The association representing hunters and trappers in northern Quebec Cree communities is turning to technology to help land users better report what they harvest and what they see out on the land.
The Cree Trappers Association (CTA) launched the CTA Wildlife mobile app earlier this month for both iPhone and android phones.
The information gathered through the new tool will help better protect the populations of game, fish and waterfowl that Cree people like to harvest, according to Thomas Stevens, coordinator of special projects for the CTA.
“We’ve been seeing a decline in people reporting what they are harvesting.– Thomas Stevens, CTA special project coordinator
“We’ve been seeing a decline in people reporting what they are harvesting, from big game and small game,” said Stevens, adding that means more hunting tags are made available to non-Indigenous hunters putting a strain on populations.
“We see a lot of moose on Facebook that have been harvested, but it has not been reported,” said Stevens.
Under the current reporting system, hunters and trappers must come into the CTA offices and report to the secretary what they harvested, something that usually happens monthly or quarterly.
With the app, they will be able to report on their harvest in real time at their camp and press send when they return to the community.
“We wanted to make it more friendly [and] have it available on your phone,” said Stevens.
The app also allows users to keep track of important safety information such as ice conditions and do so over time.
It also allows them to note changes on the land or in the kinds of wildlife they are seeing as a result of changes in the climate, said Stevens.
“Once we have that information we will be able to make that data (available),” said Stevens, adding it will help improve safety and help improve the science around climate changes.
“These kind of observations can help the hunter and the trapper,” said Stevens.
The CTA will make technical help available to anyone having trouble downloading the app to their phone or having trouble using it.
The old reporting methods are also still available to anyone not wishing to use the app.