The council for the Village of Burns Lake, is strongly opposed to the province’s decision to go ahead with the cow and calf moose harvest this year in Kootenay and Omineca regions.
Last week, the government confirmed its plans to open up the hunting season for cow moose and calf harvest in the Revelstoke area, and Parsnip area, north of Prince George. In a council meeting held shortly after the decision, councillors showed strong opposition to the government’s decision. Councillor Charlie Rensby, who is himself a hunter, voiced his concerns over the hunt in front of the council. It was then decided that Rensby would gather data and information from the government to find out their reasoning behind this decision and at the same time, would gather support from residents and local groups.
“Last week, I attended a ‘rod & gun club’ meeting to ask for their support and help. They were very happy to see that I’m going after this issue and are behind me the whole way. I have also been asking people, on social media and in person, to send letters of support to us and letters condemning the hunt to the government,” said Rensby.
Once Rensby has all the data and letters of support, council will consider confronting the government through mail, meetings and “if necessary, protests.” He also said that taking out the cow moose was insensitive as that leads to an entire generation eradicated. “If you take out the mama, you take out the calves that will be coming along in the future so with that one bullet, you kill six to seven animals but if you kill one bull moose, it is only one bull moose,” he explained adding that on an average a one to four ratio is a healthy ration for the moose population; so one bull to four cows.
One of the major arguments from the supporters of banning the cow moose hunt is that the moose population is just now starting to recover but they believe it is still a long ways away from fully recovering. Rensby adds to this saying that their basic argument would be, “if moose and wolves are so intertwined that killing moose would save caribou from wolves, why is it that moose numbers have been going down all across the province along with caribou, while wolves continue to climb?” Rensby, like other supporters of his cause, want the province to focus just on predator management instead of opting for alternative prey management.
The government however plans to issue as many as 400 authorizations for the cow moose and calf hunt. Despite the government issuing permits to hunt, hunters are still in opposition to this. “Hunters take only what they need, nothing more. I have hunt moose, my father has done that, my grandfather has done that and generations before have done that. I want to make sure that my grandchildren can do that,” said Rensby, adding that a major part of being a hunter was making sure that those hunting opportunities are there for several years “and the only way we can do that is by having a healthy population of moose. We don’t want to bite the hand that feeds us. We only take what we need and other than that it shouldn’t be messed with.”
Corrina Leween, the Chief for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation who has also been in staunch opposition to the cow moose hunt said, “A lot of our people don’t hunt anymore because we are trying to regulate for future generations, trying to get the population back and then we hear that they are opening harvest season out there. Cheslatta is in strong opposition of that.” She also expressed her disapproval over the process, insisting that the right way to go about this would be through dialogue with the locals living on the lands, with the First Nations elders an duntil then, she would continue fighting for the cause.
Rensby also believes that fighting right now is important because for him, the cow moose hunt is not only wrong, but also scientifically risky and culturally insensitive.
“If we don’t start fighting now, it could possibly happen here for our caribou herd in the future,” he concluded.
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