Sudbury

Lodge owner near Foleyet says new moose tag allocation hurting business

A hunting and fishing lodge owner in Foleyet says he had to shut down his business for the moose hunting season this year due to changes in the tag allocation.

It is the first time Richard Comeau has had to shut down for moose hunting season in 20 years.

Richard Comeau has owned and operated Horwood Outpost near Foleyet for close to 20 years. (Submitted by Horwood Outpost)

A hunting and fishing lodge owner in Foleyet says he had to shut down his business for the moose hunting season this year due to changes in the tag allocation.

Richard Comeau has owned Horwood Outpost for two decades. He says this year he received only one cow tag. Comeau says that isn't enough for a business to stay open for the season.

He says the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been cutting back on the tags since 2000. He says he's lost $180,000 in revenue since then.

Comeau says when he first bought the place, he had seven bull moose tags.

"When I bought the camp, the tags were with the camp. If the ministry wants to take those tags away from us they should purchase them from us. I mean we bought that investment, you know. We made that investment and I think that is wrong, totally wrong. If they want the tags they should pay us out."

Comeau says the ministry has cited a declining moose population for the changes. If that's the case, he's wondering why the Ministry gave him a cow tag, which he says makes no sense. He suggests a simple solution would be to cut the season down from six weeks to 10 days.

"It's too long for nothing. They should shut it down, give it a shorter season. That's all if they're so worried."

Comeau is worried about the future of his business, and says he's already down $15,000 for 2020.

"I don't know if I'm gonna be able to keep it because the insurance is high and all the money you're losing every time. It is like bear hunting, they took all the bear tags, always it was the same thing. We can't win one way or the other. Everything is taken away from us. And they say small businesses should thrive in Ontario but they're not, they're dying."

Comeau hopes to get a meeting with himself and other outfitters with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to talk about the problem.

"It's disgusting. They should be helping us out, not killing us."

Officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry responded to the concerns in an email.

It states that in spring 2019, the government tasked the Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC) to advise the province on how to improve management of moose in Ontario, with a focus on improving quota setting and tag allocation. The proposed changes to moose management result from BGMAC's recommendations.

It has recently posted a proposal to revise moose management on the Environmental Registry for public feedback. All comments received will be reviewed and considered prior to a final decision.

About the Author

Jan Lakes

Producer

Jan Lakes is a producer at CBC Sudbury. You can reach her at jan.lakes@cbc.ca or find her on Twitter @lakesCBC.

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