Ontario conservation safeguarding against hunters without scruples

The Ontario government is safeguarding moose populations from unlawful hunting.

A resident of Ayton pleaded guilty to hunting a cow moose without a licence and abandoning the moose, allowing the meat to spoil. He was fined $8,000, had his hunting licence suspended for one year and was required to re-attend the Ontario Hunter Education Program.

The court heard that on October 17, 2022, a conservation officer inspected a moose hunting group returning to southern Ontario in possession of a cow moose and several unfilled tags on the third day of the moose season.

Shortly after contacting the hunting group, the officer received information that a cow moose had been shot and abandoned in the vicinity of Eayrs Lake, northwest of Thunder Bay.

Through the assistance of other hunters, the officer was able to determine the Ayton resident was hunting in the immediate area of the abandoned cow moose.

The investigation led to a search warrant being executed at a residence in Ayton where officers learned that the resident had been hunting for moose near Eayrs Lake and had mistakenly shot two cow moose when his group had a tag allowing them to harvest one cow moose. Rather than reporting his mistake to conservation officers, he and his hunting party fled the area, allowing the moose to spoil.

Justice of the Peace Nancy Tulloch heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Thunder Bay on September 6, 2023.

To report a natural resource problem or provide information about an unsolved case, members of the public can call the ministry TIPS line toll free at 1-877-847-7667. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS. For more information about unsolved cases, please visit ontario.ca/mnrftips.

Alan Bisset, a retired ministry biologist and the former wildlife inventory program leader with the Ministry of Natural Resources, wrote that … “the best moose management program in North America. Unfortunately, managers did not practice “adaptive management” and the program failed to produce the expected increase in the moose population.” (Sudbury Star 2021)

He added in his article at that time (2021) that, “MNR had the first glimmer that things weren’t working properly in the early 1990s, but the information system had problems. These were cleaned up and by 2000, there was unequivocal evidence that the population was being mismanaged by MNR itself.”

He added that, “It has been my experience that, when a proposed program change is accepted for implementation, it ends up in a committee that has little understanding of the program. They often make changes without consulting the “architect” and the changes invariably result in problems.”

In his article, he also pointed out that, “The second major failure is that the minister has not included First Nations in the management process.”

To read Bisset’s article and report, CLICK HERE.

Alan Bisset is a retired regional moose biologist and wildlife inventory program leader with the former Ministry of Natural Resources. He has written and published many papers on moose management, both Internally and in scientific journals. Bisset lives in Strathroy, west of London , Ontario.