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B.C.’s hunting regulation changes will hurt northern residents

Prince Geoerge-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer Credit: Bernard Thibodeau, House of Commons Photo Services
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer

BY BOB ZIMMER

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP

It is well known that hunting in northern B.C. is a way of life for so many, a way to enjoy the outdoors and provide sustenance for our families. As you’re most likely aware, or heard a little bit about, this stands to be drastically affected in the coming years.

Recently, the provincial government announced new hunting regulations that will change the look of moose and caribou hunting in B.C. giving the rationale of ‘protecting treaty rights’ and ‘wildlife preservation’ for the Blueberry River First Nations. The government has drastically reduced hunting and harvesting opportunities for B.C. resident hunters, as well as removed open season authorizations on moose in region 7b.

However, according to Blueberry River First Nations Chief Judy Desjarlais, they were not involved with the province’s decisions to alter the regulations on moose harvesting. Chief Desjarlais said in an earlier Alaska Highway News article: “That was their own [B.C. government’s] action, it had nothing to do with Blueberry, because we have not reached any agreement with the province, especially with the wildlife impact pertaining to the treaty rights litigation.”

Residents from all over B.C. have voiced concerns that they believe this is a political decision and not one based on treaty rights or science, and that science would argue that such a change is not required.

In a recent BC Wildlife Federation article entitled, “B.C. turns its back on science with changes to wildlife management,” BCWF Executive Director Jesse Zeman states that: “The province has made sweeping changes in these areas with no scientific rationale for doing so. B.C. employs dozens of ecologists and wildlife managers, but completely ignores them.”

These purely political changes stand to unnecessarily decimate hunting-related tourism and businesses throughout the Northeast, many of which have already faced hardship throughout the past two years. It doesn’t stop at hunting-related businesses though, hotels, restaurants and more will see a decline in business with the decrease in tourism brought on by hunting season.

Not only that but this decision will cause considerable hardship for many of our friends and neighbours who rely on the annual moose hunt as a way to feed their families.

Once again, our region and the people of northeastern B.C. will suffer thanks to this BC NDP government that continues to ignore not only their own science from the Wildlife Management Units, but also the concerns expressed by those of us who actually live in the area.   

Victoria doesn’t know best, and this recent decision once again proves it.

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