Collar the killers
Last month, a cow moose and her calf were discovered shot dead behind the Highways Garage at Ship Cove. That’s right…shot dead. Wildlife may have called it poaching, but it’s worse than that.
I’ve seen a fair number of rabbit hunters driving down the road recently. They’re usually driving under the speed limit, their vehicles straddling the center line, drivers gazing into the ditches or the underbrush looking for unwary hares, themselves occasionally unaware that one or two cars have pulled up behind and are trying to get by. Suddenly the hunters realize a vehicle is behind and pull over on the brow of a hill or on a curve, where it is well-nigh impossible to pass. Although I haven’t experienced anything too objectionable concerning hunters, I’ve heard some tales. Some drivers have seen hunters firing weapons from inside their vehicles, and one driver came across a hunter flat on his belly in the driving lane, aiming a rifle at a rabbit in the distance.
When it comes to the recent killing of moose at Ship Cove, my guess is that some great white hunter decided haring after rabbits wasn’t nearly exciting enough, and went for something bigger.
I don’t hunt, but I checked the Internet and learned that poaching offenses can mean hunting without a license, killing wildlife outside the hunting season, using prohibited bait or traps, hunting from a moving vehicle, shining a bright light into an animal’s eyes to impair its natural defenses, or taking wildlife on someone else’s land—to name just a few.
Some residents in Ship Cove have said they could understand a person killing moose out of season if they needed food, although I question in this day and age whether anyone actually needs to shoot a moose for that reason. However, those I’ve spoken to have been disgusted at the sheer stupidity and cruelty of a person who would take deliberate aim at an animal and kill it, turn around and kill another, and then drive away.
Incidentally, whoever shot the cow and calf killed three moose; the cow, her calf, and the calf she was carrying which would have been born in the spring. It seems to me that these killers are very short-sighted; not able to think past the present moment, because if you take down three moose out of season that’s three less moose for another hunter next season.
I hope the authorities are scrupulous in carrying out their investigation; that they catch the offenders, and that they prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. Most people I’ve spoken to think the same: catch the perpetrators and throw the book at them.
Anyone who has read A.A. Milne’s book Winnie the Pooh to their children might be familiar with the following quote, which describes this recent shooting quite aptly.
“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” In other words, it may have seemed like a clever idea at the time to gun down a couple of moose behind the Highways Garage, but it was nothing short of senseless, demonstrating ‘very little brain’ and a complete lack of consideration for wild game or other hunters.
In Digby, Nova Scotia, recently, a rabbit hunter was checking his traps when an owl attacked him. Just previous to the attack, 55 year-old Kevin O’Neil had looked up at the owl in the tree and jokingly said, “You bugger, you better not be eating my rabbits.” But as far as the owl was concerned, O’Neil was trespassing on its hunting grounds, and the owl failed to see the humour in the trapper’s comment. Swooping down, it struck the hunter right in the face, feet first, driving three talons into his forehead and three around one of his eyes, knocking him down. O’Neil managed to scramble back up, but not before the owl had drawn a considerable amount of blood.
It’s too bad the moose at Ship Cove didn’t mimic the owl and knock the gun-wielding killer up the side of the head with her hoof.
My hope is that the law catches up with the perpetrators soon and, hopefully, they’ll be charged and the judge will throw the book at them, but if the judge isn’t willing to ‘throw the book’; perhaps someone could throw an owl instead?