Anyone with their sights set on a general hunting licence in the territory will now have to be an eligible members of an NWT Aboriginal organization.
Hunting regulations and fees saw a number of changes in the Northwest Territories Summary of Hunting Regulations, released in July.
“Individuals must submit an application to Environment and Natural Resources indicating which of the NWT Aboriginal organization they belong to, along with supporting documentation to that effect,” stated Dawn Curtis, manager of public affairs and communications for Environment and Natural Resources, in an e-mail to News/North.
The changes don’t affect previous holders of such a licence, those will still be valid for the holders lifetime.
In addition to that new heritage requirement, licence fees have also shot up for the first time in six years.
Curtis said licence costs had remained unchanged since 2011 and that a review of fees is required every five years by the Financial Management Board. She said fees received an increase of 10 per cent across the board.
“Even with the increase, these fees still remain less than those in most jurisdictions in Canada,” Curtis stated.
It lists in the handbook, available on ENR’s website, that some of these new regulations will affect when caribou and moose can be harvested in special harvester area wildlife management zones.
Season dates are listed as Aug. 15 to Dec. 25 in special harvester areas of wildlife management zone G, for barren ground caribou. Moose season is listed for zones G and S as Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 for special harvester areas.
“These rules apply to all non-participants to the Land Claim Agreements made in 1992 (Gwich’in) and 1993 (Sahtú),” Curtis said.
Special harvest areas open to licensed hunters are defined by big game hunting regulations, but season lengths are defined by the respective land claim agreements for those wildlife management areas. The ENR website suggests contacting your local or regional ENR office to get information on upcoming regulation changes for barrenground caribou and moose before going hunting.
Curtis said in 2014 the Wildlife Act was changed to reflect Land Claim Agreements of the NWT. The new Act enables the GNWT to enforce what was set out in the Land Claim Agreements. These special harvester areas have a shorter season than those of surrounding lands.
Cadmium advisory updated
A recommendation was issued as an update in April by Andre Corriveau, NWT chief public health officer. The update recommended consumption of the organs of moose harvested in the southern Mackenzie Mountains in the Dehcho be limited due to high levels of cadmium.
Moose that were tested in the Mackenzie and Liard valleys and moose in the Sahtu region tested with lower levels of cadmium below the recommended guidelines.
Corriveau said an advisory wasn’t issued for the public as the data hadn’t changed significantly even though the Sahtu region had been added to the sample field.
“It depends if the new data changes the advice significantly,” he said. “We might get new data, but if the advice stays the same it may not be necessary to issue another advisory.”
Corriveau said cadmium ingestion has been associated with some adverse health outcomes, but international data puts smoking at a higher risk than ingesting from sources such as organ meats.
“The data we have from all over the world is that the largest exposure that human beings have to cadmium is to smokers,” he said.
“The fact that the tobacco plant is really good at picking (cadmium) up and when you smoke it it goes directly into the blood stream.”
“(Cadmium) occurs naturally and there’s likely some areas where some of the plants or roots (the moose) would eat would concentrate it,” Corriveau added.
He said the body processes cadmium out through the kidneys and is the reason it is found concentrated in the moose organs.
“The moose has it in some of its organs, so it would be the same in a person.”