NOSA responds to Moose Tag Allocations cut for Northwest Region Wildlife Management Units
Thunder Bay - The office of the Northwester Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance(NOSA) is citing inconsistent moose management policy as one of the key reasons for yet another large cut to moose tags for the region. NOSA Executive Director John Kaplanis is blaming the Northwest Regional office of OMNRF for signing off on the decisions to cut tags in this manner.
NOSA is citing OMNRF's over estimated harvest calculations in the formula as one of the primary contributors to seeing tags reduced so drastically in many wildlife management units(WMU's), therefore as a "fail safe" measure OMNRF is simply knocking back the adult moose tag allocations to a level that basically brings moose hunting to a near stand still in many WMU's. For example in WMU 13 around the city of Thunder Bay, only one resident bull archery tag is being allocated for the 2018 fall moose hunting season. NOSA believes that tag reductions such as this are simply a demonstration on the part of OMNRF to "punish" moose hunters for not participating in a voluntary moose hunter "post card survey" in recent years.
NOSA Exec. Director John Kaplanis claims this to be a "juvenile" move on the part of OMNRF here in the region when in fact this sort of practice does not occur in other regions such as the Northeast or southern region of OMNRF. He says, "basically it's one guy in their office who decides that he's going to fudge the numbers just a little bit, but by doing so it is enough to change the outcomes in their formula for calculating tag allocations and therefore this has caused a net reduction of almost 1000 tags across the entire Northwest Region."
Normally in the past, when moose tags are being calculated in between years of Moose Aerial Inventories (MAIs) the tag allocations would be held at status quo for usually no more than a 3 year cycle to determine trends in population dynamics and to determine if harvest management strategies are working. NOSA claims that in the Northwest Region OMNRF appears to have adopted a management cycle from year to year and this is not consistent with how other regional jurisdictions within OMNRF are operating.
NOSA wishes to point out that OMNRF's moose management policies also contain direction for maintaining moose hunting opportunities in order to therefore recognize and support the value of the socio-economic side of moose hunting. Moose hunting is a major economic contributor to many northern communities. Kaplanis believes OMNRF is not doing more to protect and sustain moose hunting opportunities in the region and as a result, moose hunter confidence is down, participation by moose hunters in the "post card hunter survey" is also down because of this. Furthermore, the Fish and Wildlife fund known as the Special Purpose Account (SPA) is suffering because of the large numbers of moose hunters who have dropped out of the activity in the past 3 years. OMNRF does not seem to be concerned that it is losing millions of dollars in revenue as a result of this.
NOSA has previously requested that OMNRF conduct a full review of the moose management practices by the Northwest Regional office, but this has fallen on deaf ears within the confines of the current provincial government.