Several First Nations communities in B.C.’s Interior are joining together to ban all limited-entry hunts (LEH) for moose within their respective territories this fall.
The Tŝilhqot’in Nation and Southern Dãkelh Nation Alliance (SDNA) shared a map in a press release Wednesday showing the area included in the ban.
It encompasses from Vanderhoof and Prince George in the north to Valemount in the east, just east of Bella Coola in the west and areas southwest of Williams Lake near Tl’esqox (Riske Creek), Tl’etinqox (Anaham), Tsideldel (Redstone) and Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley).
“We have been left with no alternative but to close our territory to the moose hunt,” said chief Betty Cahoose, Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance.
“Moose are integral to our people — we have relied on our moose for generations. When our moose suffer, our people suffer. We are pleased to work with our neighbours on this vital issue. This isn’t about boundaries. This is about preserving and revitalizing a species that is crucial to all of our communities.”
Tsilhqot’in National Government tribal chairman chief Joe Alphonse said they are conducting a review of their legal options and looking at a possible legal challenge against the provincial decision to continue the LEH hunt.
“In the end, it’s going to be the nation picking up the pieces from the fallout of B.C.’s mismanagement of moose,” Alphonse said. “We welcome all other First Nations to join us in this effort.”
The announcement comes a week after the government announced closures and restrictions to several limited-entry moose hunts in the Chilcotin this fall.
In a news release, the ministry said they were taking the additional steps after a decade-long population decline, wildfire impacts and concerns from First Nations.
The Tŝilhqot’in and Dãkelh said many of their citizens are deciding not to exercise their Aboriginal rights to hunt moose and are going without this main source of food for the winter.
Chief Stuart Alec, Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance, said conditions have been worsening every year.
“At this crucial time, we cannot afford to have the pressure on our moose populations increase. We look to the Province and hunters to respect this closure and to aid in our recovery efforts.”