Chief Joe Alphonse is asking hunters to stay out of the Chilcotin this fall due to conservation concerns over moose populations exacerbated by the wildfires. Angie Mindus photo

Chief Joe Alphonse is asking hunters to stay out of the Chilcotin this fall due to conservation concerns over moose populations exacerbated by the wildfires. Angie Mindus photo

Hunting season being “assessed”by provincial government

Chief Joe Alphonse is asking hunters to forego moose hunting in the Chilcotin this fall

Hunters should know in the coming days what, if any, long term restrictions will be placed on the season in Region 5 this fall by the provincial government.

“Ministry staff are assessing implications for wildlife posed by the impact of the widespread wildfires in the Cariboo Region,” stated a forests ministry spokesperson in a written response to the Tribune’s query on the hunting season this week.

Hunting is scheduled to get underway in portions of Region 5 Sept. 1, with the season going into full swing Sept. 10.

“If there is need of any changes to the 2017 hunting seasons due to safety, wildfire risks or conservation concerns, information will be made available online at www.gov.bc.ca/hunting,” stated the spokesperson.

Due to the devastation from the wildfires and the already fragile moose population in the Chilcotin, Tl’etinqox (Anaham) Chief Joe Alphonse said he is asking his community not to hunt this year at all.

“We are encouraging everyone to bypass the hunting season,” Alphonse said. “We are going to fish more and are even considering buying beef for our community members who support our initiative.”

Alphonse said they have received numerous reports of dead and injured moose, deer and wild horses as a result of the devastating wildfires.

The Plateau and the Riske Creek-Hanceville fires, both located in the Chilcotin, are currently the largest and third largest fires in the province’s history.

“We are encouraging the province to cancel the hunting season this year,” he said. “Between the fires and technology like Google Earth these animals have less and less chance of survival. It’s not a sport when you are hunting moose like this.”

Alphonse said he has had many calls from non-native hunters who want a ban on moose hunting until the population recovers. Alphonse is also asking non-native hunters to stay out of the Chilcotin this fall.

“If we have to follow around every last hunter and shame them into not hunting, then that’s what we will do.”

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