A law increasing restrictions on night hunting is now in force, the province announced today.
Bill 29, which amends the Wildlife Management Act, passed in the legislature in 2018 but was not proclaimed into law until today.
The law establishes a general prohibition on night hunting, minimum fines for people convicted of dangerous hunting, and sets up the framework for “shared management committees” to provide recommendations on conversation and management of wildlife in a specific area.
At least half of committee members must be First Nation or Metis.
The law allows for Indigenous rights-based night hunting on crown through a permitting system. The permitting system will determine if crown land is safe for hunting—including if farms or communities are nearby, Pedersen told media during a call on Oct. 9.
First Nations and Metis people are permitted to night hunt in northern Manitoba without a permit.
Pedersen also announced that the province will extend a ban on moose hunting by another year.
In 2011, Manitoba announced conservation closures in the Duck and Porcupine Mountain areas and in Game Hunting Areas (GHA) 12, 13, 13a, 14, 14A, 18, 18B and 18C, the north Interlake region (GHA 21 and 21A), the Nopiming area (part of GHA 26) and the Turtle Mountain area (GHA 29 and 29A) according to a provincial news release.
This was because of declining moose populations there. Though moose populations in the area have increased, they haven’t rebounded as much as desired said Pedersen.
The Manitoba Metis Federation voiced disagreement to the ban extension on Oct. 1. In late September, MMF announced it felt numbers had increased enough for a “conservation-minded re-opening” for Metis hunters to provide food for their families and communities, according to a news release.
Metis and First Nation hunters’ right to traditional hunting practices is protected by Canadian law.
Southern Chief’s Organization also voiced its displeasure in an Oct. 1 statement.
“The province has yet to meaningfully consult with any southern First Nations about this important issue,” the statement said.
“Indigenous rights are enshrined in the foundation of this country via Section 35 of the Constitution Act,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “The province of Manitoba cannot create their own processes for determining the harvesting eligibility of communities whose rights are federally protected.”
Pedersen told media he appreciated these groups’ constitutional right to hunt, but reiterated that is the moose population wasn’t protected, “there won’t be any moose.”