The Tahltan Central Government is calling on the province to impose an immediate ban on hunting throughout their territory due to wildfire activity.
In a press release the nation outlined their concern for the safety of both resident and non-resident hunters, asking all to refrain from hunting throughout Tahltan Territory until the state of emergency has been lifted and the damage to the region’s wildlife can be properly assessed.
“Animals have been forced to rapidly flee and are demonstrating abnormal behaviours. Several bears and ungulates have been seen with burned fur. Roadkill on our highways has increased significantly as the wildlife escape the smoke and their burning habitats,” Tahltan President Chad Norman Day said.
Parts of the Tahltan territory have been in a state of emergency since early August. About 300 people have been evacuated and roughly 30 homes destroyed in Telegraph Creek. The fires continue to threaten further properties and areas of cultural significance.
Tahltan are particularly concerned for moose during the wildfire crisis as smoke and flame may push the population into concentrated areas. The Skeena is one of three areas in B.C. where small portions are now open for moose hunting ahead of the September and October season start of most other areas.
The Tahltan territory encompass BC’s Wildlife Management Units 6-19 to 26 and 7-52.
According to the press release many Tahltan families and hunters are refraining from hunting and are encouraging others to do the same.
In a letter to the province Day requested a formal hunting ban for this hunting season. “Doing so will demonstrate your government’s respect for our devastated communities, wildlife and territory,” he wrote. “We need unprecedented help and collaboration following the worst disaster in modern-day Tahltan history; a disaster that continues as you read this letter.”
Forest minister Doug Donaldson’s office was contacted and asked if the ministry was considering the request for the ban. Donaldson is also the MLA for the region.
“Currently, we are in discussions with the Tahltan about the wildfires that have affected their community,” a ministry spokesperson said.