Ex­tra li­cences a ‘good start’

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS

A Port de Grave res­i­dent who con­tin­ues to re­cover from a moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent nearly three months ago is pleased with news that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment will in­crease the num­ber of li­cences avail­able to hun­ters this fall.

Jean Pike is also happy that the hunt­ing sea­son will be ex­tended for a week, which is in ad­di­tion to the three­week ex­ten­sion that was im­ple­mented for the 2009 hunt.

“I think it’s a postive step,” Pike told The Com­pass fol­low­ing an an­nounce­ment on April 7 by En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Ross Wise­man that 5,020 ad­di­tional li­cences will be al­lo­cated for the 2011-12 hunt­ing sea­son.

But Pike still be­lieves strongly that the gov­ern­ment needs to con­sider un­der­tak­ing a pilot pro­ject to fence some ar­eas of the Trans-Canada High­way where moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents have been a prob­lem. “More can be done,” she said. The 2011-12 Hunt­ing and Trap­ping Guide and big game ap­pli­ca­tions have been mailed to all qual­i­fied res­i­dent big game hun­ters in New­found­land and Labrador.

Of the 5,020 new li­cences for moose on the is­land, just over 4,600 are ei­ther sex li­cences in man­age­ment ar­eas that bor­der the Trans-Canada High­way and ma­jor trunk roads.

But 100 per cent of the ex­tra li­cences should have been for ei­ther sex, added Pike, who re­cently joined the “Save our peo­ple ac­tion com­mi­tee,” which has been lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment to take ac­tion against the grow­ing num­ber of moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents.

“I’m hop­ing no­body goes through what I’m still go­ing through,” she added.

Pike does not ac­cept that ar­gu­ment that fenc­ing would not be ef­fec­tive, or is too ex­pen­sive.

She said other ju­ris­dic­tions, in­clud­ing New Brunswick, have proven its merit.

Pike is a so­cial work­er­who works in long-term care in St. John’s. On Jan. 20, while driv­ing from St. John’s to Port de Grave, her car struck a moose just be­fore theAvon­dale turnoff.The moose came across the op­po­site lane of the Trans-Canada High­way and into her path. It was just af­ter 5 p.m.

The roof of her mid-size sedan was peeled back and the wind­shield caved in.

Pike said she was driv­ing the posted speed limit, and there was no time to re­act.

“It’s been very over­whelm­ing — a ma­jor in­ter­rup­tion in my life. But I pretty well walked away. I’m one of the luck­ier ones,” she told Transcon­ti­nen­tal Me­dia for an ar­ti­cle that ap­peared in the March 26 edi­tion of The Tele­gram.

Pike had been mak­ing the com­mute only since last sum­mer. She spent two nights in hos­pi­tal, re­ceived 14 stitches to a fa­cial gash, suf­fered a con­cus­sion and broke bones in her nose.

She still suffers se­vere fa­cial pain, is on med­i­ca­tion and goes to ther­apy. She is not back to work yet and still has some con­fu­sion and con­cen­tra­tion is­sues. She’s also lost her nerve for driv­ing.

Largest in­crease

Mean­while, the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment sees the in­crease in li­cences as a ma­jor step to­wards mak­ing the high­ways safer for mo­torists.

“ We have in­creased the num­ber of li­cences … in an at­tempt to coun­ter­act the num­ber of moose-ve­hi­cle in­ci­dents that are oc­cur­ring,” said Wise­man.

The over­all quota for moose on the is­land will now 33,440. In­cluded in this to­tal are 50 new non-profit moose li­cences, for a to­tal of 250 li­cences avail­able to reg­is­tered non-profit and char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions.

As a re­sult of a new moose man­age­ment har­vest regime es­tab­lished by Parks Canada, in­volv­ing both the Gros Morne Na­tional Park and Terra Nova Na­tional Park, an ad­di­tional 530 li­cences are avail­able in the prov­ince’s res­i­dent big game draw pro­gram.

El­i­gi­ble big game hun­ters may par­tic­i­pate in the prov­ince’s moose and is­land’s cari­bou draw for a li­cence or pool ad­vance­ment by sub­mit­ting an ap­pli­ca­tion in the mail or by go­ing o n l i ne and vi s i t i n g www.wildlife.gov.nl.ca.

The dead­line for re­ceipt of moose and cari­bou ap­pli­ca­tions is the close of busi­ness on May 6.

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