The first priority of the Ministry of Environment is to ensure the long-term conservation of wildlife populations and their habitats. The Ministry also recognizes that Indian people have aboriginal rights to harvest wildlife for sustenance (food, social and ceremonial purposes) in their traditional areas. Such uses of wildlife must be sustainable, and harvesting methods must not jeopardize safety or the use and enjoyment of property. Any hunting of wildlife species for sale or barter, in whole or in part, is not legal, except as authorized by regulation or where there is a demonstrated aboriginal or treaty right to do so.
Under the Wildlife Act 'Indian' means a person who is defined as a status Indian under the Indian Act (Canada).
Indians who are residents of British Columbia are not required to obtain any type of hunting licence under the Wildlife Act. Indians who are residents of B.C. and are exercising an aboriginal right to hunt for sustenance purposes within a traditionally-used area are required to comply with hunting regulations related to public health and public safety. In situations where conservation of a particular species is of concern and compliance with hunting regulations is required by Indians belonging to a First Nation group, there will be prior consultation with the affected First Nation in accordance with Ministry policy and procedures. These restrictions may include the requirement for Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) authorizations. Prior to undertaking any hunting activity, individuals should inquire with their appropriate First Nation officials or with the MoE regional office with respect to any specific requirements that may apply to them.
Indians who are residents of B.C. and wish to hunt outside their traditionally-used areas must do so in accordance with the Hunting Regulations. This includes making application for a LEH authorization via the LEH draw. If an individual is in doubt regarding a traditional hunting area or practice, they should be in contact with the appropriate First Nations officials and the regional Wildlife Program staff to discuss specific situations.
A reminder that all Métis individuals intending to hunt in the upcoming season are required, under the Wildlife Act, to hold a valid hunting license and comply with all appropriate hunting regulations. This includes obtaining appropriate species licenses and complying with Limited Entry Hunting Regulations.