Hunting season once again
THE sudden onset of cooler weather across the Northwest comes just as moose hunters prepare to take to the bush this weekend. Opening day is always a busy time and it may be more so on the backroads as hunters try to locate signs of moose which haven’t been very active during the warm-weather lead-up to the season. If more hunters are roaming favourite areas instead of staying put in their favourite spots, there is increased danger when shots are fired.
Safety is so important during hunting season and we would urge moose hunters to bear in mind the possible presence of others in the area.
Hunters who use ATVs are reminded of not only safe operation but also of respecting private property. The ability to travel greater distances on all-terrain vehicles can bring hunters onto land with which they are not familiar.
Hunters who use boats in these cool, choppy fall conditions need to remember how hard it would be to stay afloat if the boat capsizes. All that gear and those heavy boots mean it is all the more important to wear a secured life jacket out on the water.
The hunting fraternity likes to answer its critics in part by insisting that it follows the rules. And yet every hunting season we report a series of infractions that range from minor to outrageous.
The most common involve hunters who cannot seem to help themselves from shooting an animal for which they do not have the proper tag or in an wildlife management unit where they are not supposed to be. The scrambling to try and make this look legitimate is the stuff of many court convictions.
At the other extreme are events like last year’s case in which hunters set loose dogs to drive deer from an island, then drove boats up next to the swimming animals to shoot them like fish in a barrel. The fines for that one were substantial, as they should be.
Please respect the rules of your sport. Otherwise, you give it a bad name and stand to lose all your gear if convicted. You will also give ammunition, if you will, to those who claim hunting is cruel and inhumane. Those who hold this view are growing in number and influence.
A bad name can also result from the proud display of a dead animal for all to see — including those who detest hunting and are horrified at the sight of a moose or deer hanging out the back of a half-ton on the trip home from the bush.
Please respect those folks who do not appreciate the North’s hunting heritage and cover your kill until you get to your destination.
Birds and big game are plentiful. Be safe, be legal and good luck with your hunt.