Proposed changes to moose hunting not welcome

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A wave of opposition to a provincial government proposal to reduce the number of moose that can be harvested in northeastern British Columbia is growing. “Honestly, there hasn’t been a bigger issue that has crossed my desk.

A wave of opposition to a provincial government proposal to reduce the number of moose that can be harvested in northeastern British Columbia is growing.

“Honestly, there hasn’t been a bigger issue that has crossed my desk. It’s even bigger than Covid,” says Dan Davies, MPP for North Peace. in this office. The emails. I think we have over a thousand emails alone,” and it’s coming from across the province, Davies says.

“There are about 29,000 moose tags that are sold here in the Northeast (designated as Area 7B) only about 5,000 are local,” Davies points out. “I’ve had people call me personally from North Vancouver. It is their journey that he takes his two children each fall.

Although they’re not always successful, Davies says when they support their families and don’t have to buy meat.

“This (government decision) has an impact on families. Families live off the land, teach their children to live off the land, and are stewards of the environment.

The government’s proposal will see moose harvesting for local resident hunters reduced by up to 50% in the Peace-Liard River area, and caribou hunting will be closed across the region to all licensed hunters. .

According to the provincial government, the proposed changes will help Treaty 8 First Nations pursue their way of life and respond to a BC Supreme Court ruling last year on the cumulative impacts of treaty rights development. treated in the region.

The hunting modifications should be an interim measure and part of a larger set of measures specific to improving wildlife stewardship, maintaining treaty rights, conserving habitat and in the future of resource management.

Nearly 6,000 residents and their families benefit from the hunt and more than $18 million is generated in the region’s economy, according to a statement released by the BC Wildlife Federation. He argues that the allowable moose harvest could be reduced to less than 650 animals, from a population that can support a sustainable annual harvest of 4,801 to 7,455 animals.

“Ordinary British Columbians who hunt for food are being abandoned in favor of resource extraction,” says CEO Jesse Zeman.

Any reduction, regardless of percentage, will have a direct impact on businesses that rely on hunting in their bottom line.

Fort St. John’s backcountry is one such venture.

“If it’s really a science-based decision and the science is solid, we’re very supportive of that kind of thing,” says co-owner Darren Thiel. “At the end of the day, we want the herds to be healthy, we want the animals to be healthy, we want the resource to be there.”

Thiel goes on to say that when they start to move away from science-based decision-making and let politics take the lead, it becomes very hard to justify.

One of Thiel’s partners in the venture, Tell Szoo, hears the same concerns firsthand.

Szoo is not only co-owner but works behind the counter.

“People are certainly concerned about the lack of consultation. They feel like they’re being thrown at them,” says Szoo, an avid hunter, who has also been on several public advisory committee meetings. “Something that also needs to be clarified is something that is not requested by First Nations. It is purely governmental. No user group has asked for this.

Davies agrees.

“Let’s be honest, it’s not about science,” reiterates the MPP for the region. “I was just calling the FLNRO (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) who said it’s not a matter of science. It’s a social science decision, and we know that. The reconciliation piece is part of that.

Davies adds that no one disputes the need to reconcile with First Nations, but he strongly believes there has to be a balance.

“It’s going to be a huge rift on every level,” Davies surmises. “What we (the opposition Liberals) have asked for, what the wildlife federation, the rod and gun clubs, what everyone has asked for is to take a break. Consult appropriately with affected stakeholders and strike a balance.

“The caribou issue has been a complete disaster from the start. Thousands of acres of backcountry have been closed to our snowmobilers,” says Davies. “People are finished. People are fed up. This is absolutely the wrong decision to make at this time.

A virtual roundtable with BC Liberal MPs to discuss proposed changes to hunting regulations will take place on March 30.

– with file by Rob Gibson


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