Manitoba Wildlife Federations Response to June 26, 2024, MKO Media Release

MKO Sets the Record Straight on the First Nation Right of Top Priority to Hunt for Food, Support and Subsistence in Manitoba

The Manitoba Wildlife Federation (MWF) applauds the government’s decision to proceed with the big game hunt for licensed hunters in the north this year. 

We are responding to Grand Chief Garrison Settee’s recent correspondence from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), aiming to clarify the proposal they advanced to the government to withdraw all licensed big game hunting tag allocations in Northern Manitoba.

Firstly, the MWF acknowledges the shared objectives between our organization and MKO, particularly in safeguarding the moose populations of Northern Manitoba. We recognize and respect MKO’s persistent advocacy for government engagement in habitat and population management, crucial actions to avoid what has resulted in closures in the south, and the potential extirpation of moose populations in Manitoba if trends continue. Like MKO, MWF holds conservation, protection of natural resources, and the promotion of game and fish species and their habitats in the highest regard. However, MWF highlights a critical gap: there is a lack of data in the North on population estimates, and rights-based harvesters are not required to report their harvest. How can we expect the province to manage big game populations while only obtaining harvest records from licensed hunters? This information is an essential prerequisite to determine sustainable harvest rates, by First Nation harvesters and tag allocations for licensed hunters.

MWF recognizes and respects the constitutional rights of First Nation harvesters to hunt for sustenance, but these rights must be reconciled with the rights of all Manitobans to access and enjoy our outdoor public spaces. MWF will always take any steps necessary to defend our outdoor heritage and legally enshrined right to hunt in this province.

The Manitoban hunters we represent are deeply invested in conservation, management, and outdoor traditions, and have always been at the table in discussions on big game management. It is deeply concerning to MWF that details on these proposed changes have not been shared or discussed with licensed hunters in the province.

Recognizing alignment in our shared objectives, MWF sees substantial value in fostering meaningful conversations and collaboration to achieve these goals. We firmly believe that collaborative management based on sound science represents the last opportunity to ensure the survival of moose in Manitoba, extending to all shared resources involving multiple stakeholders. Whether concerning rights, traditions, cultures, lifestyles, or livelihoods, all parties are deeply invested. MWF will continue to actively advocate for comprehensive government consultation with all stakeholders, informed decision-making grounded in science and conservation, and the development of a sustainable, inclusive management plan for all harvesters in the North.

Let’s change the narrative going forward and bridge diverse stakeholder interests, foster sustainable practices, and pool collective expertise and knowledge. This approach would unite rather than divide Manitobans, ensuring the preservation of wildlife resources while nurturing our shared hunting and angling traditions.

Link to June 26, 2024, MKO Media Release:

Winnipeg Free Press Article: Minister Approves Northern Moose, Elk Hunt:
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