Thunder Bay

Moose shot, concealed, abandoned near Sioux Lookout, Ont.

This hunting season, conservation officers want hunters to know that if they make a mistake in the bush, they should own up to it, instead of trying to hide it.

Other incidents of animals left to waste in bush have been recorded this hunting season

Conservation Officers found a killed, concealed and abandoned bull moose in this area, off of Highway 642 between Sioux Lookout and Silver Dollar, Ont. (Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry)

This hunting season, provincial conservation officers want hunters to know that if they make a mistake in the bush, they should own up to it, instead of trying to hide it.

Conservation officers found a bull moose, which was killed and then concealed in a remote area off of Highway 642, between Sioux Lookout and Silver Dollar in northwestern Ontario.

"The person or persons involved in this particular case went through quite a bit of effort to conceal this particular moose that ultimately was wasted," said Gary Wearne, the area enforcement manager for the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry in the Dryden, Ignace and Sioux Lookout area.

"What had happened was they obviously dragged this moose to a location where there was two toppled trees exposing the root mass and they dragged the moose underneath the root mass that was pulled up from the trees tipping over. And then they've cut the top part of the trees to allow the root mass to fall back down to the ground to more or less cover the moose carcass and then the parts that were exposed. They concealed the exposed parts with logs and brush."

Wearne said he doesn't remember a case where somebody went through this much effort to try and conceal an animal that was probably harvested illegally.

He said there is a good chance the person who shot the moose either made an error in identifying the animal, or they did not want to go through the trouble of transporting the animal after killing it.

"I don't know the motive, per se, but there are so many avenues for people to call and identify if a mistake has been made, and it will be dealt with fairly," Wearne said, encouraging hunters to always call the Ministry, even if an error is made.

Wearne said it is disappointing since the animal's meat could be salvaged. He said if conservation officers are called, they will investigate, but also ensure the animal does not go to waste.

The incident is the first of an abandoned moose that Conservation Officers have dealt with in the Dryden, Ignace and Sioux Lookout area, but others have happened across the northwest region.

The impact of just a few moose illegally killed does have a big impact on moose management, said Keith Monroe, a wildlife biologist with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

"Moose are one of the most intensely managed species in Ontario, from a licensed harvest point of view. So, when tags are being allocated, it really includes a close consideration of the number of animals and the age and the sex," Monroe said.

"Bulls, cows, calves they're all closely considered in that decision. Any illegal harvest of moose that is happening outside of that system, so that definitely is of concern to us."

Monroe said it's difficult to say if these types of incidents are on the rise, but noted there are a few of them every year.

"Moose are obviously an incredibly valuable species for so many reasons. Highly valued for hunting opportunities, for their social and cultural importance, just their role in the ecosystem of Ontario.," Monroe said.

"This is not something that we want to hear, or we like to see"

Anybody with information on illegal hunting or abandonment of an animal is asked to call the 1-877-TIPS MNR (1-877-847-7667) or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.