B.C.'s Tŝilhqot’in Nation is asking provincial hunters to forgo any authorizations they may have to hunt moose in its traditional territories.
In an August 25 release from the Tŝilhqot’in National Government offices in Williams Lake, tribal chair and Nits’ilʔin (chief) Joe Alphonse said such hunters "will not be welcomed in our territory".
He said this is because of the provincial government's failure to consult with Indigenous residents of the Chilcotin region before increasing limited enrty hunt (LEH) authorizations that will cause them hardships during a time of decreasing moose populations due to logging and wildfires.
“We have to take every action possible to keep our moose population from declining even further," Alphonse said. "LEH hunters need to stay home. They will not be welcomed in our territory. We haven’t been properly consulted by the Province over these issues.
"A lot of our moose habitat has not recovered from the 2017 wildfires," he continued. "Upwards of 80% of some of these areas have burnt and the large scale impacts of wildfire has not been resolved. Moose do not have the protection like they did before wildfire and extensive logging."
The Tŝilhqot’in Nation bulletin noted that would-be hunters "should consider the impacts of their hunt on the local Indigenous population", especially considering that the LEH authorizations were granted "over the strong objections of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation" and in numbers that were double those issued in 2021.
It also said that the province is aware, through its own data, that moose populations in the region are at their "lowest levels...on the historical record. This data is based off stratified random block surveys that occur ever year to estimate population levels."
Chief Alphonse added, "Our people rely on moose meat to feed their families. Our households are predominantly low income, meaning a nearby food source is not only a constitutionally-protected Aboriginal right, but also an absolute necessity for healthy living. Now is not the time for LEH hunters to come here. We need to protect our food sources to protect our families and communities.”