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The province is currently not considering hunting closures in any of the Skeena wildlife management units, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. (Karen Powell photo) According to the provincial government, hunting in the Skeena region will be carried out as usual this fall unless further regulations are put in place.

The province is currently not considering hunting closures in any of the Skeena wildlife management units, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

However, the ministry notes that hunting restrictions in wildfire-affected areas could still be implemented.

READ MORE: Hunting regulations may be considered south of Burns Lake: province

“Throughout the fall, ministry staff will be assessing the impacts on wildlife, their habitat and other forest values within fire perimeters,” explained Jeremy Uppenborn, a ministry spokesperson. “Should the need be identified, regulations may be considered, at that time, to reduce the vulnerability of wildlife to hunting.”

Although wildfires are naturally occurring and can have positive impacts on wildlife habitat, they can also create situations that increase the vulnerability of hunted big game. These include burnt vegetation that can increase the lines of sight for hunters, and fire guards that provide greater hunter access into previously remote areas.

Area restriction orders in the Burns Lake and Houston region – which also applied hunters – were rescinded effective Sept. 19. These orders had been implemented for Crown land in the vicinity of the Gilmore Lake, Nadina Lake, Verdun Mountain and several other fires in the region to avoid any interference with wildfire control activities.

Meanwhile several First Nations communities in B.C.’s Interior have joined forces to ban all limited-entry hunting for moose within their respective territories this fall.

READ MORE: Some B.C. First Nations ban limited-entry moose hunt

According to the provincial government, however, the licences of all guides, resident hunters and non-resident hunters continue to be valid.

“At this time, the province is not aware of any activities planned by First Nations related to their announcements,” states the province on their website . “The top priority is public safety; we ask everyone to remain respectful of one another on the ground.”

Hunters are urged to use caution when travelling in areas affected by wildfires since there may be safety hazards present, including:

– Danger trees (fire-damaged trees that have become unstable and could fall over without warning);

– Ash pits, which may be hard to detect and can remain hot long after the flames have died down;

– Unstable soils and terrain;

– Increased potential for landslides or rock falls;– Damaged trails or irregular trail surfaces;– Increased water runoff, which could lead to flooding or debris flows; and– Damaged fencing, which could allow livestock to enter roadways.The province adds that hunters seeking direction on what to do if they encounter a protest, or who wish to report any confrontation, should contact the RCMP.Â

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