With drivers honking and members of the public stopping to ask how they can help, Dan and Vivian Simmons are receiving lots of support in their fight against the cow and calf moose hunt in B.C.
Six years ago Dan created the Cow Moose Sign Project and over the last week he and his wife Vivian have been quietly protesting in Williams Lake along Highway 97 on the boulevard across from the Tourism Discovery Centre from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.
Holding up the 2020 Hunting Synopsis, Dan said on top of the 400 LEH allocated tags for cow moose hunting this fall, there is also an open season for calf moose only from Oct. 1 to Oct. 25 in the Omineca regions 7:16 and 7:23.
“It’s totally insane and we’re going to try and stop it,” Simmons said, adding 27 First Nations have signed on opposing the hunt of cow and calf moose as a way to protect caribou herds. “We’ve been reaching out to try and get as much support as we can.”
Dan said he been trying to connect with both Premier John Horgan and Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson, hoping to get the cow moose hunt shut down.
“I feel they are ignoring us and I know they’ve got thousands of letters and e-mails about this and a petition has gone with 1,000s of names on it. I think they personally have to address this.”
Recovery of mountain caribou is a top priority for the government and it is a “worthwhile trade-off to remove a few moose, a species that’s population is secure throughout the northern hemisphere, if it assists in saving another species — like caribou — from extinction,” said Tyler Hooper, spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development in an e-mailed response.
“Frankly, more moose means more predators, like wolves, and more wolves mean less caribou,” Hooper noted. “Licensed hunting of cow and calf moose is concentrated within mountain caribou recovery areas and the slight increase in authorizations for cows and calves will be easily accommodated by the numbers of moose in these areas.”
Hooper added it is also important to note that 88 per cent of the areas occupied by moose in this province have a prohibition on licensed cow and calves moose hunting and the changes to moose hunting regulations are based on science and sound wildlife management.
“These thoughtful management options are meant to halt the long decline of caribou populations and put them on the path to recovery.”
Vivian, however, said she hopes the government will ‘do the right thing.’
“We are going to lose a lot of wildlife if they don’t smarten up,” she said.
The couple plan to continue their protest along Highway 97 until Sept. 25, 2020 and said they are very thankful for all the support they have received.
“We are going to follow this through and keep going,” Vivian said.