5 cases of poaching already reported as hunting season opens in Gaspé

On the first day of the moose hunting season, wildlife agents in the Gaspé region have already reported several cases of poaching. Meanwhile the region is short-staffed and struggling to cover its immense territory.

Only one wildlife agent on duty in Grande-Vallée

Moose hunting season opened on Saturday in Gaspé, the Lower St. Lawrence, Chaudières-Appalaches and the Beauce regions. (photo Justin Hoffman/CBC)

Barely a few hours into the moose hunting season in the Gaspé, wildlife agents are already reporting several cases of poaching in the region.

Moose hunting season — with a firearm — officially opened on Saturday morning at 5 a.m.. Hunting with a crossbow has, however, been permitted since Sept. 29.

The New Richmond office of the Ministry of Wildlife said it found four female moose earlier this week that had been killed with a crossbow in a zone that was off-limits.

Two individuals linked to the incidents did not have the proper permits, according to wildlife agent Lt. Paul Montpetit.

The wildlife protection agency is also asking for the public's help for information regarding a separate case in Escuminac.

A moose carcass was found in the middle of the road, on Chemin Escuminac. 

The Ministry is asking for any witnesses to call SOS BRACONNAGE, at 1-800-463-2191.

Only 1 agent in Grande-Vallée

Wildlife agents in the Baie-des-Chaleurs area already have a lot on their plate, but their colleague on the northern part of the peninsula has to cover a 200-kilometre stretch alone.

Since the beginning of 2018, the Grande-Vallée office only has one agent on staff, responsible for the zone between Sainte-Anne-des-Monts and Gaspé.

The mayor of Grande-Vallée, Noël Richard, as well as the MRC Côte-de-Gaspé, are asking that a second person be recruited to ensure the territory is properly covered.

The Ministry says it has no idea when a second agent will be hired.

Only one wildlife agent is responsible for covering the Grande-Vallée hunting zone on the Gaspé peninsula, and the ministry cannot say if it will be hiring a second agent anytime soon. (Isabelle Larose/Radio-Canada)

Regional manager Dominique Gagnon said the agent in Grande-Vallée can count on the support from colleagues in Gaspé, which is nearly 100 kilometres away.

"There is not a single report that is not investigated. Today the collaboration and mutual aid between the offices are the norm for our offices in Gaspé and the Lower St. Lawrence," Gagnon said.

The ministry is dealing with a wave of retirements within its ranks.

It estimates it won't be able to fully fill the positions, with new recruits coming out of its training school in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, until 2020 at the earliest.

With files from Radio-Canada