Moose Watch 2003 Under Way

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The Ministry of Natural Resources is launching Moose Watch, its annual enforcement campaign to prevent moose poaching.

Poaching contributes to a decline in the moose population, which leads to a reduction in allocations of adult moose tags and reduced opportunities for hunters.

"Responsible hunters have helped to make this program a success for the past three years," said Moose Watch enforcement co-ordinator Charlie Todesco. "Hunters are law-abiding and want to do everything they can to help prevent poaching and sustain the resource for future generations."

The slogan for Moose Watch is "We are watching -You should too." Moose Watch encourages hunters and the public to report poaching by calling a confidential special toll-free number, 1-866-34MOOSE (346-6673), as soon as possible so enforcement officers can investigate. The toll-free number will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week from September 15 through December 15, 2003.

Moose Watch is a co-operative effort involving the Ministry of Natural Resources, the OPP and Crime Stoppers. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also report suspected illegal activities through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Hunters and members of the public can pick up free Moose Watch violation reporting cards from Conservation Officers, ministry offices and some licence issuers and retailers.

"We're asking hunters to use these small cards, note the details of any incidents, and then call the Moose Watch line," said Todesco. "Those details could include location, names of people involved, vehicle descriptions and any other information that would be helpful in tracking down moose poachers."

All calls to the reporting line will be passed on to Conservation Officers to investigate.

The Moose Watch program also includes directed enforcement patrols by Conservation Officers, including assistance from aerial services, canine programs and partner police agencies.