TELEGRAPH CREEK, BC – A group of Tahltan Elders have set up a roadblock on Highway 51 between Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek to limit moose hunting in their territory.
“Hunters come into our territory and just kill as many moose as they want,” said Chief Terri Brown. “It’s not OK. We have been concerned that too many people come here to hunt moose without a proper understanding of our territory. It’s a big issue for us because we have one of the longest hunting seasons in the province.”
The roadblock has been set up to focus on the issue and to press the BC government to start regulating and managing moose hunting. Currently there are only two conservation officers to monitor hunting activity across Tahltan territory, which roughly equals the size of Portugal (97,500km2).
The group is calling for hunters that do not live in the territory to respect this situation.
“There are so many reasons why we need to keep hunting under control,” said Chief Terri Brown. “We have culture camps up there at the moment with kids playing and learning about traditional hunting practices and we want them to be safe. But we also need to control the situation to protect our environment and our traditions for today, for our children and for our grandchildren.”
The road in question has been identified by the Tahltan as in trespass as they claim it is not a public road. This means the Province has no tenure for the road. With immediate effect, the Tahltan are asking members of the public wishing to traverse the road to obtain permission from the Band. All members of the public that do not receive permission may be stopped, particularly non-Tahltan hunters, from trespassing on Tahltan reserve lands and using the road.
The issue of monitoring and limiting hunting in Tahltan territory is not new and previous leadership of the Tahltan Nation has supported this initiative. Chief Terri Brown added: “This has been going on for years, but we would like to see some progress. We just want to see regulation catch up with reality, something which changes to the Wildlife Act could swiftly achieve.”