Dan Simmons of Williams Lake was recently honoured provincially for his work to conserve cow moose.
At the annual Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. Simmons received the Fair Chase Award 2022 for the strides he has made with his educational Cow Moose Sign Project.
“It was very emotional. It really touched my heart,” Simmons said of the honour. “I didn’t see it coming.”
Simmons noted the Cow Moose Sign Project is still going strong since he founded it in 2014.
“This project just doesn’t end. It’s still moving ahead as much as it was the first year we started it.”
Over the course of those years, eight billboards, 130 4×8 signs and 1,000 smaller signs have been distributed along roadways where moose live. The project, which includes an educational brochure, has raised a quarter of a million dollars to help those efforts.
“Right from Day 1 my goal has been to stop the harvest of cow moose.”
Simmons attributes his success to the positive relationship he has built with Indigenous communities who also have concerns with the declining moose populations, and have supported his efforts.
“It’s about the moose, nothing else.”
Simmons is anxiously awaiting the release of the 2022-2024 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis. Currently, the B.C. government still issues about 400 Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) tags for cow moose around the province. Simmons wants that to stop, particularly in Prince George/Omenica Region 7.
“I keep pushing government. I want those tags out. It just makes everything harder – get them out of the LEH. Set an example.”
While Simmons awaits word on the cow moose LEH, hunters across the province are also waiting for news in the synopsis for the north.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation recently said a new government proposal will see the moose harvest for local resident hunters cut by as much as 50 per cent in the Peace-Liard River region of northeastern B.C.
A government spokesperson confirmed with Black Press Media any changes to the harvest is in response to the infringement of treaty rights as found by the Courts under the Yahey decision. The Province, Blueberry River First Nation, and the other Treaty 8 Nations have been working on a series of measures to address the disturbances on the wildlife and land base, including industrial development.
Potential changes to the current hunting regulations, including a reduction in the number of moose hunted, is one of the measures, noted the spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.