The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources Operations (FLNRO)’s Wildlife and Habitat branch has sent out surveys to all the hunters who received the limited entry hunt (LEH) authorization in 2020 to find the number of moose harvested.
Last year, the ministry confirmed that they would be going ahead with the moose cow and calf harvest in the Kootenay and Omineca regions, despite the heavy local opposition to the harvest. The previous numbers for cow calf harvest have been 584 in 2011 to 79 in 2019, and the cow calf harvest is now mostly focused in the caribou recovery areas, from 28 in 2011 to 74 in 2019 according to the ministry. However, how the 2020 cow calf moose harvest season ended and how many moose were hunted is not something the ministry has information about yet.
“The Wildlife and Habitat Branch does not yet have these estimates. Each person that received a LEH authorization for moose in 2020 was sent a survey, either email or old fashioned post, in mid-December regarding their hunting activities. Compilation of the data from the survey is anticipated to be available sometime in May, 2021,” said a spokesperson from the ministry.
A total of 400 authorizations were issued across B.C., an increase from last year’s 357. The harvest season began on Oct. 16 and went on approximately until Dec. 10 with little variations on the exact duration for each identified region.
According to the spokesperson, when a person wins an LEH authorization, it is automatically uploaded to their online hunter profile which means all 400 of the authorizations were taken up by the hunters.
In a 2019 government release, predator reduction for caribou recovery was also being considered in conjunction with primary prey management i.e. cow moose harvest. Last year, the forest ministry confirmed that wolf culling would also take place in 2020 in the Kootenay Region and Omineca Region, with 10 wolves to be culled in Revelstoke and 91 in the Parsnip area.
“Wolf reduction is planned to occur across 13 of the 54 identified caribou populations in British Columbia however, there were no new wolf reduction areas added to the broader predator management program this year,” said the ministry spokesperson.
This endeavour would cost $156, 000 in Revelstoke and $173, 000 in the Parsnip area. The ministry had added that such predator management was essential to the survival of the caribou in the short-term. However, the wolf cull didn’t happen as planned.
“There has not been any removal of wolves at this point this winter (as of Jan.11 2021), but wolf reduction is scheduled to commence during the winter of 2021,” said the ministry spokesperson.