The Algonquin nation is holding strong in their demand for a moose hunting moratorium, even while awaiting news of a possible injunction order against them.
A hunting and fishing association located in Mont-Laurier, Que. recently filed a request for an injunction in Quebec Superior Court.
They’re asking the courts to order the Algonquin communities of Barriere Lake and Kitigan Zibi – among others – to dismantle the nine camps they’ve erected along the stretch of Hwy 117 spanning the La Verendrye Faunic Reserve.
For the second year running, the Algonquin Nation is demanding the Quebec government implement a moose hunting moratorium in order to replenish the overall population in the wildlife reserve.
An aerial survey conducted by Quebec earlier this year revealed “concerning” numbers, but not “critical” ones, according to Quebec’s Minister of Forests, Pierre Dufour.
Meanwhile, the camps remain peaceful, despite mounting pressure and harassment from sports hunters hoping to access the trails leading deep into the bush.
While Quebec says they issued 30 per cent fewer sport hunting tags in the wildlife reserve for 2020, the Algonquin Nation firmly believes that without a five-year pause on sport hunting, the moose could disappear.
Approximately three to four moose would feed the entire community of Barriere Lake for a year, according to Chief Casey Ratt.
Ratt added that sports hunters cull anywhere between 80 and 100 moose per season.
Quebec recently issued a press release offering refunds to hunters who purchased tags to hunt in La Verendrye Faunic Reserve, but have been unable to access the bush.
Dufour maintains that a complete hunting moratorium is “by no means considered.”
However, human rights group Amnesty International is calling upon the federal government – mainly Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations – to intervene in the dispute, which has raged on now for nearly a month.
“It’s clear provincial and federal ministers need to firmly defend the role of Indigenous people in decision-making that concerns them,” representatives of Amnesty International wrote in a letter addressed to Federal and Provincial officials last week.
“They also need to lend support to Indigenous peoples when they’re confronted with negative reactions,” it continues.
The outcome of Tuesday’s court hearing is still unknown.
More to come.