Caribou herd on horizon

Fish and wildlife enforcement officers in Labrador have seized caribou and a shotgun, following a tip that two men from Sheshatshiu had illegal caribou in their kometik. (CBC)

Fish and wildlife officials in Labrador say two people from Shetshatshiu could be charged for hunting caribou, which has been banned since last year.

On Feb. 13, officers followed up on a tip that two men had illegal caribou in their komatik.

With the assistance of the RCMP, officers initiated a helicopter search of the area between Postville and North West River. 

The hunters were stopped, and their shotgun and caribou were seized.

Hayward Taylor, chief of the fish and wildlife enforcement division, said it's difficult to tell how many of the animals were taken.

"It was in a cut up, processed state, so we don't know for sure. It could be one or two animals, we're not really sure," said Taylor. 

Due to the continuing decline of the George River caribou herd, the Newfoundland and Labrador government initiated a ban in January 2013, on all caribou hunting in Labrador for conservation purposes. 

The herd has declined drastically over the past 20 years, numbering over 800,000 in the late 1980s.

But the Innu nation says it will hunt 300 caribou this year, 150 for each community. 

Taylor said he believes the animal(s) seized last week were from the George River herd. 

"The caribou, at this point, will be held for evidence. It'll also be sent for analysis, and basically we'll have to wait for court."