MMF Letter to Harvesters

September 27, 2020

To all Métis Harvesters,

As you may know, Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) 12, 13, 13A, 14, 14A, 18, 18A, 18B, 18C, 19A 21, 21A, 29, and 29A have all been closed to the harvest of moose for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous harvesters by the province of Manitoba. Manitoba also has closed GHA 26 to moose hunting by non-Indigenous hunters.

For over two centuries the Manitoba Métis have emphasized conservation and honouring our harvests. It is embedded in the fabric of the Métis Nation. To date, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has recognized these closures. Using guidance from our Elders and Harvesters, we even proactively closed GHA 26 to our Métis Harvesters.

In a letter sent by Manitoba in 2018, Manitoba stated that they were open to partially opening GHAs 13, 13A-the Porcupine Mountain region-and 18, 18A, 18B, and 18C-the Duck Mountain region-to the harvest of moose. Manitoba stated that 2% of the total moose could be harvested and the population of moose would not be harmed. They recommended a shared management approach that gave equal hunting abilities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous harvesters.

We responded informing Manitoba that opening the harvest to all users was unacceptable and unagreeable to the Métis. It entirely ignores constitutional law of Canada and undermines the Indigenous right to harvest. This is affirmed by the Supreme Court Case R v. Sparrow which states "[...] any allocation of priorities after valid conservation measures have been implemented must give top priority to [Aboriginal - which includes Métis, First Nations, and Inuit - harvesting]." Therefore, users should only include Aboriginal harvesters at this time.

According to a July 7, 2020 letter from Manitoba, the Manitoba Hunting Guide 2020, and our Métis Elders and Harvesters; the moose population in the Porcupine Mountain region is stable and the moose population in Duck Mountain region is increasing.

Using a conservation-minded approach, the MMF will re-open the Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) 13, 13A-Porcupine Mountain and GHAs 18, 18A, 18B, 18C-Duck Mountain for the harvest of bull moose (no cows, calves, or yearlings) on a limited basis through the Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative. GHA 26-Nopiming-will be fully re-opened for moose harvesting for MMF Métis Harvesters.

At this time, the MMF has decided that GHAs 29 and 29A-Turtle Mountain region-will remain closed for conservation efforts and GHA 12, 14 and 14A will be monitored for determination of big-game population. The MMF will further conduct monitoring of GHA areas across the province to support evidence-based decision making.

The Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative involves Manitoba Métis Harvesters harvesting as a group using one Conservation Moose Tag allowing for the shared harvest of one bull moose. This Initiative consists of the following:

  • Conservation Moose Harvesting Party - consists of a minimum of 4 Métis Harvesters all of whom must have a valid MMF Harvester Card (with the current 2020-2021 Conservation Trust Fund Sticker). The Métis Harvesters must all be registered as Harvesting Party Members and cannot become members of a second Conservation Moose Harvesting Party once registered;
  • Captain of the Hunt - the Métis Harvester who is the leader of the Conservation Moose Harvesting Party and, on behalf of all members of the Harvesting Party, will be the official applicant for the Conservation Moose Tag; and,
    • Conservation Moose Tag - each Harvesting Party's Captain of the Hunt must submit their application prior to the 9:00AM deadline of October 14, 2020 to mooseconservation@mmf.mb.ca. A draw will take place, and one Conservation Moose Tag will be issued to each successfully drawn Captains of the Hunt on behalf of all members of a Conservation Moose Harvesting Party. Each Tag will be GHA or Area-specific, with a total of 16 tags being issued for the Duck Mountain and 10 tags for the Porcupine Mountain.

The Conservation Moose Harvesting Party will use the Conservation Moose Tag for the harvest of one bull moose (no cows, calves, or yearlings) in the tag identified GHA.

To help the MMF track the number of animals taken, the Captain of the Hunt is required to report within two days of their successful harvest of the moose and return the Conservation Moose Tag stub. Or at the end of the moose hunting season if unsuccessful must return unused Conservation Moose Tag to the MMF Home Office.

The meat should be shared among the registered Harvesting Party members, their families, their Elders, and vulnerable community members. Participants in the Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative requires Métis Harvesters to continue to adhere to the 3rd Revised Edition - Métis Laws of the Harvest.

MMF will also be working with our Community Harvesters and Citizens, including Elders, to take next steps. Going forward, the MMF will be undertaking our own moose surveys in future (Fall - Winter 2020) to obtain science-based evidence for future harvesting. A long-term goal of your Manitoba Métis Government is to establish an Elders Harvesting Committee that we can consult on issues such as conservation.

Your Manitoba Métis Government is committed to protecting your rights and to practice conservation for future generations. For more information, or to download an application form, please visit www.mmf.mb.ca or contact MMF Natural Resources for information and assistance with filling out an application form. Completed applications must be submitted to mooseconservation@mmf.mb.ca in order to be registered.

Respectfully,

Leah LaPlante

Minister Responsible for Natural Resources & Citizenship

 


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