With the Province indicating moose populations are decreasing, hunting season for bull moose in the Bulkley Valley area is down to three days: Oct. 20-22.
That along with banning grizzly bear hunting, new Telkwa Range vehicle limitations, and other new hunting and trapping restrictions are part of the current NDP provincial government’s first update to the regulations under its watch. The rules went into effect July 1 and last until 2020.
The Province is spending a lot of money — $14 million over the next three years — on developing a new wildlife strategy. Having a somewhat accurate count of animals would be needed to make an effective strategy.
This is where the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club (BVRG) wants to help.
The club has since its inception in 1925 been involved in conservation. After all, it is hard to hunt something if it disappears.
The BVRG is starting a project to collect moose hunter harvest information in the Bulkley-Lakes district moose population unit.
“We want to be part of the solution,” said BVRG president Brian Atherton in a media release. “With only crude estimates of hunter harvest, we are embarking on a program asking licensed hunters to voluntarily report any moose harvested in MU 6-4, 6-5, 6-6, 6-8 or 6-9.”
The Bulkley Valley is in areas 6-8 and 6-9. All the areas listed by Atherton have the new three-day moose harvest restriction. Bow hunters have moose season dates of Sept. 1-9, Oct. 1-8 and Nov. 16-20.
Compulsory moose inspection is in effect for areas north of Telegraph Creek along the Alaskan border, but not in the Bulkley Valley or Lakes District despite population concerns.
BVRG’s voluntary program, which it hopes to do in conjunction with cooperation from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, will request harvest data like location, dates and methods, plus an incisor tooth. Information would be turned over to provincial biologists.
Forms will be available at local sporting goods stores. The BVRG is also putting anyone who gives a tooth into a draw, with first prize being two night accommodation at Tukii Lodge donated by Babine Lake Guide Outfitters.
The BVRG is also trying to improve moose habitat by “hinging” willows to promote suckering and creating more food.
Local Stikine MLA and the Minister in charge of the hunting regulations, Doug Donaldson, is happy with the efforts from the BVRG around habitat.
“I’m very happy that they’re pro-actively gathering the data on harvest and also taking action on habitat restoration, which is really the key to sustaining populations,” said Donaldson.
He said he would look into the Province making harvest data collection in this area mandatory, but did not believe people with this file in the Ministry was interested in doing so.
“We do keep track of successful and unsuccessful hunters annually through the hunter harvest survey, so that helps inform management decisions,” said Donaldson.
He said moose populations are going down in most areas and saw great value in forest stewardship work with companies to save habitat. Donaldson added that a public engagement process is on now.
“I get a lot of comments back from guide outfitters and hunters about forest practices that actually work against habitat restoration for moose; for instance defoliating deciduous brush so that conifers could grow better. If you take away that brush then … you’re eliminating a food source for them,” he said.
Visit interior-news.com for links to the full hunting and trapping synopsis in the Skeena region and throughout B.C.