While the Limited Entry Hunt (LEH) draw for Fall 2021 has completed, the province is yet to decide on the final number of authorizations and has continued to support the antlerless moose harvest for caribou recovery.
The decision on the final number of LEH authorizations for 2021 is anticipated to be made later this month, said the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD).
Despite protests over the antlerless moose hunt all across the province, the ministry is standing its ground.
“Research suggests that there can be conservation benefits to hunting different age classes and males/females of ungulates when populations are stable or increasing. This approach is used in many jurisdictions in North America,” said the ministry, adding that it is against the law for licensed hunters to hunt cow or calf moose in about 80 per cent of moose range in B.C.
“The current levels of cow/calf harvest in B.C. by licensed hunters is very low and considered sustainable. The wildlife and habitat branch seeks to provide hunting opportunities where such opportunities are sustainable,” added the ministry.
The ministry also confirmed that there have been no changes to the cow/calf LEH hunts for this year and there have been no extensions, additions, or subtractions. The LEH synopsis for 2021 is the same as the LEH synopsis was in 2020, they said. Last year, the province had given out 400 LEH authorizations up from 2019’s 357.
The synopsis indicates Omineca, Kootenays, Thompson region in the Kamloops area, Okanagon and Cariboo area as the regions where LEH authorizations could be approved.
Last year there were an estimated 77 cow/calf moose harvested through LEH, 70 of those were within caribou recovery areas, confirmed the ministry.
Several supporters for the ban on the cow/calf moose hunts have been insisting that government focus more on predator management instead to save the caribou. Last year, the province undertook a wolf cull in the Kootenay and Omineca regions with 10 wolves to be culled in Revelstoke and 91 in the Parsnip area, north of Prince George.
“No decision has been made regarding wolf reduction for this year; however the Province will be conducting a broad consultation process that highlights the benefits of a reduction of wolf numbers in 14 of the 54 identified caribou herds in BC,” said the ministry.
If approved, wolf reduction activities would recommence during the winter of 2021-22 for the following caribou herds of Chinchaga, Pink Mountain, Moberly, Scott East, Kennedy Siding, Quintette, South Narraway, Graham, Itcha-Ilgachuz, Tweedsmuir, Central Selkirks, Columbia North, Hart Ranges and North Cariboo Mountains (a new herd proposed for 2021-22).
The Province is also seeking approval to continue their cougar reduction activities in the Columbia North and Central Selkirks caribou herds. Over the past two years, 21 cougars have been removed from these treatment areas. However, no other predator management activities are planned at this time.