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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace region caribou agreement to help shape frameworks for rest of B.C.: forests minister

Partnership example of people coming to the table with respectful dialogue, Doug Donaldson said

PHOTOS: Sacred Heart Science Fair an educational, fun time

All told over 40 students, working alone and in pairs, crowded the gym with science projects

100 Women Who Care’s next meeting March 4 in lakecity

Donating to local charities and organizations is an important part of lakecity culture

PHOTOS: Youth Discovers the Trades gives students a vision for their future

This event gave 80 Grade 7 students from Columneetza the chance to experience five different trades

Young female Williams Lake hockey players grow Canada’s game through mentorship

Peewee Female Timberwolves mentor Novice house players

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Most Read