‘Island moose populations are healthy’
more time to bag a moose.
A five-year moose management plan will also be established.
“ We have reviewed our current approach to management of this species, and we have determined that a number of changes are warranted,” Johnson said. “ These changes will positively impact our ability to adequately manage this particular animal. Overall, island moose populations are healthy, with total island estimates at approximately 120,000.”
In the western/central Newfoundland Moose Management Areas ( MMAs), the season will now close Jan. 2. In the eastern MMAs, the season will end Jan. 23.
The minister noted the changes would also address some of the concerns regarding forest health in remote regions of the province.
“ Increased hunting pressure in these areas will assist in controlling habitat degradation caused by moose over-browsing forest vegetation,” added Johnson.
Meanwhile Eugene Nippard, chairman of the Save Our People Action Committee feels the changes are a good first step, but much more is needed to reduce the number of moose-vehicle accidents.
“ We’re not pleased with the number of moose licenses issued. We were hoping for a lot more, especially for areas along our highways, but that wasn’t addressed,” said Nippard, who resides in Grand Falls-Winsor. “ We wanted moose barriers/ fencing as well, but it seems like that’s all on the back burner.”
Nippard was in a car that hit a moose six years ago. He and two others were hospitalized.
“I got scars to take to my grave and my niece was injured too,” he said. “ Thank God, none of us was killed, but it gave us a bad fright.”
Nippard believes government officials are taking his group seriously.
“ They have no other choice, they know we have the support of the public behind us so they have to listen,” he said.
He credits the premier for making the changes.
“A few weeks ago he said something had to be done to control the moose population and it was,” says Nippard.
He also praises members of the Opposition for supporting his committee by tabling a petition, on their behalf, in the House of Assembly.
“ There were 28,000 names on that petition and that gave our goal, to keep moose off our highways, a good push,” he says. “
According t o Nippard t he amount of brush being cut from the sides of the road has increased significantly. “It’s gone from 20 to 50 per cent. We’re pretty happy about that,” he says.
More than 700 moose-vehicle collisions happen in Newfoundland and Labrador every year. By September 2009, four people had died after their cars hi t moose on the province’s highways. Accidents are reported year-round but more than 70 per cent of them occur between May and October.
Along with the new changes, Nippard and his group would like to see the creation of special licenses to allow hunters to kill “ nuisance” moose.
“ These licenses could be purchased at government offices for about $100 by those who qualify to hunt big game,” explains Nippard. “A moose hotline would be established so motorists who encounter a nuisance animal along the roadway could report the animals location. Then someone with one of these licenses could be contacted and asked to shoot the moose. This is a program we would like to see in place year-round and not just during the fall hunting season.”
Nippard says his group will continue to dog government to keep moose off the province’s highways.
“ There’s one moose for every four people in the province and that’s way too many moose. If we reduce the number of moose, we are going to reduce the number of accidents and that’s our aim,” he said.
MORE NEEDED - Eugene Nippard, chairman of the Save Our People Action Committee, feels the new regulations aimed at better managing the province’s moose population are a good first step, but much more is needed to reduce the number of moosevehicle accidents.
Provincial Wildlife Director John Blake (left), Environment Minister Charlene Johnson and Transportation and Works Minister Tom Hedderson are seen at a news conference announcing new measures to control the province’s moose population and increase driver safety.