The Tsilhqot’in Nation wants B.C. to reconsider the increase in cow and calf moose tags approved this year, and work with First Nations as partners to implement meaningful stewardship management measures. (supplied by Pixabay)

Interior First Nations asks B.C. to partner on moose, caribou stewardship

Tsilhqot’in Nation criticizes antlerless moose hunt

The interim vice-chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) says they have reached out to the B.C. government to partner with them to promote ‘reasonable’ stewardship of moose and caribou populations.

Although there are no allocations for cow moose in their territory west of Williams Lake, the TNG vehemently opposes this year’s antlerless moose hunt in B.C.

Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Chief Jimmy Lulua said for years now they have refrained from exercising their Aboriginal rights and traditional way of life to preserve the species.

“It’s frustrating that the government can come in and decide to undo all the years of sacrifice with poor management decisions,” Lulua said in a news release.

“My fellow Tsilhqot’in Chiefs and I have made the decision to refrain from hunting cow and calf moose with the expectation that B.C. would also do the same to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.”

Read More: VIDEO: Cariboo-Chilcotin rally aims to stop antlerless moose hunt

Data provided by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development shows licensed hunting of cow and calf moose have been concentrated within mountain caribou recovery areas over the past number of years.

This year the B.C. government authorized 400 cow/calf Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) tags —an increase of 57 animals. All but 78 of them fall outside the caribou recovery areas of Revelstoke and Parsnip north of Prince George.

By removing moose in such areas, predators, mainly wolves, are reduced and thus decrease predation on threatened mountain caribou, a ministry spokesperson said.

Despite the province hailing the antlerless moose hunt in caribou recovery areas as ‘good science,’ ?Esdilagh First Nation Chief Roy Stump believes otherwise.

Read More: ?Esdilagh First Nation to resume bull moose hunting through internal permitting system

“It remains deeply concerning that the province continues to push misconceived measures to recover caribou herds,” Stump said in a news release, arguing there is little evidence to suggest killing moose will correct the over-abundance of wolves and lead caribou recovery.

“This is a desperate attempt for the province to address caribou recovery because it is something that they have failed to do appropriately for years now,” he said.

The largest caribou herd in the Revelstoke area had stabilized after moose were reduced by approximately 80 per cent, said the ministry. However, two small herds continued to decline, and there appears to have been little if any benefit to caribou numbers in the Parsnip Valley.

Not all authorizations result in a kill, and of the 357 authorizations last year just 79 were successful.

This year’s 400 cow/calf authorizations are a far cry from the 2,032 approved in 2011.

“We do not support the antlerless LEH and we invite the province to work with our nation to develop and implement more technically and culturally sound management measures when it comes to caribou recovery,” Stump said.

Read More: Esk’etemc First Nation speaks out on B.C’s increased antlerless moose hunt

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