Uncertainties surrounding moose populations in several central Interior management units have prompted the government to hold off on announcing fall Limited Entry Hunts.
The B.C. Limited Entry Hunting Regulations Synopsis 2018-2019 was published this week, with bull moose hunts in the Canim Lake/100 Mile House area, 150 Mile House to Horsefly, Moffat Lake and Quesnel Lake areas east of Williams Lake, as well as west and north of the Fraser River between Williams Lake and Quesnel all listed as TBD, or to be determined.
“There are additional uncertainties around these specific hunts that we are alerting hunters to as they make their draw selections,” said a spokesperson for the fish and wildlife branch Thursday, noting recent studies indicate bull/cow ratios in Zones 5-01, 5-02B, 5-02C, 5-13A, 5-13B and 5-14 are below provincial minimum targets.
“Tentative LEH authorizations may vary based on the speed of recovery actions that are ultimately employed. Management options are still under review.”
The spokesperson said that review, and ongoing collaboration with First Nations, will help inform final decisions on moose hunting in the North Chilcotin for fall 2018.
Some of the zones in which bull/cow ratios are not meeting minimum targets were also heavily impacted by the 2017 wildfires, such as the Nazko and Riske Creek areas.
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“While wildfire can have beneficial impacts to wildlife, we are assessing whether increased sightability will be a factor in hunter success on a precautionary basis.”
The government said it expects the final determinations on LEH authorization numbers will be made in late May, a few days before the draw is run.
Dan Simmons, who has long lobbied for the banning of antlerless moose hunts, said this latest news, which confirms the dire state of the moose population, is disappointing.
“It shouldn’t have gotten to this point. They have got to get smart with their management and stop the killing of antlerless moose.”