Hunters need to speak out

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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

Twill­ingate

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