WILLY BRANT’S DIARY
MOOSE AND DEER
Overheard quite a discussion while waiting in line at the Post Office the other day. Guys were saying the moose-hunters were striking out quite a bit this year, there doesn’t seem to be as many moose around any more. Of course they blamed the government, saying they obviously needed to reduce the hunting pressure for several years already. I am sympathetic, I usually blame the government for most things, and certainly Ontario has gone insane this past decade or two. My definition of insanity – consistently making decisions which are not in your own best interest, that seems to about sum it up.
Thinking that over, hindsight is always 20-20, and it seems to me one of the few places where the government shines is the MNR wildlife guys do a good job of managing wildlife, except of course when political pressure results in stupid mistakes. Could there be political pressure to keep the moose-hunting quota up, against their better judgement?
As usual my neighbour Joe has an opinion on the matter. “Of course it is all politics”, he spluttered. “the deer population exploded when the wolves all died of mange. We haven’t had a tough winter for them since, and the population keeps going up, and now there are even too many wolves because of so many deer” He was busy peeling potatoes, and stopped to wash them up and put them on the stove. “Everybody knows moose populations go down when deer population goes up, some kind of parasite or something, and no doubt there is political pressure holding back increasing deer hunting permits, after all Bambi is so adorable, too bad we didn’t have an adorable moose in our culture somewhere”.
Joe went down to the root cellar and came back with a great big old rutabaga, and started hacking on that. “Anyway”, he took up the conversation, ‘any trapper will tell you if those big old male bears don’t get shot in the spring, or starve before the moose start dropping calves, they will get on the trail of a cow moose and before her calf is even all the way out give it a slap and kill it, so cancelling the spring bear hunt has more to do with moose disappearing than anything else”
“Well”, I put in, “that certainly was political pressure, they caved in to a lobby from city folks with no idea as to what they were talking about, kept painting pictures of hunters shooting mommy and leaving poor little baby bears to starve. When the reality is that the spring hunt was males only, took away competition for food at the worst time of year for bears, so cancelling it made things worse for the cute and cuddly little baby bears” I had to stop for breath after that long speech. “Cute and cuddly”, snorted Joe. “As if”.