ILLEGAL MOOSE KILL IN NORTHEASTERN ONTARIO: 1997 – 2002
Conservation Officers found 793 illegally killed moose in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Northeast Region during the period of 1997 – 2002. Of these illegally killed moose, 365 were abandoned. The majority of abandoned moose were a result of illegal harvesting, as 68% of all abandoned moose had signs of positive human interaction with the carcass. Three hundred and twenty moose (40%) spoiled and were unsuitable for human consumption. Bulls were illegally killed at a significantly higher proportion, and calves at a significantly lower proportion, than their respective availability in the herd structure. Cow moose are illegally killed proportional to their availability. Illegal moose kills were positively and significantly correlated with moose populations, the number of applicants for adult validation tags, and the number of hunters checked by Conservation Officers. The illegal moose kill has both an immediate and a long-term impact on the regional herd population. An estimated 613 moose were not recruited into the regional herd as a result of illegal harvesting. Moose Watch, a program to reduce the region’s illegal moose kill was initiated in 2000, and was expanded province-wide in 2001. A toll-free 24-hour violation reporting line was established, and received 387 calls over 3 years regarding illegal hunting violations for a wide variety of wildlife species. During the 6 years, Conservation Officers in the region contacted over 108,000 hunters, issued 3,064 warnings, and laid 2,580 charges while conducting moose hunt enforcement duties.
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