The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced today that two areas affected by wildfire in the Cariboo will be closed to moose hunting from Oct. 15-31 and Nov. 1-15.
The closures affect an area north of Highway 20 and west of Williams Lake and Quesnel, after the Chilcotin Plateau Fire ravaged the area this summer. The press release noted that the area is also important to First Nations sustenance hunting.
Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said: “This has been an unprecedented wildfire season, with parts the Cariboo particularly hard hit. With moose populations already declining in this management zone, we need to take steps now to protect wildlife and ensure healthy moose populations in the future.”
The closure comes after First Nations groups in the region called for the province to instate a moratorium on moose hunting.
Contacted for comment, Nazko First Nation chief Stuart Alec said: “It’s great news to hear that the province is taking steps to address the situation and the concerns of the Nazko people and others concerned about the moose populations.
“We are looking forward to working further with the province to maintain moose populations in the region.
“We have not been hunting in the wildfire zones, and are focusing our hunts north of the Blackwater River.”
The ministry indicated that the areas impacted by the hunting ban will be assessed over the winter to inform what level of sustainable hunting will be available in the coming years.