Extra licences a ‘good start’
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.
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.