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Ontario's Moose Watch 2003 Under Way

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Ontario's Moose Watch 2003 Under Way

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Location: Northwestern Ontario
Joined: 05/29/2003
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Ontario's Moose Watch 2003 Under Way

Last spring I attended a seminar put on by Charlie Todesco at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay on the subject of illegally killed moose in Northwestern Ontario. I had heard that hundreds of moose are shot illegally in this area, and went to the seminar very skeptical of these claims. I was appalled at what I learned. According to Charlie ( a conservation officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources ) the ministry has documented proof of over 600 moose taken illegally in recent years. Many hunters have been charged and successfully prosecuted over some of these animals, but many more cases have gone unsolved. Some animals are mistakenly killed by hunters who can't or won't, in the excitement of the moment, take the time to properly identify the sex of the animal they are looking at. In other cases hunters shoot adult moose when they only hold tags allowing them to harvest calves. Some of these people are apprehended trying to smuggle animals out of the bush. Others are caught later based on information gathered from other hunters in the area and evidence found at kill sites. In many cases, when they learn they have killed an animal they don't have a validation tag for, many hunters will simply walk away from the animal, leaving the carcass to rot in the bush. In some cases moose are poached by hunters frustrated with their lack of success in the adult validation tag lottery system. Although the problem seems to be most severe in the eastern portion of the district, it is of grave concern throughout all of Northwestern Ontario. In recent years the courts have been handing out fines in the thousands of dollars and have been imposing hunting lisence suspensions on those found guilty, but it doesn't seem to be stemming the tide. The number of moose known to be killed illegally is obviously factored into the number of tags that will be made available to ethical hunters, resulting in lost opportunities for the law abiding sportsmen. After seeing Charlie's presentation I came away shocked and disgusted with what's happening. There will never be enough conservation officers in the field to totally prevent the loss of these animals. It would seem to me that the only way to bring the problem under control is if the law abiding hunting community takes a stand and supports programs like Moose Watch 2003. That kind of vigilance, coupled with stiff sentences from the courts has to put an end to this nonsense.

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Ontario's Moose Watch 2003 Under Way

Amen, brother.

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