Hunters need to speak out
As a moose hunter with 40 seasons under my belt, I know a little about moose hunting and how the population appears relative to a decade or so ago. Each season, for the past few years, it appears that more and more effort is required to bag an animal. This is in concert with survey results compiled by the Department of Environment and Conservation, which shows that moose population on the island peaked in the mid-90’s.
Yet, in spite of all the evidence pointing to a declining resource, government continues to increase both the allowable harvest numbers as well as increasing the length of the hunting season.
I fear that unless the 100,000 Newfoundlanders who enjoy hunting, both for food and sport, speak out for the welfare of the moose, this great resource will be lost.
People have to decide whether they want a forest alive with animals or whether they prefer a sterile, desolate, moon-like environment as their legacy to their children and grandchildren.
As it stands now, moose are being managed on the basis of who shouts most often on the open line shows. And politicians who make the decisions are hearing only silence from the outdoors people of this province.
As far as preventing moose-vehicle collisions is concerned, government needs to clear-cut and grass seed both sides of the highway to give motorists a better chance to see a moose before it moves unto the roadway.
In many areas this could be accomplished by allocating to domestic woodcutters specific lots along the roadways which they would agree to clear-cut in return for being permitted to freely take logs and firewood existing in their allocation.
This would allow contractors using mechanical brush cutters to move much more speedily along highways once larger trees were removed, leaving only alders and brush.
In every aspect of life we must balance the positive with the negative, the good with the bad, and so it is with the moose.
Frankly, I shudder when I see drivers speeding by me at night on highways where the alders touch the shoulders of the road. I fear not only for the driver, who has made a conscious decision to play Russian roulette with lives in the vehicle, but for the moose who will get all the blame. David Boyd writes from