The latest announcement by the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw council brings together a total of 27 First Nation communities that oppose the provincial government’s proposed cull of moose cows and their calves.
In theory, the moose cull is designed to reduce a major food source for wolves and starve them out— and this will somehow save endangered caribou populations.
However, as everyone knows (and the hunting community in particular) wolves are highly adaptive predators that will seek out alternative sources of food, including caribou.
Enter former guide and hunter Dan Simmons and his wife Vivian who are behind the Cow Moose Sign Project. For the past six years, Dan and Vivian have been organizing a billboard campaign to draw attention to diminishing moose populations around the province.
While it is true that previous governments also issued limited entry hunt (LEH) moose tags for cows and their calves, this was at a time when moose were far more abundant.
Over the years however, the situation has changed dramatically and moose are no longer a common sight as they once were.
The difference here is that NDP Forest Minister Doug Donaldson is signaling that his government wants to get out of predator management (i.e. wolves primarily) in order to please party supporters located in the Lower Mainland.
In other words, Donaldson is asking the hunting community to do the dirty work of killing off baby moose and their mothers in a far-fetched effort to save caribou and at the same time, win over party supporters in preparation for the next election.
But the hunting community is not buying it either. Most hunters will tell you that opportunities to hunt moose are no longer what they used to be. In fact, some are publicly burning their LEH tags in protest.
First Nations were not consulted. The hunting community was not consulted, and opposition is growing fast before the season begins in October.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.