Many stakeholders in the hunting community reacted after the results of moose harvesting during the last hunting season were released. Many are calling for increased measures to protect female mooses.
It should be remembered that in the early 2000s, with the aim of increasing the number of moose in the Quebec herd, the measure of rotation – protection of the female in one of two seasons – had led to very interesting results.
The moose population has doubled, reaching more than 110,000 animals before the hunt, while it was just over 60,000 before the implementation of the management plan.
“When we proposed certain measures of the management plan in 2014, we created a moose-eating machine because the population in several regions was too high,” explained Simon Lemay of outfitter Le Chasseur. We had to bring the population down, but now, after last fall’s results, the machine has to stop. The management plan, which was supposed to be published in 2023, will not be available until 2026.”
“We cannot let things go without intervening. We have written a letter to the Minister expressing our concerns. He can step in and stop the bleeding. »
This outfitter, recognized as one of the best in its field when it comes to elk, is part of a group of 10 wildlife areas in Bas-Saint-Laurent and a few in Gaspé that consider the situation for elk to be precarious.
“Last year’s air inventory in Zone 2, Bas-Saint-Laurent, shows a significant decline in the moose herd, which is no more than 7.4 moose per 10 km2, to explain the word of the group, Guillaume Ouellet, who said it also is President of Zec Bas-Saint-Laurent. It is imperative for the minister to impose a restrictive hunt for 2023 to protect the females and maintain the quality of the hunt going forward. »
CUSTOMIZE THE SYSTEM
Currently, the proposed system for regulating moose hunting is that of alternation. This means that hunters can harvest all population segments, namely males, females and calves, every two years.
On organized territories such as outfitters and game reserves, managers are able to adjust the number of female permits available or reduce the number of moose captured.
So, faced with the declining herds, Simon Lemay decided to reduce the number of elk caught in his area.
In the Rimouski Game Reserve, the number of hunting groups has been reduced. At Laurentides Wildlife Refuge, the number of permits issued to women fell from 200 three years ago to 39 two years ago and then to 0 last fall. These are examples of sound management.
AN ENLIGHTENING TABLE
In Region 01, in Gaspésie, we have chosen to randomly draw the number of female licenses available each year. This model could be extended to all
There is a very revealing table in the department files which clearly explains the differences between the methods of taking the female in the hunting season.
So if a female with two fawns is shot, there is a 50 percent chance that one of the fawns will die.
After five years, the offspring of the surviving fawn will be five animals, i.e. three adults and two fawns.
If we count on the survival of the two fawns, after five years the offspring will be eight adults and four fawns.
In the same table it is stated that with a selective harvest aimed at the fawn, after five years the rescued female and the other fawn are responsible for the appearance of 10 adults and five fawns.
This is scientific evidence that protecting the adult female allows moose numbers to increase significantly very quickly.
If we extrapolate the principle we apply here to a single female to all females in the Quebec herd, we can hope for thousands more moose in the Quebec herd five years from now.
The news announced yesterday as part of the federal government’s C-21 law, namely the waiver of the two hunting weapons clauses, proves that if the community comes together, anything is possible. Undoubtedly, the movements that defended the rights of the hunters in this file were able to prove to the government that it was a mistake to attack them by banning many weapons that were legally acquired and used in accordance with the laws in force.
NEW DIRECTOR AT ANTICOSTI
Sépaq Anticosti is now managed by Éric Harnois. The latter was until recently director of the Mastigouche Wildlife Reserve. There is no doubt that his operator and management skills will help advance Sépaq Anticosti’s mission even further. To replace him in Mastigouche, Sépaq decided to entrust Francis Desjardins, who had been director of the Saint-Maurice reserve for a few years.