CORNER BROOK Wildlife roaming into populated areas is not the only problem resulting from the urban sprawl on the outskirts of Corner Brook.
With neighbourhoods like those in the Sunnyslope Drive and Carberry’s Road area continuing to further into forested areas, some hunters have not been taking note that they can no longer stalk their prey in some areas were hunting has traditionally been permitted.
This fall’s big game hunting season is only a month old, but one hunter has already been charged under Section 111 (1) of the provincial Wildlife Regulations. That piece of legislation states that no one can discharge a firearm within 1,000 metres of a school, playground or school or within 300 metres of a dwelling.
Sheldon Anstey, acting chief of enforcement for the fish and wildlife enforcement division of the Department of Justice, said the person who was charged actually came forth because he believed the moose he had shot may have been taken illegally.
The moose was killed in a boggy area just off the north side of the Lewin Parkway. That is considered part of Moose Management Area 6, which is open to the annual moose hunt.The subsequent investigation determined the moose had been killed within a kilometre of a playground, even though the kill was further than 300 metres away from the nearest home.
“Ten years ago, you may have been quite safe hunting ducks in the ponds you hunted for 50 years or hunting moose in a certain bog, but now there’s a subdivision on the back of that,” said Anstey.
“So, what we’re getting is not only human-wildlife conflicts where you have bears and coyotes in around town, you have this hunting conflict and people calling us because they are hearing gunshots coming from a gully or pond that’s too close to their house.”
The violation is considered more of a firearms offence than a big game offence, so the licensed hunter in this particular case was issued a summary offence ticket and had four quarters of moose seized.
If he wishes to contest the ticket, he can do so in provincial court Dec. 4. His big game licence is considered filled for this season, but the hunter may apply for another licence next year.
The maximum penalty for discharging a firearm without exercising reasonable care for the safety of others is a $500 fine or six months in prison, or both. It will be $75 if he doesn’t contest it.
“We have seen a general trend over the last number of years of this type of incident rising and rising and have had a fair number this fall,” said Anstey. “All of the complaints are investigated. If it’s determined an offence has happened, they will be prosecuted.”
Anstey did not have any numbers on how many offences there have been so far this hunting season.
“The onus is on the hunter to know where they are hunting,” he said. “They have to be cognizant of where residences and playgrounds and schools are.”