Only a small number of illegal moose hunts have been reported in the region in the last few months, said a conservation officer with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. (Lakes District News file photo)

Illegal moose hunt numbers low, government says

There have been very few illegal moose hunts since the hunting season ended on Oct. 30, 2018.

“We’ve seized maybe three or four moose in the Skeena region which includes Dease Lake and Burns Lake. Those are just the ones I’m aware of,” Glen Small, a conservation officer with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy told Lakes District News.

The main form of illegal moose hunting is hunters going out before or after the season has started, or being guided by an unlicensed guide.

Moose hunting in the Burns Lake area has been decreasing for several reasons as well.

“The hunter numbers have fallen over the years due to people not having much success so people have tried different regions. Some guys might come up here for five years in a row and they might get one moose. [Also], part of it is that moose numbers are falling,” Small said.

The conservation officer said issues with loaded firearms inside motor vehicles, or open liquor are a lot more common than illegal moose hunting.

Hunting illegally and other hunting violations can bring stiff consequences, and in January a hunter was fined $10,000 for shooting a moose off-season.

READ MORE: Surrey hunter fined $10,000 after shooting a bull moose and leaving it to die

To curtail illegal moose hunting there needs to be more monitoring of moose and guides should play a bigger role, said Cheslatta Carrier Nation chief Corrina Leween.

“Having guides and outfitters taking on more of a role with sustainable controlled hunts [is important],” she said. “Perhaps the ministry could look at providing more funding for hiring personnel for being out on the land and working in partnership with local First Nations.”

Leween pointed out that moose are among several animals that are illegally hunted and people should be aware of such activity.

“Keep an eye on the land and if we see abuse to report it. Try to teach our children about the cycle of life.”

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