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McLeod Lake Indian Band calls for moratorium on cow/calf moose hunt in its territory

McLeod Lake Indian Band Chief Harley Chingee

The McLeod Lake Indian Band is adding its name to a growing list of groups, organizations, and local governments opposed to the province increasing the number of cow/calf moose tags this year.

According to the BC Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) Regulations Synopsis 2020-2021 report, the cow and calf moose tags will be increased to 400 in 2020 (from the 357 assigned in 2019), and a quarter of those tags will be issued in McLeod Lake Indian Band territory, says Chief Harley Chingee.

He adds the moose population in the area cannot support increased hunting.

“Based on MLIB’s traditional knowledge, our members and elders’ observations, and our own wildlife assessments, MLIB has determined that the current moose populations within our territory are depleted and in a very vulnerable state,” he says in a letter to the province. “Our evidence clearly indicates that proactive measures must be immediately taken to ensure moose populations within our territory survive in the future such that our members can continue to rely on them to exercise their constitutionally protected MLIB Rights.”

The McLeod Lake Indian Band is strongly opposed to any hunting of cow and calf moose in its territory.

“We therefore request that the Province of British Columbia immediately, prior to the commencement of the 2020 hunting season, declare a moratorium on the harvesting of cow and calf moose in our territory,” wrote Chingee.

The McLeod Lake Indian Band issued a moratorium banning limited-entry hunting on moose in its territory in 2018 and the ban remains in place.

The province has increased the moose harvest this year in an attempt to help preserve caribou the caribou population.

“There are technical flaws to your justification for the increase in moose tags, as the decrease in moose population will in fact make sensitive caribou populations more vulnerable to wolves,” wrote Chingee. “Accordingly, the proper focus for protecting both moose and caribou populations within MLIB’s territory, and across central to northeastern British Columbia, must be on predator management (for example by way of wolf culls) and other creative approaches; not increases in hunting tags for cow and calf moose.”

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