While it’s not hunting season yet, a non-Tsilhqot’in moose hunting ban for the Anaham range has been issued by the Tl’etinqox-tin (Anaham) government.
The main reason for the ban is that moose in the region are at an all-time low, the Tl’etinqox say, adding they are not being treated fairly in having their areas protected from overharvesting of timber.
“We don’t want to inconvenience anyone so we’re trying to get the word out as early as we can so that people can make hunting plans to go elsewhere,” Tl’etinqox-t’in chief Joe Alphonse says.
“A lot of people put their resources into going out to enjoy the outdoors, but in this specific situation, the moose can’t sustain that level of hunting pressures. That’s the circumstance we’re in.”
In a press release issued by the Tl’etinqox-t’in band on June 6, the community asserts Tsilhqot’in aboriginal rights to hunt moose within the Anaham Range, as well as aboriginal title over lands, which include the exclusive rights to use the lands and the right to decide how the lands and resources will be used.
In 2009, the province and the Tsilhqot’in Nation signed the Tsilhqot’in Framework Agreement to manage all matters relating to natural resources.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations says both parties are currently examining other areas within the Tsilhqot’in traditional territory where moose populations have declined.
Signage alerting the public of the ban and subsequent road closures will go up in the next couple of weeks, Alphonse says.
Roads north of Tl’etinqox-t’in will be deactivated coming from Quesnel, the band says, as well as road closures during hunting season on the Raven Lake Road, known as 1300 Road, on the 46-kilometre board and closure from the 67 km on the Mackin Creek Road.
As well, the band says harvesting of timber is prohibited until further notice in the areas of the Tl’etinqox guide outfitters, particularly in Lawrence Elkins guiding territory, due to the loss of habitat for moose and other game.
Responding by e-mail the ministry says the province takes the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s concern with moose populations very seriously and is in active discussion with it to find a solution before moose hunting begins.
“Recent survey data shows that moose populations have declined in the Cariboo Chilcotin area,” the ministry confirms. “Limited entry hunting remains the mechanism for determining resident hunter moose harvest in the area, and the province has already reduced resident hunter opportunity in the area by 10 per cent for 2012. This number will be further refined in advance of the 2013 hunting season.”
The ministry wouldn’t say whether the ban imposed by Tl’etinqox would be recognized by the province, as moose hunting season doesn’t take place until fall.
The only exception to the moose hunting ban for non-Tsilhqot’in hunters within the Anaham range will be for hunters to go with Tl’etinqox-t’in members who have guide hunting operations, the band says.
“We have two big game outfitters in our community within our traditional territory that are community members and we feel their guiding areas have more logging roads than any of the other guide fitters out there,” Alphonse says. “As leadership in the community, we are stepping in to ensure they have the ability to make a living and that we as a people continue to have moose resources to rely on.”