Province increases the number of moose cow and calf tags

More moose fair game?

A recent change to moose hunting regulations in British Columbia has raised the ire of the BC Liberal party. 

Two BC Liberal MLAs, Donna Barnett and John Rustad are condemning John Horgan and the NDP for opening up the hunt for moose calves and their mothers in the province. 

“At a time when moose populations are struggling, it makes little sense to put pressure on mother and their calves,” said Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Barnett and Opposition Critic for Rural Development. “I don’t know what’s gotten into the minds of the NDP and Premier Horgan. This is a step in the wrong direction and it has to stop immediately.”

The 2020-2021 Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) regulations synopsis outlines this year's changes as:

  • 18 cow or calf tags for Thompson Region 3, Elephant Hill wildfire areas
  • 212 cow or calf tags, an increase from 175 tags in 2019 – up 37 – in Kootenay Region 4
  • Four tags too many – Cariboo Region 5
  • 161 tags – cow or calf – Omineca/Peace Region 7
  • And another new limited entry hunt this year for five more cow or calf moose for Okanagan Region 8

The move bumps the number of cow or calf moose hunting authorizations up by 60 – 400 for this year, up from 340 in 2019.

Jesse Zeman, Director of Fish and Wildlife with the BC Wildlife Federation says the move is primarily geared towards protecting endangered caribou in B.C.

The largest increase in authorizations is in the Kootenays where wolf control has led to an increase in the number of moose in the region.

"More moose means more predators which means less caribou because they get eaten by predators," says Zeman. "Revelstoke north, that's where the caribou live and we've been doing wolf management there, so we've got a moose population that is growing rapidly."

Zeman says moose are also doing well in the Central Okanagan, "it's one of the only places in the province where it's (moose population) been growing."

He points out that hunters are very concerned about moose recovery but, "a couple of more LEH's? That's statistically insignificant."  

Zeman wanted to make it clear that he is politically non-partisan in his position but, "if you look at how many LEH's were distributed by the last government compared to this one, you'll find it's very close."

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