Quebec to Ban Sport Hunting of Caribou in 2018
Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) has announced that Quebec will suspend sport hunting of caribou indefinitely starting in 2018. This news comes after public demands from First Nations peoples in the province, including the Innu, Cree, Inuit and Naskapi, to end all sport hunting of the migratory Leaf River Herd, which has declined considerably over the last several years. 739 hunting licenses will be issued for the trophy hunt in Zone 23 West in 2017, according to a press release issued on December 21.
The press release states, “Sport hunting of the George River herd was closed in 2012 due to the significant decline in numbers. Since then, the Leaf River herd has been the only one to sustain sport hunting and Aboriginal harvesting in Québec. According to an inventory carried out in the summer of 2016, Leaf River numbers have also continued to decline and the herd now comprises less than 199,000 animals.”
As readers know, the population was thought to be around 380,000 animals as recently as fall of 2014.
Outfitters in Zone 23 West say that they have not had any opportunity to respond to the ban as yet. Alain Tardiff of Leaf River Lodge (www.leafriverlodge.com) tells us, “Right now we are asking a lot of questions but getting very few answers. We intend to meet with the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks sometime soon, but we don’t know when that will be. For some of us, it is 30 years of hard work going up in smoke.”
Anyone with a Quebec-Labrador caribou on their wish list will want to contact an outfitter right away, as 2017 may be the last opportunity to hunt these animals for the foreseeable future (no hunting opportunities exist in Labrador).
I had a patient up where I'm at blatently admit to me that he goes into grazing winter herds after freeze up and kills 30-40 with semi-automatic weapons and just leaves them there and takes 2 home at a time on his sled and leaves the rest to freeze on the ice for the winter since it saves him money not having to have 3 freezers for his yearly meat and saves him hunting time/snow machine gas. He admitted when I asked, that he loses nearly 1/2 of the meat to birds/foxes/wolves/bears and the eventual rot from the thaw from over-harvest.
A colleague reported personally seeing two guys chasing a herd on a single snow machine and firing randomly into the herd from a moving snow machine with an AR-15, hitting at least 3 animals and only dropping one, which they took.
Up here, 11,000 animals/yr are taken by locals and 600/yr by out-of-area hunters, but the out-of-area hunter's season was closed and the daily limit of 5 per person for the locals was not touched.
If you ask them, it's completely justified and they have utter disgust for out-of-state hunters who they view as simply there to kill the animals for their antlers and many of those stereotypes have unfortunately been fueled by the reality of hunters not only not keeping any of the meat for themselves (donating), but also donating meat that was not fit for consumption due to poor meat preservation techniques. If you see someone come, kill an animal, and only take the antlers home, and donate rotten meat to the locals... You can see how stereotypes are formed. It's unfortunate.
Still, a double standard is applied, but indigenous populations get the benefit of the doubt.
To play Devil's advocate, it's something to consider, that if you're a man with a wife and 6 kids (common family size up here), and caribou is your primary protein source, and you have a grandma or two living with you, and your sister is a widow with 6 kids, etc etc, it's nothing to kill 30 caribou in a year to feed those in your family that can't hunt for themselves.
Sorry if I hijacked. Sorry to hear about this as it disaffects a lot of people, the hunters the least really, even more so the people who's lives revolve around the hunting of these animals, like Richard and his family. It's really sad.
The crazy thing is that the laws are going the opposite way. Animal populations are crashing, and the government is now giving metis the same rights! Add another few hundred thousand city people who go out of control because they were suddenly given a license to kill. It's not a pretty picture up here in Manitoba. Amazing it hasn't come to a civil war yet. Hunting is almost the least of the issues, though it is tops for me ;)
Who didn't see this coming when just a few years ago Tutilick kept all those deposits and "went out of business". All along it has been that natives wanted "outsiders" from killing caribou. I say, don't bite the hand that feeds you. Crown cheques and subsidies to Native communities comes from "outsiders"