Earlier this year an article appeared in the Citizen and around the Province stating that moose populations are down to 70 per cent of normal in many, if not most areas of the province. As a result, wildlife officials stated that a thorough review would be undertaken to determine the cause or causes of such a significant decline.
While the usual factors (increased access, tick infestations, hard winters,disease, food supply, predation etc.) may play a role in explaining the low moose numbers, I believe poor management practices are the real cause of the decline. Specifically, the practice of allowing hunters to kill cow and calf moose must end immediately, especially in the Ominica/Peace Region 7a and 7b which surrounds Prince George. An analysis of the 2012 Limited Entry Hunting Regulations reveals the following:
-- No moose season in Region 1 and 2 (Lower Mainland)
-- 92 cow or calf permits in Region 3 (Kamloops)
-- 10 cow or calf permits in Region 4 (Kootenay)
...67 cow or calf permits in Region 5 (Cariboo)
...0 cow or calf permits in Region 6 (Skeena)
...1,035 cow or calf permits in Region 7a (Ominica Peace)
...355 cow or calf permits in Region 7b (Ominica Peace)
These numbers show that of the 1,559 cow or calf authorizations available in the province, 1,390 (88 per cent) are in the Ominica Peace Region which surrounds Prince George and areas west.
Now, here is the kicker. In addition to having 88 per cent of the cow or calf Limited Entry Authorizations heavily concentrated in our area, there is also an Open Season for calves for 16 days (October 10-25). That means 1,390 calves could be taken by authorization permits plus an unlimited number during the Open Season when no authorization is required. No other Region in the Province has an Open Season for moose calves.
Why is there no Open Season on calves in any other Region of the Province?
Why are 88 per cent of the cow or calf authorizations concentrated in our area?
Why is there an Open Season on calves in our area?
What is the science behind these practices?