Conservation officer Chris Ford investigates a cow moose poaching complaint on traditional ʔEsdilagh territory at Alexandria last winter that has since resulted in charges. (Photo submitted)

First Nations community supports charges in Cariboo region cow moose poaching case

Conservation Officer Service and ʔEsdilagh First Nation agreement targets illegal hunting

Three Indigenous men are facing charges under the Wildlife Act for allegedly poaching a cow moose on traditional ?Esdilagh territory, between Williams Lake and Quesnel, last winter.

Quesnel conservation officer Chris Ford confirmed the men, whose names have not been released, have just been charged with hunting out of season, unlawful possession of wildlife and failure to remove all edible portions.

The charges relate to an incident that occurred on the West Fraser Road Feb. 9 2019 when witnesses allege to have “caught the men in the act” of harvesting the cow moose on traditional ?Esdilagh territory and confronted them, taking their vehicle description and licence plate number, Ford said. The suspects left the area before officers arrived, however, a full investigation has led to the current charges, he noted.

The investigation is the first case resulting in charges against Indigenous persons for hunting on ?Esdilagh traditional lands and is only possible because the ?Esdilagh First Nation and the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (COS) have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to protect the vulnerable and declining species.

Ford said the relationship between the ?Esdilagh First Nation and the COS is based on a mutual recognition, respect and benefits the moose population in their traditional territory. The men charged in the cow moose case are Indigenous, but not from the ?Esdilagh First Nation.

On June 15, 2018, the two parties signed the agreement which gives the COS the power to charge Indigenous offenders, who otherwise have constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish and trap in a number of circumstances. First Nations are also exempted from the application of the provincial Wildlife Act in certain circumstances.

At the time Chief Roy Stump said his community members were foregoing their own legal right to hunt moose in an effort to save the troubled population and also pressure the government to ban the fall hunt due to population concerns relating to the 2017 wildfires.

Read more:?Esdilagh First Nation bans moose hunt in its traditional territory

Stump said the MOU was needed to protect the moose, whose numbers are dwindling.

The agreement gives the COS the ability to take punitive action under the provincial Wildlife Act. Two other First Nation communities in the Cariboo Chilcotin also have similar agreements with the COS as they try to protect cow moose.

Ford said in this case, the cow moose harvested was about three months pregnant, and the chief and council wanted the COS to proceed with charges.

“This poaching incident is an excellent example of how we can work together to protect wildlife,” Ford said. “This is exactly why we have a MOU, is to protect the cow moose.”

The COS currently also has MOUs with Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek) First Nation. Ford said the COS is working with two other First Nation governments to develop MOUs with the primary purpose of addressing the illegal harvest of cow moose and hunting practices posing a risk to public safety.

Ford noted in the winter months cow moose are particularly vulnerable as they tend to prefer travelling on roads to avoid deep snow and are easily seen and accessed.

He encourages anyone who witnesses the illegal poaching of wildlife to report it to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 for investigation.

Read more: Cariboo First Nation signs landmark moose hunt agreement with Conservation Officer Service


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

– With files from the Quesnel Observer

hunting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Athlete in Focus: Khale Skinner of the 100 Mile House Wranglers

Not every player can come into a new team mid-season and explode… Continue reading

‘Basketball is back’ at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School

‘I was kinda shocked how [many] fans we had’

100 Mile Hospice to host a series of upcoming Butterfly Brush paint nights

‘It gives the community exposure to a variety of amazing local artists’

South Cariboo more prepared for wildfires, says specialist

Work at South Green Lake, Deka Lake and Community Forest

100 Mile House Wranglers to face Chase Heat in first round of KIJHL playoffs

‘The boys have been playing really solid hockey’

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

Most Read