Moose hunters wait to have say
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
IT’S time for action to prevent a further decline of moose populations in Northern Ontario.
Hunters are waiting for their chance to chime in on proposed changes to moose hunting across the region. However, the Ministry of Natural Resources hasn’t announced when the public will be allowed to comment on its Moose Project, which is looking at how many moose Ontario’s habitat can sustain and possible changes to how and when they can be hunted, such as adjusting hunting season lengths.
Although, the province has said it plans to seek public input on these new approaches this summer, we’re wondering when that will be, as the month of August approaches.
This review should have wrapped up by now so that changes could be made to this fall’s hunting season.
The remaining moose herds across the region can’t wait for another year of mismanagement. The wildlife management units (WMUs) of concern include WMU 8 near Dryden, WMU 6 near Kenora, and WMU 13 near Thunder Bay
For example, in 2000, the moose population in WMU 8 was among the highest in the province in terms of per-square-kilometre density. Unfortunately, the population has dropped from a high of more than 3,000 moose to about 600 today.
The herd decline is just as great in WMU 6, and herd numbers are also dropping fast in WMU 13.
The MNR has blamed the population drop on a number of factors such as harvest, predation, parasites, habitat condition and low calf numbers. And, while the ministry says it is working to determine how to best respond to emerging pressures on moose through its Moose Project, we haven’t seen any movement yet on long-term moose management changes.
Granted, the MNR has cut the number of moose tags available in the annual tag lottery to try and stem hunter success, but there are so many other things that could help reduce the decline.
Last month, the office of the MNR’s deputy minister, Tracey Mill, said “the ministry will continue to explore options to monitor and manage any changes in the moose population.
“This includes the moose project, designed to assess the number of moose in the province and set long-term population objectives, as well as assess how and when moose can be hunted. Details about the moose project will be released later this year. The ministry plans to engage stakeholders, including key representatives from northern organizations such as Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance, on the project,” Mill’s office said.
However, NOSA executive director John Kaplanis says that response leads the alliance to believe that the MNR may do little else except continue to manage hunter harvest of moose.
He said this alone will not provide sufficient improvement to the moose population, and stresses that the alliance believes it is time for MNR wildlife managers to get committed to moose management in the region.
We agree. Northerners are waiting to provide input on what we think is best for our moose. Let’s get on with it.