Topics of Interest

A Question Regarding the New Spike/fork Moose Season in the East Kootenay

Moose hunters in the Kootenay’s will have noticed by now that the new spike/fork moose season dates are Sept 20th to Oct 31st in the West Kootenay (where there are 3 guide-outfitters) and Oct 15th to Oct 31st in the East Kootenay (where there are over 30 guide-outfitters).

The proposal to have this hunt has been under discussion since early 2008 at the Kootenay Wildlife Harvest Regional Advisory Committee (KWHAC) level, at Rod and Gun clubs throughout the region, and was on the MOE “regulation change consultation” web site for public consultation in both 2008 and 2009.

On every occasion the proposal stated Sept 20th as starting date for the hunt, there was no suggestion of any different starting dates specific to the East Kootenay sub-region, nor was this ever discussed at the KWHAC level until the May 16th, 2009 meeting when it was placed on the KWHAC agenda for discussion.  The real problem with that is by May 16th the Region had already sent their regulation proposals to Victoria so the consultation with resident hunter representatives was a complete sham.  The decision had already been made, and completely without any resident hunter consultation.

The Southern Guide Outfitters (SGO) always opposed the spike/fork season at KWHAC and KWHAC members were informed that the proposal on the May 16th meeting agenda to delay the hunt opening date to Oct 15th came from the Southern guides.  The SGO representative admitted that resident moose hunters in the bush in September would compromise the quality of elk hunts they were conducting at that time.

The reasoning behind the delayed opening was stated officially on the May 16th KWHAC agenda as concern that the early moose hunt would result in increased incidental kill of elk and sheep.

Since when did we have a conservation concern for elk in the East Kootenay?  How much spatial overlap do you think there is between moose and bighorn sheep habitat, and would that even matter considering that the fact that resident hunters are only using about 65% of their bighorn sheep allocated harvest?  Why do other MOE regions in BC not consider either of these as valid concerns?

So it seems that this decision may have been made to benefit guide-outfitters and came at heavy cost to resident hunting opportunities, and, after consultation only with guide outfitters, since the only opportunity for resident hunters representatives on the KWHAC committee to provide input occurred well after MOE-Cranbrook had long since submitted their regulation change proposals to Victoria.

As resident hunters we should appreciate the new spike/fork moose hunting opportunity, but should take serious exception to being treated as second class citizens, to guide-outfitter priorities being placed ahead of those of resident hunters, and we should insist that MOE follow their own policy that states residents have priority to the resource. Call your MLA if you are concerned.

Comments are closed.