Provincial government clashes with Manitoba Metis Federation over new moose-hunting regulations

File photo of a moose. Saskatchewan Association of Conservation Officers / Facebook

The Manitoba government is working on protecting the province’s dwindling moose population by cancelling this fall’s temporary hunt in the Duck and Porcupine Mountain areas.

Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen said Friday that the region — which has been under a harvest suspension since 2011 — will remain suspended until next year.
“Manitoba has the duty and the obligation to protect the wildlife populations, including moose,” said Pedersen.

“So that’s what we are doing here.”

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The province said that despite conservation closures in a number of areas going back almost a decade, the moose population has not returned to historic levels, due in part to “illegal hunting pressures and natural causes.”

The new regulations also include a ban on night hunting, beginning Saturday, for all licensed hunters and on private land.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF), however, is not on board with the decision and, its president said, is willing to take the province to court over it.

Read more: Manitobans convicted of illegal hunting offences

The MMF said Friday it’s going ahead with a planned hunt later this month, and that elders in the region have reported healthier moose numbers — contrary to the province’s assertion that the count remains low.
A limited hunt of 60 bull moose, split between First Nations and Metis hunters, is sustainable, the MMF said.
“Indigenous people have rights, and the right for us to feed our families, for sustenance, is very clear in the law,” said MMF president David Chartrand. “If I have to take this all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada — if I have to spend $1 million or $2 million — I will.”
Chartrand said the government has failed in its duty to consult with Indigenous groups on the issue, but Pedersen said he has talked with Indigenous groups and has the right to protect animal populations when they become low.
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The new restrictions will be “robustly” enforced by Manitoba Conservation and Climate, beginning immediately, the province said.

“There are critical safety concerns for both Manitobans and moose that we must consider, so we are ramping up our enforcement efforts in these areas to ensure the safety of all Manitobans,” said Conservation Minister Sarah Guillemard.

“Conservation officers will continue to prioritize enforcement against illegal night hunting, including with night-time flights and a reallocation of resources to address key areas of concern.”

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