The B.C. government is further reducing the number of moose hunt permits and developing new industrial restrictions in an effort to halt the decline of moose populations around B.C.
Limited-entry hunting (LEH) permits for moose cows and calves are reduced to 200 for this year, down from 1792 in 2011, forests minister Steve Thomson recently announced.
Since there are no cow/calf LEH harvests in the Burns Lake area, there will be no reductions in the area.
The ministry is also increasing funding by $1.2 million to implement recommendations from wildlife consultant Al Gorley’s report in July, including greater moose habitat protection in future forest and industrial developments.
Gorley reported that declines in moose population mainly correspond with salvage logging of timber affected by mountain pine beetle infestation. He said it’s unlikely that poaching is a major factor, although “doubts exist in areas where large numbers of resident hunters converge on an area for a short period and in areas where recent timber salvage operations have left extensive road networks with few control points.”
Aboriginal communities are not subject to B.C.’s Wildlife Act, and “self-manage their moose harvest to varying degrees,” usually through “community persuasion and influence,” Gorley said.
Moose populations are declining in the Kootenay, Cariboo and Omineca regions, representing about half the area of B.C.
Although moose populations declined by 20 per cent from 2004 to 2011 in the Lakes District, overall, moose populations in the Skeena region are considered stable. The most recent population estimate for the region is 25,000-45,000 moose.
-With files from Tom Fletcher