DEER LAKE — The provincial government added about 5,000 extra moose licences for sale to local hunters back in the spring. Perhaps it should have talked to some local outfitters and hunters before doing so.
Some local hunters say the extra licences go too far in culling a species that is already on the decline in some areas. Parsons Pond outfitter Roger Keough said he has been driving in Gros Morne Park for decades and he sees a difference in the moose population today versus 30-plus years ago.
“There was a time when you would see 98 moose or so on a drive up through the park, and now there are days when I don’t see any,” he said. “So in some areas at least the numbers have dropped pretty fast and that’s bad news.”
He said more moose are being killed on local woods roads, while in the interior areas they aren’t being killed as much. The population of moose was already going down so it wasn’t necessary to issue more licences, he saids.
Keough recognized moose-vehicle accidents have been happening, which was the main reason for issuing the extra licences. But believes speed is the biggest reason for most of those accidents.
“I see it every day when I’m driving, when people are driving 130 or 140 km/hr with no regard for their own safety or the safety of others there will be accidents and if a moose shows up on the highway at the same time it’s even worse,” he said. “Speed is the biggest problem, I think, if there were only two moose left in Newfoundland I’d say they’d end up on the side of the road.”
Keough said his outfitting business in Parsons Pond has seen an increase in visitors in the past year, making it more important to him that wildlife is better protected.
“They said they have to kill off 50,000 moose but if they do that it will have a big effect on the population and it will affect those of us who make our living in this business,” he said. “It could be the same for us as it was for (commercial) fishermen when the fishery collapsed if they aren’t careful.”
Daniel’s Harbour outfitter Leander Brophy said from his point of view there are areas that needed extra licences, but others that do not. He feels the government had another reason for issuing the extra licences.
“We are seeing a drop in the population in some zones, but no drop in others,” said Brophy. “They had to issue the (extra) moose licences to replace the caribou they took from us.”
The moose hunt begins Sept. 10 in most areas, with hunting for bow hunters beginning on Aug. 27. For more information and a more complete schedule visit www.gov.nl.ca.Paul Hutchings
Two moose cross the highway just south of Rocky Harbour. Local outfitters say extra moose licences added recently by the government may not be necessary for some areas.
Courtesy of the Telegram