Wildlife officers are investigating a possible moose poaching near walking trails in Corner Brook.
A team of fish and wildlife enforcement officers combed the wooded area in and around walking trails behind Margaret Bowater Park after someone alerted them to an injured animal Jan. 23.
Blood found on the snow and on the trees along a path of hoof prints in the woods between the pipeline and Corner Brook Stream indicated a moose had been badly hurt.
Sheldon Anstey, regional superintendent for the province’s Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division in western Newfoundland, said it was clear the moose had suffered either a gunshot or bow and arrow injury to the face or head.
The complainant, confirmed Anstey, never saw the moose and never heard a gunshot. The trail of evidence did not seem likely the animal had suffered a natural injury or an attack from another animal, he noted.
The trail of blood eventually diminished and officers trying to locate the moose lost track of it after it seemed to have entered the Corner Brook Stream. They searched until nightfall, but didn’t locate it and the search was called off.
Anstey said poaching a moose is a serious offence, but the fact a high-powered weapon of some sort was used in that area is even more concerning. The walking trails in the area are popular among outdoor recreation enthusiasts, even during the winter months.
Besides hunting violations, whoever was responsible for harming the moose may also face firearms charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, including careless use of a firearm.
The law stipulates no firearm is to be discharged within 300 metres of any home or within 1,000 metres of a playground or school. While the area in question may have been further than 300 metres from the nearest home, it was well within a kilometre of Margaret Bowater Park and the Blomidon Golf and Country Club, Anstey said.
The investigation into the incident includes the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and the authorities are looking to speak with anyone with knowledge of what happened or who might have seen any suspicious activity in the area.
Information can be provided anonymously and toll-free to the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Division at 1-877-820-0999 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222TIPS. Anonymous online reports can also be submitted at www.stoppoaching.ca or www. nlcrimestoppers.com.
The RNC can be reached by calling 637-4100.
This blood spattered on the snow helped convince fish and wildlife enforcement officers that a moose had been wounded by a high-powered weapon.