Moose numbers and permits don’t match

Issues brought forward at a recent Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club meeting must be addressed.

Editor:

Open letter to Dana Atagi, regional manager, Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, Smithers, B.C.

A couple of issues were brought forward at a recent Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club meeting and we would like you to publicly address these matters.

Apparently, certain management units, if not all, in Region 6, had at a minimum the five-year harvest allocation drawn for grizzly bear for the spring 2012 hunt alone.

For example, instead of two limited-entry hunting permits being issued in management unit 6-09, a total of 15 permits wee drawn for the spring hunt.

This was brought to the attention of your Ministry by local hunters and guides prior to the beginning of the hunting season, yet nothing was done.  We would like to know why nothing was done to correct this previously unidentified mistake?

What will happen if there is an overharvest?

What will happen to the hunters that have, in good faith, applied for the fall-hunt draw if there is an apparent overharvest?

What are the consequences to the bureaucrats that made this error and never corrected it despite this knowledge?

As well, in a May 9, 2012, newspaper article, your office stated that there was a significant decline in the moose population in management unit 6-9 in the Morice River are, yet there was an increase initiated by the Ministry from in the annual limited entry hunting permits to 450 in 2012 from 262 in 2011.

Local hunters and guides brought this up as a concern and the permits to be drawn were dropped back to 262.

Unfortunately, the hard copy of the LEH synopsis was out in print and could not b changed, which will have been very misleading to LEH applicants.

We would like to know why your Ministry did not get proactive to correct this misleading information via the media?

The article also states that in 2004 the moose count was officially recorded as being 15,800 moose in the Bulkley Valley/Lakes District area and that makes this years moose count of 12,600 a ‘significant’ decline of 20 per cent.

Our concern is that in 2004 the final moose count was publicly reported by your office at 14,000 moose, as pre the attached minutes of the 2009 Skeena Hunter’s Advisory Committee Meeting.

This would mean there was only a minor 10 per cent decline over the last eight years.

This wouldn’t appear to be as dismal as claimed by the Ministry, considering the hard winters we’ve experienced since 2006.  We’d like to know why the 2004 moose count has arbitrarily been increased to 15,800 from 14,000 after the fact?

We’d like you to publicly answer these serious concerns as soon as possible.

Larry Harwell, President

Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club