Saskatchewan eyes bigger moose kill after accidents
REGINA — Saskatchewan is considering allowing hunters to kill more moose, fearing the animal’s growing population roaming the rolling southern prairie is becoming a danger to drivers.
People crowded into a community centre in a small Saskatchewan town to pay their respects to a Mountie killed last week in a crash with a moose.
Hundreds of police officers, firefighters and emergency personnel from across the country were in Nipawin to remember Const. Derek Pineo, who grew up in Fall River.
Saskatchewan Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff says the animals are being drawn south as farms expand in size and the threat of human interaction shrinks.
There’s ample water and food and a lack of predators.
The government estimates there are 50,000 moose in Saskatchewan and about 5,000 of those now live south of Prince Albert, where the vast, sparsely populated forest gives way to fields and a network or highways and grid roads.
“It is quite a serious concern,” Cheveldayoff says. “With the increase in moose population come the increase in chances of collision.”
A decade ago it was rare to see a moose in the south — there were probably fewer than 200, estimates Chuck Lees, wildlife manager with the Ministry of the Environment. Officials are now trying to come up with ways to control the numbers.
A total of 2,650 hunting licences were drawn in the south this year, up 455 from the previous year.
Currently, the province is looking at controlling the population only through hunting. A cull would be a more extreme step and Cheveldayoff says the department is not at that point.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance, the Crown-owned insurance company, doesn’t keep track of the number of moose collisions reported each year, but Cheveldayoff says he is going to ask that it start.