Thunder Bay

Hunters reminded to look before they shoot as moose rifle season opens

As the moose rifle-hunting season opens across much of northwestern Ontario this weekend, hunters are being reminded to look before they shoot.

New billboard campaign reminds hunters to use caution, properly identify animals

The Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have teamed up for a billboard campaign reminding moose hunters to correctly identify a moose before shooting. (Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance)

As the rifle hunting season for moose opens across much of northwestern Ontario, hunters are being reminded to look before they shoot.

That's the point of a new billboard campaign from the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance (NOSA), and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

"It's designed to grab the attention of hunters as they head up," said John Kaplanis, NOSA executive director. "What we're trying to do is to encourage hunters to be careful of what they're shooting at, in terms of their intended target."

"Primarily, what we'd like them to do is make sure they identify the correct moose that they're licensed for in the field," he continued. "We want to make sure that hunters take all care to minimize mistakes in the field, so that they don't shoot the wrong animal."

Part of the concern, Kaplanis said, is the documented decline in moose numbers in the region. While he said it's rare for a hunter to misidentify an animal, NOSA is still doing what it can to protect cows and calves to encourage a population increase.

Calves, cows sometimes incorrectly identified

Kaplanis said the reminders are especially pertinent when hunters go out in low light or inclement weather.

"When this occurs and a hunter is not licensed for that particular animal, unfortunately that animal goes to waste, many times, if it's not reported," he said.

"On a hunter's end of it, they may suffer charges or infractions under the enforcement regulations."
John Kaplanis is the executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance. (Supplied)

In addition, calf season starts a week after bull and cow season, Kaplanis said.

"In that first week, hunters really have to pay attention to their target," he said. "We just want to remind hunters to do that."

The campaign involves two billboards. One is on Highway 527 near Magone Road as motorists drive north towards Armstrong, and the second is on Highway 11-17 westward, just past Sistonens Corners, Kaplanis said.

He said the intent is to continue the campaign in future years with more billboards being erected.