As a resident hunter, a conservationist and a local resident of Dease Lake I wanted to gain a better understanding to the Tahltan First Nation’s concerns and reasoning behind the blockade on Hwy 51, Telegraph Creek Road.
To my greatest disappointment I was met with hostility and complete disregard for what I had come to discuss.
I merely wanted to inquire into who was being restricted, why and what the Tahltan Nation wished to have result from the blockade. Are we not technically on the same page? Looking after our wildlife for our future generations and passing on traditions?
Apparently I was greatly mistaken and as Terri Brown the current Tahltan Band chief would state, it’s “you people” that are causing the moose population to decline.
This comment, paired with the statement that my son would not be able to learn to hunt like I did, was very bothersome.
I may not be First Nations but we have traditions, too. I grew up hunting to fill our freezer for the winter and am a better person, wildlife and nature conservationist because of it.
I appreciate where I live and where my food comes from. I wish to pass these ethics and respects for nature on to my son.
Hunting has been around for centuries. Records dating back tens of thousands of years depicting humans in the act of hunting. Hunting is not only important in the native traditions and history, it played a large part in the survival of the early Europeans in North America and critical to the survival of the early settlers.
To this day hunting continues to provide families with a significant portion of food requirements. My family is one of these.
A few statistics. Tahltans, are you aware that only approximately 50 per cent of the hunters that arrive in Region 6 during ,oose season are actually successful?
Records indicate from hunter samples and compulsory inspection data in MU 6-21 and 6-22 indicate that between 2010 and 2012 out of 417 hunters only 150 moose were shot.
However, every one of these hunters purchases a licence, tags, paid thousands to be here not including the equipment they require to hunt such as guns, trucks, quads or boats and the gear to camp with. They pay taxes on every piece of this. Not to mention the funds we pay into our licences and tags go back into wildlife conservation programs.
I’d like to quote the words of writer Gary Mauser.
“Hunters in Canada pay to the government, on average, almost $70 million per year in hunting licences and fees. This equates to what the provinces spend to manage their wildlife populations.
For most of this century, hunters in Canada have funded provincial wildlife management programs.
In 1998/99, due to years of government cutbacks, revenue from hunting licence fees was more than 110 per cent of BC’s wildlife management programs.
The contribution of Canadian hunters to wildlife does not end with the fees they pay for their hunting licences. Expenditures on hunting trips inject badly needed cash into the Canadian economy and particularly into the economy of small rural communities.
In addition, and possibly most importantly, Canadian hunters and anglers volunteer their time and donate their own money to conserve vital wildlife habitat, to raise and release salmon and other fish species into our rivers and to conduct vital wildlife research. Resident hunters spend another $1 billion on trips to view wildlife outside of hunting season and contributions to habitat restoration. While government has continually cut back on programs and services, hunters and anglers continue to pick up the slack.”
So what am I trying to say? “Us people” – the resident hunters – are the ones that are helping manage the wildlife for my generations and yours to enjoy. Yes, we hunt wildlife, but we also protect and conserve them.
I would ask the Tahltan Nation where are their statistics? How many moose are harvested by the Tahltan in a year and what efforts are they making to ensure programs are in place to sustain our wildlife populations?
Instead of blocking accesses and denying us the traditions we wish to carry on, become part of the solution.
Dease Lake, B.C.