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.