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Letters  

Level hunting playing field

I am a lifelong outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman and lover of the wild.  

I am a caretaker and conservationist, but I am also a realist who does not subscribe to the use of rhetoric or threat for personal gain. Chief Joe Alphonse uses sensationalism and bullying to get what he wants, and when he doesn’t get his way, he hides behind his “traditional rights” and the umbrella of reconciliation to sway the masses.  

Make no mistake, his intentions are to shut all resident hunting down and in doing so is setting precedent for other First Nations to make the same claims and demands.

For those who aren’t hunters, did you know that most resident hunters only hunt a couple weeks at best during hunting season? The entire season is typically less than three months, with many restrictions or limited-entry hunting only. Did you know that First Nations can hunt year round, can shoot any sex, species, pregnant cows and does, calves, fawns, it doesn’t matter? They can hunt moose when the snow is five feet deep, use snowmobiles and ATVs. They are not required to harvest the entire animal.  

I am not trying to start a fight, but let’s start being honest about the issues. Resident hunters deserve a voice, too. I’m tired of this being a one-sided argument.

Moose populations have declined, but not because of mismanagement of wildlife. I’ve hunted the Cariboo-Chilcotin for over 30 years, and I can tell you there are many contributors, such as predation, increased road access, reduced forage due to forest broad-leaf tree spraying, ticks, loss of wildlife corridors, etc.  

There is a battle to fight on behalf of wildlife, and it should be science-based, without political agenda. If the ministry wants to sign a co-management agreement with First Nations, then they need to invite resident hunters to the table as well.

The 2017 wildfires that Chief Alphonse claims have affected the moose population and added additional stress were on a tiny portion of the Tsilhqot’in traditional territory and yet the chief has asked for all LEH hunting to be prohibited this year.  

Moose handle wildfires just fine, and those that were outside the wildfire zone would have felt no effects. This is yet again an example of fear-mongering and playing on the heartstrings of people who wouldn’t know better.  

Illegal blockades are not the answer. Other hunters have even described intimidation techniques being used or their hunting camps being vandalized.

If you asked most resident hunters their opinions, you’ll likely find a willingness to forego the LEH hunt if First Nations were treated equally and also bound not to hunt. If we are truly talking about tradition, then explain why First Nations reserve the right to hunt from vehicles, at night, with lights.

I respect First Nations and want nothing more than to see an equality and science-based approach to wildlife management in B.C. and in Canada. Everyone needs to come to the table on common ground.

Wade Llugs



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