The Peace River area of northeastern British Columbia has supported hunting peoples for over ten thousand years. Hunters of the Dane-zaa First Nations and their ancestors managed the land; the selective use of fire maintained a rich and complex series of habitats. When Alexander Mackenzie visited the area in 1793 he wrote in his journal that, "The country is so crowded with animals as to have the appearance, in some places, of a stall-yard, from the state of the ground, and the quantity of dung which is scattered over it." Moose, deer and caribou lived in the muskeg country east of the Rocky Mountains. Marmots, sheep and goats were found at higher elevations. Beaver, rabbits and other fur-bearing animals provided people with warm winter clothing. Bison were abundant in the prairie land adjacent to the Peace River.
The first twenty-five years of the fur trade caused major changes to the ecology of the region. By the time the first Hudson's Bay Company post was established in 1823, the abundant bison Mackenzie described had been almost entirely eliminated, and hunters came to rely more on moose and beaver.