A Quebec judge has tossed out a Cree bid to stop sports hunters from killing any moose this season in the Waswanipi Territory.

The Grand Council was trying to get an injunction to force the Quebec Environment Ministry to live up to its obligations under the James Bay Agreement. With current levels of hunting, the moose could be wiped out in the Waswanipi area within two years.

Quebec says it’s too late to stop this year’s moose hunt, even though Cree officials agreed to accept a lower Cree moose kill to save the endangered population.

“Their excuses of not enough time are untrue as we warned of this problem over three years ago,” said Bill Namagoose, executive director of the Grand Council.

“The PQ don’t want to anger the non-Natives in that region before the referendum,” said another GCCQ official.

“The moose are being sacrificed on the altar of separation.” The Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Coordinating Committee sent a resolution to the Environment Ministry recommending that the Cree moose kill in Zone 17 be limited to 37 per year for the next five years.

It also said the sport moose hunt should be abolished immediately and sport hunting of female moose in Zone 22 not be allowed for at least five years.

The court injunction pointed out that the ministry is bound by decisions of the HFT Committee and that Crees are guaranteed a minimum moose harvest level. In Zone 17, it is 158 per year.

The Superior Court of Quebec rejected the injunction saying it was too late to recall sport hunting licenses.

The GCCQ pointed out that even the one-kill-per-trapline limit would be hard enough to enforce with non-trapping Cree hunters looking for their moose.

Recent estimates place the moose population of Zone 17 at about 400.

An estimated 200 moose will be killed this year by sports and sustenance hunters, leaving the moose population in jeopardy.