written in response to declining moose populations in the Cariboo region, specifically Anaham Range.

Two letters have been written in response to declining moose populations in the Cariboo region, specifically Anaham Range.

The Tl’etinqox-t’in government office decided to ban moose hunting in the Anaham Range area, except for Tsilhqot’in hunters.

Reasons for the ban in hunting are outlined,including the recent, dramatic drop in moose populations.

“The Tl’etinqox-t’in leadership and community are gravely concerned that moose populations and habitat are being compromised at a rate which jeopardizes the ability of Tsinhqot’in hunters to maintain their traditional hunting practices and to support Tsinhqot’in culture and communities,” the letter explained.

“The Tl’etinqox-t’in assert Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal right to hunt moose within the Anaham Range as well as Aboriginal title over these lands, which includes the exclusive right to use these lands and the right to decide how these lands and resources will be used.”

The Tl’etinqox-t’in letter also highlighted the lack of treaty between the Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal and the Crown in regards to these rights.

“We have occupied and cared for our traditional territories since well before European contact and indeed before the Crown assumed or asserted sovereignty  over what they call British Columbia in 1846,” the letter said.

The Tl’etinqox-t’in added they plan to maintain their Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal rights and respect their responsibity to protect these lands and resources for future generations.

Claiming the province has failed to take appropriate action to protect moose populations in the Anaham Range area, the Tl’etinqox-t’in have taken the action to protect their Aboriginal rights.

In a letter written by The British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) president, Bill Bosch, explained the recent decline in the moose populations in the Anaham Range area is

associated with large-scale salvage logging for pine beetle.

“There has been a significant increase in wolf populations in all of these areas according to First Nations, trappers, outfitters, resident hunters and other outdoor users,” the letter said.

As wolves are predators of moose, this has been another cause for the moose population decline.

The letter from the BCWF also pointed to a lack of effort from the provincial government to deal with the declining moose populations.

“While unfortunate, this decline in moose demonstrates the reality of budget cuts and funding shortfalls for wildlife management in British Columbia,” Bosch writes.

“Basic management functions are on life support and have been for more than a decade. Creating healthy and abundant wildlife populations collaboratively rather than fighting over what remains should be the approach taken by all parties.”

Bosch’s letter urged resident hunters to contact their local MLA, specifically requesting a meeting.

“A face-to-face meeting is best,” Bosch said, “followed by letters and emails.”

“Make sure you request a reply. Remember, your MLA works for you.”

Bosch recommended addressing two issues with your local MLA, the hierarchy for allocation of fish and wildlife harvest  and the budget for moose population recovery.

“The hierarchy for allocation of fish and wildlife harvest is conservation, First nations needs for food (socials and ceremonial purposes), resident hunter and non-resident hunter (guide-outfitter operations),” Bosch said.

“If there is sufficient moose to allow a harvest after conservation and First Nations needs are met, will government ensure resident hunters have the opportunity to hunt in all crown land areas where a harvestable surplus exists?”

Bosch said the Provincial government needs to start recovery in this area, with millions of dollars and on the ground efforts, starting in 2012.

“The expectation is moose experts provide research and that their recommendations are not overridden by politics,” his letter explained.

Bosch said the BCFW will provide updates to the situation and asked those with questions to contact the BCWF committee chair, Wilf Pfleiderer, wilfp@telus.net or vice-chair, Jesse Zemen, jessezeman@shaw.ca.