Wildlife group on the hunt for poacher who shot moose out of season and left it to die

WARNING: This story contains an image that some people may find upsetting.

A moose left dying with bullet wounds on a B.C. forest service road has a wildlife group asking the public for help to find the poacher.

The Pemberton Wilidlife Association (PWA) is offering a reward to anyone who might have information about how the animal was shot and left for dead at the summit of the Hurley River Forest Service Road.

The road runs through woodlands just north of Pemberton, B.C.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service confirms that a mature bull moose was shot and died in the area some time between June 6 at 7 p.m. and June 7 at 9 a.m. PT.

“We are hoping some person with a sense of moral responsibility knows who did this senseless stupid act,” said Sgt. Bob Butcher.

PWA president Allen McEwan suspects the moose was illegally shot and left for dead by a poacher.

“This is completely out of season, there’s no moose hunting this time of the year, and to make a poor shot and leave a moose to suffer at the side of the road — it’s just a horrible act,” said McEwan.

James Slade
James Slade

Increasing oversight

Moose hunting is allowed in the area, but only in the fall. Hunters are legally obligated to pack up the carcass and utilize all the meat.

McEwan and other PWA members removed the dead animal so it wouldn’t attract bears. They’re hoping tips from the public could lead to finding the poacher and convicting them. Illegal hunting in B.C. carries fines of up to $50,000 and six months imprisonment.

James Slade
James Slade

McEwan says these types of incidents are rare but not unheard of. He says there are several unsolved cases in the Squamish and Lillooet valleys of animals that were shot in the fall and left behind.

He’s calling for greater provincial oversight in the area.

“If [the province] is going to allow people to hunt and recreate on Crown land, they desperately need to step up and put more enforcement personnel in the field on a regular basis,” he said.

“This is just an example of what happens when you leave a huge piece of Crown land unsupervised, and the province needs to step up and do a better job,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the PWA, or B.C.’s Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1 877 952-7277.

New Hampshire awards 49 moose hunting permits for October

Forty-nine people from seven states have been awarded permits to hunt moose in New Hampshire this October.

The state’s annual moose hunt lottery drawing was held Friday. Winners were selected from a pool of more than 6,000 applicants.

Nearly all of the 49 winners are from New Hampshire, but there also were also a handful from other states including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia.

The hunters are assigned to specific wildlife management areas.

The moose hunting season runs from Oct. 17-25. Last year, hunters killed 38 moose, a success rate of 76 percent.

2nd man faces murder charges in shooting deaths of two Alberta hunters

GLENDON, Alta. — A second person in Alberta has been charged in the deaths of a Cree-Metis hunter and his uncle, who were found shot to death earlier this year after family said they’d gone on a moose hunting trip.
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GLENDON, Alta. — A second person in Alberta has been charged in the deaths of a Cree-Metis hunter and his uncle, who were found shot to death earlier this year after family said they’d gone on a moose hunting trip.

RCMP say further review of evidence by the Crown that was gathered during the investigation has resulted in Roger Bilodeau, 56, of Glendon, Alta., being charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Anthony Bilodeau, 31, also of Glendon, already faces two counts of second-degree murder in the case and has pleaded not guilty.

Mounties say Jacob Sansom, 39, Maurice Cardinal, 57, were killed March 27 on a rural road near Glendon, about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

They’ve said several shots were fired after the occupants of two vehicles got into a verbal and physical confrontation and then a third vehicle arrived.

Police say Roger Bilodeau was remanded into custody after a judicial hearing Friday and will be appearing in St. Paul Provincial Court on June 18.

“As there have been multiple court appearances of the first accused in this investigation, the RCMP will not be commenting further as these matters are now before the courts,” RCMP said in a news release Saturday.

Sansom’s widow, Sarah Sansom, said last month that her husband’s family has had a trapline in the area near Glendon for almost a century and that he knew the area well.

She said he’d been working for a company contracted by Suncor Energy, but was laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The couple and their children lived in southern Alberta, but she said finances were tight so he drove seven hours north to hunt moose with his uncle near Bonnyville, where the family has hunting rights.

A date for Anthony Bilodeau’s jury trial has not yet been set.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Activist ‘shocked, disappointed, disgusted’ by province’s move to increase antlerless moose hunt

Moose hunt increase would ultimately protect mountain caribou, province says

Dan Simmons says cow moose and calves are essential for moose populations, so they should never be hunted. (Brian Tucker)
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Advocates for ending the hunt of antlerless moose are concerned about a potential increase in the number of cow moose and calves that can be hunted and harvested in some parts of the province.

For the past five years, Dan Simmons has been leading the charge for the Cow Moose Sign project, which was created to inform others about the importance of antlerless moose. He has signed agreements with local First Nations, guide outfitters and local governments to ensure protection of the local cow moose population.

“The cow moose shouldn’t be hunted at all, or the calf moose,” he told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk.

“If we harvest antlerless moose, we’re taking away from the population and it’s clearly known throughout the province …  that the moose population is declining. So why would we kill antlerless moose?”

He said he was “shocked, disappointed, disgusted” to learn the provincial government is looking at an increase to the number of antlerless moose that could be hunted this year — official numbers are expected to be released in the coming days or weeks.

B.C.’s director of wildlife and habitat, Jennifer Psyllakis, said the proposed numbers for moose cow and calf tags are not significant over last year — in 2019, 357 authorizations were issued, and this year, the province is looking to increase that to 400. Of the 357 tags issued in 2019, 79 antlerless moose were killed.

Reducing predators of mountain caribou

Reducing the number of moose in particular areas is expected to reduce the number of wolves, which are threatening mountain caribou, according to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development.

“Mountain caribou recovery is a top priority for this government; it is a worthwhile trade-off to remove a few moose, a species whose population is secure throughout the northern hemisphere, if it assists in saving another species from extinction,” the ministry said in an emailed statement.

“The number of authorizations that are being considered for antlerless moose are very localized, primarily in two areas of the province where caribou populations and herds are being actively managed for recovery,” Psykallis said.

“Almost all of the authorizations and all of the expected harvest is expected to occur within those very localized areas. The research that the province is working on is looking at multiple management actions that are aimed towards recovering caribou in these particular areas.”

Allowing people to hunt anterless moose will reduce the number of wolves in some areas, which in turn will help protect caribou, the province says. (British Columbia Forest Service/Canadian Press)

Simmons, however, doesn’t believe that one species should be “sacrificed” to save another.

He said he and his supporters, including B.C. MLA Donna Barnett, will continue to fight this decision. The B.C. Liberal party has started an online petition to end the hunt on antlerless moose. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had garnered more than 2,300 signatures since it was launched four days before.

“I want [the provincial government] just to know that we’re going to fight this to the end,” Simmons said.

“We’re going to try to stop this antlerless hunt.”

Alaska’s Remote Tribes Call for Emergency Hunting Permits During the Pandemic

Deer and moose seasons don’t start until later this year, but Kake is trying to get the OK for village residents to hunt for their own sustenance now.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/n7jxkm/alaskas-remote-tribes-call-for-emergency-hunting-permits-during-the-pandemic
By Jelisa Castrodale
Apr 17 2020, 2:51pm

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The tiny city of Kake, Alaska covers just under eight square miles of land on Kupreanof Island, one of the remote islands that make up southeastern Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago. It’s one of only two real settlements on the island, and because it isn’t on any road system, it’s only accessible by a twice-a-week state ferry, or by plane. (“Except for weather-related interruptions,” a U.S. Department of Transportation website says of the daily flights.)

But Alaska hasn’t been exempt from the coronavirus pandemic—it wasn’t even the last U.S. state to report a confirmed case—and as of this writing, the state has had 300 confirmed cases and nine deaths attributed to the illness.

Some local government leaders in the state, including tribal leaders, have started to become concerned about interruptions to the supply chain, and what that might mean for the availability of groceries. According to KTOO, supplies are shipped from Seattle to Kake on an Alaska Marine Lines barge—a trip that can take as long as a week—and some recent deliveries have been short on essential items.

As a result, the Tribal President of the Organized Village of Kake has taken the unprecedented step of asking the federal Office of Subsistence Management if residents can get emergency permission to start hunting larger animals out of season. Kake is surrounded by the Tongass National Forest which, at more than 17 million acres, is the biggest national forest in the United States.

“We have not [made a request like this before],” Tribal President Joel Jackson told VICE in an email. “We have two stores, one regular store, and another that is smaller. There have been problems getting orders filled from their suppliers, fresh meat, dairy products and other things, so the request was made to have something in place to ensure we have a plan if the stores continue to have problems getting meat.”

Deer and moose seasons don’t start until later this year, but Jackson is trying to get the OK for village residents to hunt for their own sustenance now. Unsurprisingly, it’s a complicated, bureaucratic process.

“I think it’s really easy to say, ‘Open a season and go harvest animals for food,’ and recognize the importance of that and the availability of that,” Ryan Scott, the assistant director of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation said. “However, we need to consider the biological implications of that as well.”

Earlier this month, the ADF&G closed all black and brown bear hunts in the state through May 31, but subsistence hunts are still allowed “as a way for residents to have an opportunity to fill freezers and provide for families.”

For Jackson and some residents of Kake, the ability to hunt seems even more essential right now. “Processed meat is not near the quality of the fresh meat of moose and deer,” he said. “At this time our traditional foods are what our elders and tribal citizens need to ensure their immune systems are strong […] We, or anyone else for that matter, don’t know how long this pandemic will last, and if we are experiencing supply shortages already, we need something in place to provide for our people.”

Opinion: It’s Time to Bring Wildlife Policy Into the 21st Century

On issues like deer population control, state agencies are prioritizing hunters over public health and the environment.

TUCKED IN the far northeast corner of the United States, nestled beneath two Canadian provinces, lie the sweeping forests and coastline of Maine. The residents here have strong ties to the land, with many families having worked the same farms and woodlots for generations. So, as a wildlife ecologist and environmental communications researcher, I listen closely when they talk about their rising concern over ticks. Repeatedly, I hear that ticks weren’t a concern until the last few years. Now, everyone seems to know someone who has contracted Lyme disease, one of several tick-borne diseases rolling northward across the region as the climate warms.

Similar stories are playing out in other parts of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 Americans contract Lyme disease each year, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Some people are lucky and manage to receive treatment early, despite the confusing process for diagnosing the disease. Others are less fortunate and report battling a series of crippling symptoms for years.

There’s a relatively straightforward way to curtail the spread of Lyme disease. Research has shown that by appropriately managing the population of deer, the primary hosts of Lyme-carrying ticks, rates of Lyme disease in the northeastern U.S. could be reduced by as much as 80 percent. But due to an antiquated federal law, the state agencies tasked with managing wildlife populations have another, conflicting interest at heart: hunting. Not only does this law have the effect of prioritizing hunting concerns over ecological and public health concerns, but it has put the agencies themselves on the path to bankruptcy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 Americans contract Lyme disease each year, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest.

To be clear, the U.S.’s skyrocketing deer population is not solely to blame for the rise of tick-borne diseases. Other factors also play a role, including warmer winter temperatures and increasing relative humidity due to climate change. But the deer population is the primary culprit: The deer tick, responsible for transmitting the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, feeds primarily on the blood of deer during the adult stage of its life cycle, and several regional studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between deer population density and the prevalence of Lyme disease.

Colleagues of mine at the University of Maine recently showed that tick populations and the risk of Lyme disease can be cut substantially by maintaining the deer population below about 10 deer per square mile. When the population is below four deer per square mile, even the secondary effects of climate change become irrelevant to Lyme risk. Yet, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife continues to set deer population targets above these thresholds, at 10 to 15 deer per square mile in the northern part of the state and 15 to 20 deer per square mile in the southern part of the state. The reasons have little to do with wildlife conservation and everything to do with economics.

Like other state wildlife agencies in the U.S., the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was established with the original purpose of regulating hunting and fishing. And like most wildlife agencies, it is funded largely via these activities — through license sales, through an 11 percent tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment, and through a 10 percent tax on handguns, as prescribed by the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act. The revenue is distributed to states based on their land area and their population of licensed hunters. Funding support for a state’s fish and wildlife agency is therefore closely tied to the number of licensed hunters in that state.

But those hunters constitute a slim demographic. Nationally, only about 4 percent of American adults hunt. Of those, roughly 97 percent are white and 90 percent are male. Due to their status as a primary source of funding for wildlife agencies, this small group exerts disproportionate influence over wildlife management planning. As a result, wildlife agencies have a strong incentive to maintain deer — a favored species for hunting — at numbers far larger than would naturally occur in a healthy ecosystem. Although the agencies often claim that their policy decisions are nevertheless based on science, research has shown that those claims do not always hold up to scrutiny.

The repercussions of this conflict of interest go beyond Lyme disease. Bloated deer populations come with a long list of concerns, including increased risks of vehicle collisions, higher rates of disease transmission among deer herds, and even decreases in songbird populations. Although the sight of a deer grazing in a backyard might be taken by many casual observers as a sign of a healthy ecosystem, wildlife ecologists recognize it as a disconcerting signal that the animals are becoming domesticated. By hunting deer’s predators to near extinction, humans have not only changed their numbers but also their behavior. We have disrupted what scientists refer to as the “ecology of fear.”

The Pittman-Robertson Act has often been used by the gun lobby as leverage to win policy debates and evade regulation. One example is the continued use of poisonous lead ammunition, which threatens the health of wildlife and can contaminate soil and drinking water. The ammunition is especially harmful to vultures, coyotes, and other scavengers — members of nature’s “clean-up crew” that help to limit the spread of diseases like rabies. Ecologists and public health advocates have pushed to eliminate the use and sale of lead ammunition, but their efforts have consistently been met with strong opposition from the gun lobby and hunting community. To win public support, pro-gun lobbyists have proclaimed that every sale of a lead bullet supports wildlife conservation efforts through the Pittman-Robertson Act, when in reality, every sale does direct harm to natural ecosystems and indirect harm to public health.

By hunting deer’s predators to near extinction, humans have not only changed their numbers but also their behavior.

The Pittman-Robertson Act isn’t merely outdated environmental policy; it is also fiscally unsustainable. A nationwide survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the number of hunters declined by more than 18 percent between 1991 and 2016. There are roughly half as many hunters today as there were 50 years ago. This number is expected to continue to dwindle, and as it does, so will revenue streams for state wildlife agencies. Already, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been forced to address a roughly $4 million per year funding gap by reducing staffing levels, hampering their efforts at habitat conservation and invasive species control.

Increasingly, Americans are taking to the outdoors not to hunt but to enjoy other forms of recreation. More than a third of all Americans now participate in activities like bird watching, wildlife photography, or visiting parks for the purpose of observing animals. These recreationalists reported spending nearly $76 billion on related expenses — including binoculars, tents, and lodging — in 2016. Those numbers will come as little surprise to anyone who has noticed the crowds in our National Parks or the increased demand for hiking permits on trails like the Pacific Crest Trail.

This cultural shift in the way that we value the outdoors presents an opportunity to simultaneously shore up state wildlife agencies’ financial outlook and better align their interests with those of science and health. A tax on non-hunting outdoor gear could not only replace the revenue currently collected under the Pittman-Robertson Act but surpass it — and continue to grow. And, importantly, it would foster a more inclusive approach to wildlife conservation by removing the disproportionate influence of the hunting community.

Good governance requires accepting cultural shifts and continuously finding ways to update outdated policies to match a society’s changing needs. For the sake of our ecosystem and our public health, it’s time we abandon the Pittman-Robertson model and broaden our wildlife conservation priorities from regulating game species to protecting the full range of biodiversity.


Elyse DeFranco is a wildlife ecologist and environmental communications researcher. She is currently based in Maine.

Guide fined for illegal hunting in Noatak preserve

February 8th 6:28 pm | Shady Grove Oliver, The Arctic SounderPrint this article   Email this article

http://www.thearcticsounder.com/article/2006guide_fined_for_illegal_hunting_in_noatak

An out-of-state hunting guide who illegally led trips to the Noatak National Preserve has been fined and banned from ever hunting in the state again.

“The approximate 6.7 million acres of the Noatak National Preserve include remote and pristine habitat for Alaskan wildlife,” wrote U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder in court documents. “The defendant, a resident of Idaho, repeatedly violated state and federal law by unlawfully providing guided bear and moose hunts in the Noatak National Preserve.”

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason, who handled the case, put forth the ruling last Wednesday. The defendant, Paul Silvis, 52, of Nampa, must also serve six months of home confinement and five years of supervised release as part of his sentence.

Silvis was motivated by financial gain, Schroder wrote in a sentencing memorandum. In total, he received about $121,500 for his illegal guiding services. A total of seven brown bear and one moose were unlawfully taken during the hunts, which he led between 2009 and 2016. He also provided false business documents to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in order to mislead officials.

In October, Silvis pleaded guilty to two felony Lacey Act violations. The Lacey Act covers illegal wildlife trafficking.

“Lacey Act violations cause significant environmental damage, are often difficult to detect, and are committed in the context of the highly-regulated guiding industry,” Schroder wrote. “By committing these offenses, the defendant not only harmed the natural resources of the Noatak National Preserve, but, also, greedily diverted business away from law-abiding guides.”

In order to hunt big game like brown bears in Noatak Preserve, non-resident hunters have to contract with a legal guide, as well as have the appropriate documentation like permits and game tags.

Gleason fined Silvis a total of $20,000 for the violations and noted he will not be allowed to hunt in Alaska again.

Idaho man fined $20K, banned from hunting in Alaska after illegally guiding hunts

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason on Wednesday also ordered Paul Silvis, 52, of Nampa, to serve six months of home confinement, to be followed by five years of supervised release, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Silvis in October pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Lacey Act, the law that bans illegal wildlife trafficking, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder said in the announcement.

Silvis from 2009 to 2016 repeatedly violated state and federal law by providing guided hunts in the Noatak National Preserve in northwest Alaska, prosecutors said. The preserve covers 10,265 square miles and protects the nation’s largest unaltered river basin and watershed.

Silvis was motivated by financial gain, Schroder said. Silvis received about $121,500 by illegally selling and providing guide services. Hunts he guided killed seven brown bears and a moose.

Non-resident hunters after brown bears in the Noatak Preserve must contract with a licensed big game guide, possess state permits and buy big game tags.

Silvis advertised his unlicensed guiding services under the name “Orion Outfitters,” prosecutors said. In September 2013 and September 2014, prosecutors said, Silvis guided illegal hunts for other residents of Idaho who did not carry appropriate big game tags.

Silvis transported illegally taken game across state lines and submitted false business records to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to conceal the illegal take, prosecutors said.

Fairbanks man snared dozens of moose to use as wolf bait, troopers say

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/crime-courts/2020/01/17/fairbanks-man-snared-dozens-of-moose-to-use-as-wolf-bait-troopers-say/

  •  Author: Alex DeMarban
  •  Updated: 16 hours ago
  •  Published 20 hours ago

A Fairbanks trapper faces misdemeanor charges after he admitted snaring more than two dozen moose to use the meat as bait for catching wolves, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported this week.

Joseph Lyndon Johnson, 24, was charged in early January after an Alaska wildlife trooper investigated a trapline the man had set, the newspaper reported, citing an affidavit for a criminal complaint.

The trooper, investigating the man’s trapline on March 21 near Hess Creek north of Fairbanks, found a trapped live wolf next to a moose carcass. He also found two marten traps, still set though the season ended weeks earlier.

The trooper set up a camera to observe the trapline. That was soon stolen.

Days later, a trooper, after flying over the area in a helicopter, found that only part of the moose remained. The moose contained markings suggesting it had been snared around its snout. Other evidence suggested it had been hauled there by sled. The wolf had been removed.

A necropsy showed the moose had been trapped in a snare.

After finding records showing Johnson had taken a wolf, the troopers received a search warrant for his home. They found the missing camera, a gray wolf, and other items showing Johnson operated the trapline.

The man admitted to snaring 25 moose to use for wolf bait, the newspaper reported, citing the affidavit.Johnson faces four Class A misdemeanor charges, according to online court records. They include using game as animal food or bait, unlawful possession or transportation of game, and two counts for leaving the marten traps out after the season closed.

Officials with the Alaska State Troopers did not immediately provide comment on Friday.

A class A misdemeanor can bring one year in jail and a $10,000 fine, state records show.

Highest rate of deer accidents in southwest Finland

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The town of Raseborg averaged one white-tailed deer accident every day last year.

Hirvistä varoittava liikennemerkki valtatie 23:lla Kankaanpäässä.
An elk warning on Route 23 in Kankaanpää, western Finland. Image: Mari Kahila / Yle

November is the most hazardous time of year for road accidents involving game animals. Last year there were more than 12,000 such accidents, peaking in November, according to Statistics Finland.

More than 6,200 collisions involved deer, of which there are several species in Finland, while nearly 2,000 involved elk. For elk-related accidents, September has the highest rate.

Last year the largest numbers of deer and elk crashes were in Southwest Finland, Uusimaa (which includes Helsinki) and Pirkanmaa (which includes Tampere).

According to data collected by the insurance company LähiTapiola, the southwestern town of Raseborg (Raasepori in Finnish) had the highest number of white-tailed deer accidents, 365, or an average of one per day.

Story continues after photo

Valkohäntäpeuran vasa katsoo suoraan kameraan
A white-tailed deer fawn. Image: Jouni Minkkinen

Close behind was the neighbouring town of Salo with 318, and Loimaa, just to the north, with 258. There were also many in Sastamala and Urjala, both in Pirkanmaa.

Most elk crashes in Kouvola and Kuopio

Kouvola and Kuopio both reported the highest number of elk collissions, 36, followed by another eastern city, Mikkeli, with 31. Close behind were Jyväskylä in central Finland and Kurikka in Southern Ostrobothnia.

Elk hunting season begins in September in northern Finland. It is allowed by permit throughout the country from 15 October through 15 January. White-tailed deer may be shot from late September through mid-February.

European elk (Alces alces) are known in the United States and Canada as moose, a name that stems from the indigenous Algonquian languages. They’re not related to the smaller species of deer known as elk or wapiti in North America.

Finland’s rapidly expanding population of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), meanwhile, stems from five animals brought from the US state of Minnesota in 1934 as a gift from Finnish-Americans.