Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

Drilling company, animal welfare group add to reward after white moose killed

‘It’s very heart-warming to see that issue of the spirit moose has gained some traction’a day ago By: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

202011-05 white moose MarcA white moose was shot and killed near Foleyet the week of Oct. 26. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is looking for the people responsible. Marc Clement Photography photo

The reward for information about a white moose killed near Foleyet now sits around $8,000.

The news about a white cow moose, that was killed and harvested on Nova Road sometime during the week of Oct. 26, sparked social media outrage. It also prompted Flying Post First Nation member Troy Woodhouse to offer a $1,000 reward that would lead to an arrest or encourage people involved to turn themselves in.

In less than a week, the initial amount has increased thanks to individual donations and offers from Missinaibi Drilling, and The Gordon and Patricia Gray Animal Welfare Foundation.

“It was nice to see that there are people in the community that care about the spirit moose,” Woodhouse said. “It’s very heart-warming to see that issue of the spirit moose has gained some traction and some people want to help out in these tough financial times … Hopefully, it leads to an arrest or someone coming forward about the crime.”about:blank

The drilling company offered to match Woodhouse’s reward, while the animal welfare foundation has offered $5,000.

“We’re very much against this kind of activity, illegal hunting, and we know how important (Indigenous) traditions are, so just agreed to do that,” said Gordon Gray. “We do everything we can in our foundation to support the wild being of wildlife.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is investigating the incident.

“In 2006, the MNRF protected predominantly white-coloured moose in recognition of their cultural and spiritual significance to First Nation communities, and for the purpose of enhancing wildlife viewing opportunities within the local Foleyet area,” the ministry’s spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski said in an email.https://0e39ca9bcb7c55a619ae5c319f375bd8.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

It is illegal to hunt and harvest predominantly white-coloured moose in wildlife management units 30 and 31.

Kowalski said white-coloured moose are not a separate species, and their colour may be caused by a recessive gene that occurs within the broader moose population.

If you have any information about the incident, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit P3tips.com.

If your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to $2,000 in cash. You will remain anonymous and not have to testify in court.

More Maine women likely to take up moose hunting

More Maine women likely to take up moose hunting

While the ranks of male hunters at Saturday’s lottery far outnumbered those of women, observers say with the continued growth in the number of female hunters in Maine, many are sure to migrate toward the fall hunt of the state’s largest big-game animal.

SCARBOROUGH — Kelly Lamoreau cheered and reached for the sky when she heard her name drawn at the Maine moose lottery Saturday at Cabela’s. In many ways, she was celebrating more than her third moose permit in 15 years.

A hunter of 21 years, Lamoreau was not only one of the 2,770 permit winners announced at this year’s lottery (some of the 2,820 who will receive permits), she is part of what may be a growing number of big-game female hunters stalking moose. While the ranks of male hunters at the lottery far outnumbered those of women, observers said with the continued growth in the number of female hunters in Maine, many are sure to migrate toward the fall moose hunt.

Christi Holmes and her 5 year-old Brittany, Argos, in February. Holmes started Maine Women Hunters on Facebook. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

“I think so. I know a lot of women who want to hunt. I think more will start to hunt moose,” said Lamoreau, 45, of Windsor. “It gives you confidence. I have confidence in myself. I don’t think it’s just a man’s sport anymore. I hope more women try moose hunting.”

Since 2010 the number of licensed female hunters in Maine has increased every year – from 17,078, or 9.6 percent of all hunters, to 21,178 women, or 13.3 percent of all hunters in 2017 – the last year for which the state has data, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The state applications for moose permits only require a hunter’s hometown, and not the person’s gender, so there is no way to know how many of the nearly 52,000 moose permit applicants this year were woman. But when Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso read the first 100 names of the lottery winners Saturday afternoon – dozens were women’s names, such as Barbara, Ashley, Susan, Sandra, Theresa, Bernadette, Michelle and Rachael.

There will be 2,820 moose hunting permits given out this year. Of those, 50 went into a separate lottery for Maine Registered Guides, and 2,770 were announced Saturday. Of those, 2,546 went to residents, and 224 went to nonresident hunters.The moose lottery costs $15 to enter. Once drawn, a resident moose permit costs $52, while a nonresident permit is $585.

This year’s 2,820 permits were an 11 percent increase from 2018, when 2,523 permits were allocated. That followed a four-year stretch when permits were cut by 49 percent because of the winter tick parasites that have hurt the statewide moose population, which is estimated between 50,000 and 70,000 by state biologists.

The fall moose hunts spans from September through November in different parts of the state. It is held in the northern tip of Maine, eastern and Down East Maine the third week of September; virtually everywhere in Maine the third week of October; in northern Maine again the last week of October; and in just two hunting districts in central and western Maine throughout November.

This year’s lottery drew a crowd of around 1,000 that spilled out of a large tent.

Registered Maine Guide Ron Fournier, who is also director of the state’s 4-H camp at Bryant Pond, said as he looked around that the crowd was clearly mostly men. But Fournier has guided more women hunters in the past several years and believes it is only a matter of time before more turn to moose hunting.

“I’d say among the women hunters, about 40 percent want to hunt moose. It’s a minority,” Fournier said. “Moose hunting is a huge time commitment, and there are a lot of barriers. You need a week off. You have to haul it out of the woods. With turkey hunting, you can go near where you live before work.”

Master Maine Guide Bill Finney, owner of the Patten Hunting Lodge,  has guided moose hunts north of Baxter State Park since the modern-day hunt first began in 1980. He also sees more women drawn to moose hunting, albeit slowly. In the past eight years, Finney had two female hunters who won moose permits stay at his camps. They were there on their own. One was a single mother from Maine and another was a woman from Michigan who came from a hunting family.

“There are more introductory programs for new hunters at places like L.L. Bean and Bass Pro Shop (which also sells hunting gear) and in wilderness areas,” Finney said.

And many Maine women at the lottery Saturday believe the ranks of female hunters here will continue to grow without a doubt, and one day that will be reflected at the moose lottery.

Jess DeWitt of Ellsworth, a hunter of 23 years, already was drawn in 2011, and many members of her family win permits. But she was hoping to hear her name announced again so she could do that “happy dance.” It was.

DeWitt, 38, said she’s seen more female hunters in the past eight years and thinks more will start moose hunting. She also believes more will pick up the outdoor activity – and her fiance agreed.

“A lot of her friends are curious about it. We’ve taken a half dozen to look for moose on the Stud Mill Road,” said Jason Crossman, also of Ellsworth.

Paula Billings of Wiscasset, who started hunting three years ago and got her first deer last fall, took it up after years of being a “hunter’s widow” because she enjoys being outdoors with her husband, Chuck. Saturday she was hoping to win her first moose permit

Paula Billings was one of two women in a hunting group of 11 who were after a moose permit.

“I really like being in the outdoors with him, and I really like being outdoors – period,” Billings said.

‘Large-bodied’ Canadian wolves to help keep U.S. moose population in check

WolvesWolves are seen in a 2009 handout image on Isle Royale National Park, Michigan. (Michigan Technological University, Rolf O. Peterson)

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, January 30, 2019 4:50PM EST 

The transfer of up to six wolves from a northern Ontario island where they were starving to the U.S. is getting underway following a weeks-long delay caused by the federal government shutdown south of the border.

The small pack, including the alpha male and female, will be moved from Michipicoten Island to Isle Royale National Park, on the U.S. side of Lake Superior, where American officials hope the wolves will help keep the moose population in check.

“We need to get these wolves off the island, otherwise they’ll die,” said Aaron Bumstead, director of lands and economic development with Michipicoten First Nation who is co-ordinating the move with the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Last year, the province and the First Nation used several helicopters to move a total of 15 caribou — a threatened species in Ontario — off Michipicoten Island. Nine of the animals were transferred to the Slate Islands, and the other six to Caribou Island.

They were the last remaining caribou from a once-thriving herd on Michipicoten Island that started with just eight caribou in 1982 and grew to more than 700 by 2013, when four wolves reached the island after making the 15-kilometre trek across an ice bridge that formed on the lake.

There they found a bounty of caribou to feast on. But as the small pack grew to more than a dozen wolves in the following years, their food source — the caribou — all but disappeared. Now the wolves themselves are in danger, said Bumstead.

“We’ve been asking (the ministry) for a plan to remove the wolves from the island since last year,” Bumstead said. “And there still is no plan to remove the ones that don’t get moved to Isle Royale.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said she wouldn’t comment on the wolves’ transfer until the animals were captured and transferred to the U.S.

Bumstead said efforts to capture the wolves on Michipicoten Island were unsuccessful Wednesday. The two wolves they saw wouldn’t come out from under cover, he said, so they’ll try again Thursday.

American officials and researchers with Isle Royale are anxious to receive the Canadian wolves because it will help save the park’s current pack, which dwindled this fall to just a non-breeding father-daughter pair.

The move was slated to occur in early January, but that was shelved because of the U.S. federal government shutdown, said Isle Royale National Park superintendent Phyllis Green.

“The Canadian wolves are robust, large and definitely know how to hunt ungulates since they took that caribou herd down to nothing,” Green said.

There is an overabundance of moose on Isle Royale, and without enough wolves to keep their population in check their numbers will continue to grow, said Rolf Peterson, a research professor at Michigan Technological University who has been studying the wolves and moose on the island for the past 48 years.

His research — the world’s longest running predator-prey study — was also threatened by the U.S. government shutdown. On Friday, just hours before U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily ended the government shutdown, the Isle Royale National Park had secured funding from a non-profit organization to go ahead with its part in the wolves’ transfer from Canada. The funding also allowed it to open the park to researchers to continue the predator-prey study.

“The shutdown jeopardized the integrity of the data and of the entire study itself,” said Peterson, who plans to return to the park as soon as the Canadian wolves are moved.

“These large-bodied Canadian wolves are incredibly important,” he said. “They can help save both the wolf pack and the balsam fir.”

The moose on the island, with a population of about 1,600, have decimated the balsam fir trees on the island.

Twenty-two years ago, a lone wolf, likely from Canada, made its way on an ice bridge onto Isle Royale, Peterson said, and was a wildly successful mate with offspring in every pack and eventually his genes made their way into every single younger generation wolf on the island.

“Then the kill rate of moose by wolves reached a level we hadn’t ever seen before in 50 years. They were killing 20 per cent of the moose every year, which had implications for the forest,” Peterson said.

“We saw forest regeneration we had never seen before.”

But that wolf, dubbed the “Old Grey Guy,” Green said, was so successful that inbreeding became very severe. Eventually the wolf population crashed and bottomed out at two, which is when the park decided it needed outside help. Four wolves were brought in from Minnesota in the fall, but one died of pneumonia a month later.

Green said they knew about the issues facing the wolves on Michipicoten Island and Michigan’s governor at the time, Rick Snyder, reached out to Ontario Premier Doug Ford to ask for “an infusion of Canadian wolves.”

Ford agreed.

“Let’s hope everything goes well with the move,” Bumstead said.



Photo credit: Dreamstime

Here’s another reminder to always confirm what you’re shooting at before making the shot. A Russian hunter recently shot and killed his son after thinking he was a moose. According to the Moscow Times, an investigator said, “The hunter fired a rifle into a moving object in poor visibility, mistakenly believing that it was a moose.”

Instead, it was the hunter’s 18-year-old son, who died from his father’s misguided shot. The incident took place in Khanty-Mansiysk in northern Russia, about 2,000 miles east of Moscow.

“Having come closer, the hunter saw that he mortally wounded his 18-year-old son,” the investigator told the Moscow Times.

Reports have not released the names of the father or his son. The father is charged with “death caused by negligence,” which means he could face possible jail time, the Moscow Times reports.


Youths aged 16 and older can now join in the moose hunt, which begins this weekend

For the Buckle family of Corner Brook, hunting is a family affair — one that goes back decades.

Matthew Buckle was waddling through snow to bring partridges back to his father almost as soon as he could walk. His wife, Tammy Buckle, also started hunting and fishing as a child, going out as a family with her 16 siblings. [!!]

“All my fondest memories of spending time with my father, it’s always been hunting and fishing,” Matthew Buckle said.

“It’s what I grew up doing. It’s what I love doing.”

Now the couple brings their own three children out hunting as well and this year their daughter Emily, who just started Grade 12, hopes to shoot her first moose.

Emily’s goal is possible this year due to recent changes in hunting regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most significant changes is the new minimum ages of 16 for big game hunting and 12 for small game hunting, Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne told CBC’s Corner Brook Morning Show on Friday.

Watch out, moose: hunting season starts Saturday. (CBC)

“We’ve taken a number of very deliberate actions to increase access to our outdoor heritage,” Byrne said.

Minimum hunting ages were previously 18 for big game and 16 for small game.

‘I want them to learn what I know’

The reduction in hunting age will give young people more opportunities to spend time in nature, Byrne said.

“One of the big considerations in this was when you provide an opportunity for our young people to get access to the outdoors, to get access to hunting, they learn very, very important skills at an early age,” he said.

“Not only do they learn better safety skills that they retain for a lifetime, but they also retain important conservation principles and values.”

Young hunters have to fulfil the same safety requirements as adults. (Ashley Taylor/Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association )

That’s a key motivation for the Buckles.

“I want them to learn what I know,” said Matthew.

“I want them to learn about nature and the ethics of hunting. I want them to know where our food comes from and how to get clean, organic, free-range meat for your future.”

Those lessons have resonated with daughter Emily, who says she enjoys time spent hunting with her family and values the food from their hunts.

“When you kill something, you get to eat it and you get to know where it comes from,” she said.

The shared experience is a source of pride and enjoyment for the whole family, Matthew said.

“It definitely makes me proud to see my own kids involved in the things that I love to do. It’s so enjoyable just to see them in nature, to see them interacting without their iPhones, without their Xbox.”

Training requirements same for youth and adults

The eligible age for hunting licences has been lowered, but the safety restrictions are just as stringent as they are for adult hunters, Byrne said.

“There will be no 16-year-olds that will be hunting big game without adult supervision,” said Byrne, who said the same is true for small game.

‘There are very, very strict requirements that are in place to be able to receive a licence and participate in the hunt, and safety and training are part of those requirements.”

Eligible hunters of all ages must complete a hunting test for firearm safety and a hunter education program, and the province is offering youth hunter skills workshops a few times a year in different locations around the province. A recent workshop in Deer Lake had about 50 attendees, Byrne said, and another will be held in Happy Valley-Goose Bay this weekend.

There will be no 16-year-olds that will be hunting big game without adult supervision.– Gerry Byrne

Safety is a key consideration for the Buckle family as well, and Tammy is a hunting safety instructor.

“‘When it does come to the firearms component, safety is of the upmost importance to us,” she said.

The couple have worked to instill a respect for and knowledge of hunting safety in their children from a young age, she said, including not just firearms but also rabbit snares and fish hooks.

Emily Buckle completed her firearms safety training before obtaining her first moose licence, and plans to practise before she goes out to hunt herself.

Such experiences, when done safely, are a valuable way to preserve both provincial and family traditions, Byrne said.

“It’s a great experience for a mother and a son, or a father and a daughter, to be out in our Newfoundland and Labrador outdoor heritage to participate in this.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The Corner Brook Morning Show

Donald Trump Jr. Ditched Secret Service to Go Moose Hunting

Two men fined $2,000 for hunting violations

One of the men is accused of firing twice down a roadway at a moose in the direction of a blind corner


bull moose adobestock_93928765 2017

Stock image

Two Spencerville men have been fined a total of $2,000 for hunting offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Steven Hopkins pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500 for unlawfully discharging a firearm on a travelled roadway.

Barrie Crawford pleaded guilty and was fined $500 for unlawfully possessing an illegally killed bull moose.

Court heard that on Oct. 16, 2017, Hopkins and Crawford were hunting on the Warren Carty Road near Foleyet when they observed a bull moose walking on the road.

Hopkins exited the vehicle and, while standing on the roadway in front of the vehicle, fired twice down the roadway at the moose in the direction of a blind corner. Crawford, who was driving the vehicle at the time, attached his game seal to the moose.

Justice of the Peace Nathalie Breton heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Chapleau, on April 11, 2018.

To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.

You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). And visit here to view an interactive, searchable map of unsolved cases. You may be able to provide information that will help solve a case.

Wildlife policymakers pander to sport hunters

This commentary is by Alana Stevenson, a professional animal behavior specialist who has an master’s degree in biology education and a bachelor’s degree in biology. She is the author of “Training Your Dog the Humane Way” and is certified in Low Stress Handling for dogs and cats.

The population of moose has drastically declined in Vermont due to winter ticks, brainworm, lungworm, loss of habitat and hunting. Yet the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Fish and Wildlife Board still support a 2018 moose hunt. For too long the department and the board (solely made up of hunters and trappers with vested self-interests) have catered to hunters and trappers at the expense of animals, wildlife, homeowners and non-hunting Vermonters.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board’s rationale (and that of many moose hunters and hunting guides) is that if the moose hunt is suspended, it will be hard to reinstate. And this is how wildlife policy is made — by pandering to “sport” hunters and irrational, self-serving thinking.

In the 1800s, the moose population was nearly wiped out because of hunting. Now the moose again are suffering. Moose who are injured and not recovered do not even count towards a hunter’s “bag limit.” How is this justified? Why is it that the Fish and Wildlife department and board cater to the few when the majority of Vermonters want to see ethical and responsible management?

If a person is killed because they are “shot” by a hunter, it’s labeled a hunting “accident.” You can’t drink and drive, but you can drink and shoot. Hunters seemingly don’t have to follow public noise ordinances. There are many Vermonters who don’t want to hear gunshots outside their windows or near their property. The fact that the non-hunting public and homeowners have so little say in the way wildlife is managed by Vermont Fish and Wildlife is undemocratic and irresponsible.

Animals can be trapped without having to be reported. Traps can be set nearly anywhere, including on public land near walking and hiking trails. Vermont allows killing “contests” and “open” seasons on a number of animals. The way wildlife is managed — or mismanaged — by Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife department and board needs to change.

There are many Vermonters who enjoy viewing wildlife. Wildlife provides peace, beauty and tranquility to hectic lives. Wildlife watching, including viewing moose, contributes to the economy. In many states, far more than hunting does. Those who like to view and/or photograph wildlife, hike, run, rock climb, ski, kayak, bike, birdwatch, paddle board, and participate in non-consumptive outdoor recreation need to have a say in how policy is made and how wildlife is managed in Vermont.

Fading wolf population to be restored at Lake Superior park



TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials have tentatively decided to transport 20-30 gray wolves to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan over the next three years to replenish a population that has nearly died out because of inbreeding and disease.

The National Park Service said Friday it will make a final decision in 30 days, after the public has had an opportunity to review a new environmental statement that endorses the restoration plan.

Wolves made their way to the Lake Superior island in the late 1940s. Since then, they have played a valuable role in keeping the moose population in check and have become a cherished symbol of the remote wilderness outpost.

But the wolves’ numbers have fallen drastically in recent years. Only two are believed to remain, posing a danger of moose overpopulation.