The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB) reported that there is a rise in illegal hunting along the territory’s winter roads. The local caribou herds and communities who depend on these animals are severely affected by poaching. The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board stated that caribou are illegally hunted at rates unseen for decades.
Earl Evans, chair of the BQCMB, said:
“Every regulation in the book being violated — snowmobiles chasing caribou, people shooting into the herds, hunters using the wrong caliber of rifle required to make a clean kill and/or not retrieving their kills, pollution, and outright dangerous hunting.”
On Tuesday, a press conference on caribou hunting was held. Environment Minister Shane Thompson seized the chance to talk to the public:
“When I talk to elders and leaders, there are real fears that these practices will push us towards a future no one wants to see — one where caribou aren’t there, one where their children won’t be able to bring meat home for their kid. The solution, elders and leaders tell me, is rooted in respectful harvesting practices.”
He also stated that 50 caribou were illegally hunted this winter so far, compared to less than 10 at this time of the winter last year.
Mr. Evans added:
“It seems like the people who are causing these infractions don’t realize the value of these caribou … as a resource to their own people. These caribou here are food for the people, culture for the people. The people thrive on the caribou.”
The BQCMB was established in 1982 to protect two herds of barren‐ground caribou. The organization’s goal is not just to protect the animals but also to teach the locals how to treat the caribou.
Earl Evans concluded:
“People need to understand that the only way for the caribou harvest to be sustainable is to hunt respectfully. We all share in this responsibility to make sure there are caribou for the next generation. Communities have been built strategically around caribou cycles, and losing them would be devastating to these communities.”