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Today’s inbox: Yukon government must clarify hunting rules

Letter to the editor published Aug. 28

Yukon government must clarify hunting rules

YG must clarify hunting rules

The Yukon Fish and Game Association submitted the following letter to Premier Sandy Silver and environment minister Pauline Frost on Aug. 24.

Dear Premier Silver and Minister Frost,

We urge your Government to formulate a decisive response to the ongoing, publicly posted notices and statements made by some First Nation Governments seeking to limit hunting by licensed hunters in each of their traditional territories. Our Board — and many licensed hunters across the Territory are concerned with the inaccurate, ambiguous, disruptive and increasingly threatening public messaging released by RRDC, NNDFN and, most recently the Liard/Kaska First Nation Governments.

We are very concerned with the lack of a prompt formal response from the Yukon Government.

The recent series of newspaper postings from each of the three First Nation Governments, directing hunters to avoid hunting in their traditional territory are not supported by existing laws or agreements; moreover, they are impractical, impossibly overreaching, and cause unnecessary anxiety to members of the public and outdoors people in the Yukon.

If your government fails to address this issue and provide clear and unequivocal guidance on the laws of general application, this situation has the real potential to become a source of conflict. Sadly, this situation has already impacted Yukoner’s enjoyment of campgrounds, trails, angling, and hunting traditions - with related impacts to the economy, health, safety, and food security.

Simply put – we ask that your government address the situation immediately.

This issue affects all Yukon hunters. The declarations in the ads posted in the paper fall well outside any reasonable interpretation of the UFA. All people, and all hunters have equal right to access the public lands of the Yukon. Wildlife remains a public resource held in the public trust. While there may be differences on how we share the resource, there is no question it belongs to all Yukoners and Canadians.

We appreciate the recent YG posting on the Conservation Officer Facebook page which supports the rights of licensed hunters, and related website post from YG communications staff that notes that the laws of general application apply on non-settlement lands across Yukon. This is a step forward in reassuring licensed hunters of the opportunity to hunt this fall, however we feel that to minimize confusion and support hunters in their pursuits a statement from the Minister is needed.

It remains incumbent on the government to firmly and fairly come out in support of licensed hunters and be seen and heard to be actively ensuring that our hunting opportunities are protected now and for generations to come.

Thanks for considering our request,

Eric Schroff

Executive Director, YFGA