Moose group to keep up lobby

Terry Roberts
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Proposal for plan to rid highways of nuisance moose goes to wrong minister

Members of an ad hoc lobby group formed last year to push for increased safety along the province's highways say they will not be deterred in their efforts to reduce the number of moose-vehicle accidents.

Four members of Save Our People met with Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale in St. John's Wednesday, and presented the minister with a plan that would allow hunters to kill "nuisance" moose.

Following a meeting with Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale, moose accident victims/advocates, (from left) Eugene Nippard (Grand Falls-Windsor), Linda Bishop (Goulds), Lucy Stoyles (Mount Pearl) and Roy Dodge (Torbay), speak to the media outside

Members of an ad hoc lobby group formed last year to push for increased safety along the province's highways say they will not be deterred in their efforts to reduce the number of moose-vehicle accidents.

Four members of Save Our People met with Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale in St. John's Wednesday, and presented the minister with a plan that would allow hunters to kill "nuisance" moose.

But it turns out they were meeting with the wrong minister.

"Unfortunately, most of it was not her department," said Eugene Nippard, who drove in from his home in Grand Falls-Windsor for the meeting, a distance of more than 400 kilometres.

The committee was told the plan would have to be presented to the Department of Environment and Conservation. Dunderdale promised to pass it along, Nippard explained.

Nippard said he was not frustrated by the lack of progress at Wednesday's meeting.

"We do believe these meetings will bring positive things to this province. We will keep fighting until the end," he said.

Nippard was joined by Mount Pearl Coun. Lucy Stoyles, whose daughter was seriously injured in a moose-vehicle collision last fall, and Goulds resident Linda Bishop, who is still recovering from injuries she suffered in a similar accident. Also present was Roy Dodge of Torbay, who has been lobbying for moose fences along some areas of the highway.

Dunderdale was not available for an interview.

But an official said the minister obligingly granted the group's request for a meeting.

"The minister committed that, together with the Department of Environment and Conservation, government will look at it," the statement read.

Under the proposed moose removal plan, the group would like to see the creation of special licences that could be purchased at government offices for about $100 by those qualified to hunt big game. A moose hotline would be established so motorists who encounter a nuisance animal along the roadway could report the animal's location.

Someone with one of these licences would then be contacted and asked to shoot the moose.

The program would be in place year-round, and not just during the fall hunting season.

The committee believes such a program would save lives and money. Nippard said there were four fatalities in the province last year, and nearly 800 moose-vehicle accidents. He said the costs to the health-care system and insurance companies could be dramatically reduced if the chance of a collision with a moose was diminished.

"If we can get the moose reduced along the highway, that's what's important to us," Nippard said. "That's where the accidents are."

A moose removal program may not be likely any time soon, but the committee has had success in its lobby efforts. It has brought the issue to the forefront at all levels, and resulted in a greater emphasis on roadside brush clearing and public education.

Last fall, it presented a petition to the provincial government containing more than 20,000 signatures.

"If you drive across this province you'll see a big difference in the brush cutting. Thank you, government," Nippard said.

With one of the highest population densities of moose in North America, and many kilometres of highway weaving through prime moose habitat, the debate about highway safety has been around in this province for many years.

The phrase "watch out for the moose" is often the last thing a motorist hears from family or friends before getting behind the wheel. And it's not hard to find a motorist who has either had a collision with a moose or a near-miss.

Many families have lost loved ones over the years, or continue to bear the physical and emotional scars from such accidents.

Former MP and noted sealing captain Morrissey Johnson of Catalina, for example, died following a moose-vehicle collision in 2003.

The committee said education programs alone are not working, and accidents continue to increase each year.

"We're not asking the government to kill every moose," Stoyles said. "But we want action taken."

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: St. John's, Grand Falls-Windsor, Goulds North America

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Recent comments

  • Twiggy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    The insurance companies will love you, but don't expect any decrease in premiums. In fact, they should pay for the cost of the moose licences, at $100 a pop, they'll save 50 times that over, on average, for every moose-vehicle accident you prevent. Approach the insurance companies and ask for sponsorship and garner more clout. Really, the same would go for our health care system, you'd think the government would lower the cost of the licences seeing how they'll save a heck of a lot more in not having to deal with as many people in the ER and OR for moose-vehicle accidents.

  • Chad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I don't this hotline is the answer at all. Why do people hit moose? Because they can't see them. Our highways are too dark! I think we should light the highways as much as possible with renewable energy.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Yes keep up the lobby. We should be allowed to go out and shoot a moose any time we wanted too in the winter months. There is so many of them out there on our high ways.

  • mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    So, if we d have a moose cull do you think Paul McCarnty will come poss for a picture with a calf?

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Didn't we already have a report on the excessive use of overtime. They want to have some waiting around for a phone call 24 hours a day. There is a police officer attending all moose accidents. They all now have a revolver so they should be instructed to take it out a shoot the driver if they are still alive. One less crazy on the road threatening my life and the moose.

  • member of the 20%
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Oh my...once again this Tory regime couldn't be upfront and inform the committee of the proper department to meet with. Again, this could have been avoided with simple communication. However, Deputy/Acting/Interim Premier Dunderdale would rather let these people travel hundreds of kilometres to get the news, rather than tell them in advance; or, better yet, facilitate a meeting for them with the proper department. Regardless, don't expect any decision any time soon; the puppets simply aren't permitted to make any.

  • I. P. Freely
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Yes, we get it 20%, Danny bad, Yvonne good. Give me a break. On another note, are these guys for real? they want to solve the moose problem by getting rid of particular mooses that like to play by the roadside. How patently ridiculous. There are thousands of these animals on or near the roadways, by the time you get to a phone, and buddy gets out of bed, gets in his pickup with his gun, gets to the location, gets out of his pick up and lights his smoke, loads his goun scratches his arse, and finnally saunters off into the woods, we expect the moose to be there waiting for him? Even if, by sheer luck the moose was still in the vacinity, and the guy shoots the moose, what is keeping the next moose waiting in line from wandering into the path of an oncomming car?
    It is not the moose, it is the inability of people to look furhter down the road then the hood of their car. People just don't know how to drive here, period. This will never change, and with an aging population it will only get worse.
    The answer as I see it is a major cull. Mosse don't natually belong to this island, if they are causing an issue let's reduce their numbers dramatically. If there is one thing we are good at here it's killing stuff. Should not be a problem. We could start out on the Avalon, kill every moose on the Avalon, then if hunters, outfitters want to kill a moose they could go into the interior. Not to mention everyone's deepfreeze would be full to overflowing.

  • Twiggy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    The insurance companies will love you, but don't expect any decrease in premiums. In fact, they should pay for the cost of the moose licences, at $100 a pop, they'll save 50 times that over, on average, for every moose-vehicle accident you prevent. Approach the insurance companies and ask for sponsorship and garner more clout. Really, the same would go for our health care system, you'd think the government would lower the cost of the licences seeing how they'll save a heck of a lot more in not having to deal with as many people in the ER and OR for moose-vehicle accidents.

  • Chad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I don't this hotline is the answer at all. Why do people hit moose? Because they can't see them. Our highways are too dark! I think we should light the highways as much as possible with renewable energy.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    Yes keep up the lobby. We should be allowed to go out and shoot a moose any time we wanted too in the winter months. There is so many of them out there on our high ways.

  • mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    So, if we d have a moose cull do you think Paul McCarnty will come poss for a picture with a calf?

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Didn't we already have a report on the excessive use of overtime. They want to have some waiting around for a phone call 24 hours a day. There is a police officer attending all moose accidents. They all now have a revolver so they should be instructed to take it out a shoot the driver if they are still alive. One less crazy on the road threatening my life and the moose.

  • member of the 20%
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Oh my...once again this Tory regime couldn't be upfront and inform the committee of the proper department to meet with. Again, this could have been avoided with simple communication. However, Deputy/Acting/Interim Premier Dunderdale would rather let these people travel hundreds of kilometres to get the news, rather than tell them in advance; or, better yet, facilitate a meeting for them with the proper department. Regardless, don't expect any decision any time soon; the puppets simply aren't permitted to make any.

  • I. P. Freely
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Yes, we get it 20%, Danny bad, Yvonne good. Give me a break. On another note, are these guys for real? they want to solve the moose problem by getting rid of particular mooses that like to play by the roadside. How patently ridiculous. There are thousands of these animals on or near the roadways, by the time you get to a phone, and buddy gets out of bed, gets in his pickup with his gun, gets to the location, gets out of his pick up and lights his smoke, loads his goun scratches his arse, and finnally saunters off into the woods, we expect the moose to be there waiting for him? Even if, by sheer luck the moose was still in the vacinity, and the guy shoots the moose, what is keeping the next moose waiting in line from wandering into the path of an oncomming car?
    It is not the moose, it is the inability of people to look furhter down the road then the hood of their car. People just don't know how to drive here, period. This will never change, and with an aging population it will only get worse.
    The answer as I see it is a major cull. Mosse don't natually belong to this island, if they are causing an issue let's reduce their numbers dramatically. If there is one thing we are good at here it's killing stuff. Should not be a problem. We could start out on the Avalon, kill every moose on the Avalon, then if hunters, outfitters want to kill a moose they could go into the interior. Not to mention everyone's deepfreeze would be full to overflowing.