Moose populations in the Cariboo Chilcotin are declining due to overharvesting.

Northern Shuswap raise alarm about declining moose population

Northern Shuswap raise concerns about over-harvesting of moose in their traditional territory.

For the first time ever the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ – formerly Northern Shuswap) are going public with concerns about over-hunting of moose within their traditional territory.

“Non-Secwepemc First Nations are harvesting cow and calf moose,” said Chief Ann Louie of the Williams Lake Indian Band and NStQ spokesperson. “These actions are unacceptable to NStQ leadership and we do not condone the harvest of cow and calf moose even amongst our own members.”

In addition to declining moose populations that have been identified within parts of the Cariboo, non-Secwepemc te Quelmucw First Nations hunters are disregarding protocol and hunting within NStQ traditional territory without the knowledge and permission of the NStQ governing bodies, Louie added. “Williams Lake Indian Band traditional territory is being heavily impacted because of its proximity to the city of Williams Lake and the high number of First Nations that live within the city.”

Presently the proper protocol for non-Secwepemc First Nations hunters is to contact the appropriate NStQ member community and request permission to hunt within their respective traditional territory.

Once an application is made, the NStQ bands of Williams Lake, Soda Creek, Canim Lake and Canoe/Dog Creek review the application and then issue a permit that designates that person or persons to hunt for a specified species, gender and period of time.

Without a permit those hunters are considered to be hunting illegally within the NStQ traditional territory and legal action can be taken under the BC Hunting Regulations.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in an emailed response said ministry staff continue to review policy options on the question of First Nations hunting in another First Nations’ traditional territory.

First Nations individuals hunting outside their traditional territory are asked to abide by all other Wildlife Act requirements for resident hunters such as LEH requirements, open seasons, bag limits, gear restrictions etc., although would not require a hunting licence.

If any First Nation believes that unlawful hunting is occurring in their territory, the ministry encourages them to report the offence to the Conservation Officer Service, who will investigate and take action as appropriate.

“While the Wildlife Act does not specifically address these situations, we encourage First Nations to resolve any territorial disputes among themselves and to be respectful of each other’s traditions,” the ministry said.

Recent counts have shown a decline of the moose population by 60 per cent in the region.

“WLIB members have had the poorest year ever with moose harvesting. The majority of us that use the resource, including myself, did not get a moose last year,” Louie said.

“Community members take their role as stewards of the resources very seriously, no matter what it is. I think it’s critically important that we play an integral role in the permitting process, not only for us, but for hunters in general.”

If moose numbers are declining, then the number of permits should also be reduced, she suggested.

“It’s an opportune time for First Nations to become involved in a guardianship program where we can become directly involved in monitoring what’s going on on the land.”

Responding the ministry said NStQ is interested in pursuing an agreement with the province aimed at helping conserve moose, other wildlife and fish populations.

Work to date has focused on population studies and examination of hunting regulations in hopes of developing harvest allocations that better serve the needs of the First Nations.

To date no formal agreement has been reached.

 

Just Posted

Williams Lake Film Club begins 2019-2020 season with The Biggest Little Farm

A family-friendly farming flick with rave reviews will be sure to delight lakecity audiences

Homeless situation ‘heartbreaking’: Temple

Temple has been a street nurse for three years and has seen poverty increase in the Cariboo

Fire claims two historic buildings in downtown Williams Lake

Several other businesses damaged by water used to fight the blaze

Update: Firefighters battle blaze in downtown Williams Lake

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Gilbert, Drynock charged with first degree murder of Branton Regner

The accused also face two counts of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

Most Read