The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has laid dozens of charges after a blitz on moose hunters.
Last week, conservation officers checked 3973 hunters, 1,090 being from the Parry Sound district. Officers were checking for compliance with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and associated regulations, paying particular attention to hunter safety and moose sustainability issues. In the district, MNRF laid approximately 43 hunting charges, 10 pending charges and issued 52 warnings over a nine-day period
Charges and warnings were issued for:
- shooting from, along or across a road
- having a loaded firearm in a vehicle
- night-hunting related offences
- not wearing proper hunter orange
- trespassing for the purpose of hunting
- failing to wear a proper helmet on an ATV
- not having a lifejacket or safety equipment on a boat
- hunting moose, white-tailed deer or migratory birds without a licence
- failing to immediately seal a moose
- failing to immediately seal a deer while party hunting
- harvesting a moose without the appropriate licence
- hunting moose and white-tailed deer in the closed season
- using lead shot to hunt migratory birds
- failing to leave a fully feathered wing on a migratory bird for identification purposes
- providing a false statement to a conservation officer
- having open liquor in a vehicle
- driving an off-road vehicle without insurance
Over the course of the blitz, officers also seized 33 moose that were harvested illegally, 21 of which were seized in Parry Sound alone. Two firearms were seized as well.
In addition, 17 investigations are ongoing related to hunter safety, moose sustainability, and chronic wasting disease.
According to Robert Gibson, a staff sergeant with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, a majority of charges laid were for hunters shooting unauthorized female moose and telling enforcement that they shot a calf. Maximum penalties under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act are anywhere up to $25,000.
In circumstances with firearm infractions, additional penalties could be laid depending on the severity of the infraction.
“The important thing, is for hunters to clearly identify their targets. That’s where people were getting themselves into trouble this year. Hunters weren’t clearly identifying a cow moose as such and that’s the main issue we have in Parry Sound,” Gibson added.
“That’s detrimental to the moose population if unauthorized female moose are hunted, it can affect future offspring. If she is a big moose, she could give birth twice in one year,“ said Gibson.
With Deer season in effect over the next two weeks, it’s important for hunters to properly identify targets and follow safety measures with respect to firearms in vehicles, wearing orange colours and safe practices out in the field to avoid steep penalties.