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Moose Watch program a success

Hunters and the public are helping to make the Moose Watch program a success.
Hunters and the public are helping to make the Moose Watch program a success.

Further information is included in the following news release issued by the Ontarion Natural Resources Ministry:

WAWA — Ontario’s enforcement campaign to prevent moose poaching continues. The Ministry of Natural Resources has received 173 calls through the Moose Watch reporting line this year. A total of 486 charges have been laid as a result of the Moose Watch reporting line and other tips and field investigations by conservation officers.

“We are very pleased with the response we continue to receive for the Moose Watch program from hunters and the public,” said Moose Watch Enforcement Co-ordinator Charlie Todesco. “We’ve had close to 700 calls to the Moose Watch reporting line since it started operating in 2000. This positive response is what makes the program such a success.”

Enforcement statistics resulting from calls received between September 15 and November 1, 2004:
• 200 tips have been received from the public (173 Moose Watch and 27 other tips)
• 61 unlawfully hunted moose have been seized
• 51 moose have been discovered shot and abandoned
• 486 charges have been laid and 210 charges are pending related to illegal moose hunting
• 968 warnings have been issued
• 157 investigations are under way in areas where moose hunting is permitted

Moose seasons in most Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in northeastern Ontario close on November 15, 2004, and in northwestern Ontario on December 15, 2004. Moose seasons in selected units in southern Ontario closed on October 23, 2004.

The slogan for Moose Watch is "We are watching –You should too." Moose Watch encourages hunters and the public to report poaching by calling a confidential toll-free number – 1-866-34MOOSE
(346-6673) as soon as possible so enforcement officers can investigate. The toll-free number will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until December 15, 2004.

Hunters and members of the public can pick up free Moose Watch violation reporting cards from ministry conservation officers, district offices and some licence issuers and retailers. Hunters who witness a poaching incident are asked to use these cards to note details that would be helpful in tracking down moose poachers. All calls to the reporting line will be passed on to conservation officers to investigate.

Moose Watch is a co-operative effort involving the ministry, the OPP and Crime Stoppers. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can also report suspected illegal activities through Crime Stoppers at
1-800-222-TIPS (8477).