Moose hunters threatened in Cape Breton Highlands

A showdown in the Cape Breton Highlands last week has sparked an investigation by the Department of Environment.

'If we weren't willing to go get a guide ... they were going to burn our vehicles,' says hunter

The Department of Environment is investigating a claim that a group of moose hunters were threatened and blocked from legally hunting in the Cape Breton Highlands. (CBC)

A showdown in the Cape Breton Highlands last week has sparked an investigation by the Department of Environment.

Tyler Hubley of Halifax said he and three other hunters with a hunting licence were travelling on foot within the Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault Wilderness Area, hoping to bag a moose.

"It was 5:30 in the morning, and we were approached by three men on ATVs," said Hubley.

The use of motorized vehicles is prohibited in the wilderness area.

Threats and intimidation

"They asked us where our guide was ...They told us that we needed a guide and that if we weren't willing to go get a guide or take one of them with us, that they were going to burn our vehicles."

A hunting guide is not required in the zone.

Hubley said one of the men approached his friend and flicked his hat.

"We calmed that situation down and we talked probably for 10 minutes, and then we headed off the mountain," he said. "They told us they'd make one phone call and they could have 30 guys. So, not being from the area, we decided that it was our best interest to probably walk away."

Department of Environment is investigating

The incident is a first, according to Troy MacKay, enforcement manager for conservation officers in the eastern region.

"We've had other incidents, not to this nature, that we've had to investigate in those areas. But not with someone actually disallowing someone to go into the hunt."

MacKay said conservation officers could lay two possible charges in this case: interfering with a legal hunt under the Wildlife Act, and operating a vehicle in the wilderness area under the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

Meanwhile, the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters is calling for speedy action.

Board member Mike Pollard said with moose hunting still underway in the highlands, there's potential for more dangerous confrontations.

"If they had come upon a group of hunters who were already loaded up, ready to hunt, and both parties are armed, that can escalate very, very quickly."

Read more stories from CBC Nova Scotia

About the Author

Holly Conners

Reporter

Holly Conners is a reporter and current affairs producer who has been with CBC Cape Breton since 1998. Contact her at holly.conners@cbc.ca.

With files from Maritime Noon