Whitehorse Daily Star

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SIGHT PROVOKES CONTROVERSY – These two halves of a moose in a freighter canoe in Mayo were seen as the disrespectful handling of game. No laws were violated, however, Environment Yukon says.

Hunters’ handling of moose was legal: C.O.

As unusual as it may have appeared,

By Chuck Tobin on October 6, 2017

As unusual as it may have appeared, there was nothing illegal about how hunters chose to handle their moose after shooting it recently, says a senior enforcement official.

Kris Gustafson is the director of conservation officer services with Environment Yukon.

He told the Star this week he understands completely how there must have been concerns when people in Mayo saw two halves of a moose in a freighter canoe.

None of the hide had been removed, and the quarters hadn’t been cut away.

The front half still had the head on, with the tongue hanging out, and the antlers were still attached.

The scene prompted Chief Simon Mervyn of the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun to issue a statement regarding how the Northern Tutchone were disappointed with the lack of respect hunters were demonstrating in their traditional territory.

They were concerned about how “improper treatment of the meat could lead to the waste of an important food source for the Nacho Nyak Dun.”

They also noted the large increase of hunters in their area, and how their use of use of off-road vehicles for hunting was impacting wildlife, and how they feel the pressure is not sustainable, said the chief’s letter, published in last Monday’s Star.

Gustafson said Environment Yukon certainly heard from many in the community at large who alerted the department to the photo on Facebook of the moose in the freighter canoe.

Conservation officers did contact the Yukon hunters and were assured there was no spoilage of meat, he said, adding the moose had been gutted at the kill site.

Gustafson said Environment Yukon encourages and teaches the more traditional method of handling a moose after it’s killed, the cool, clean, dry method.

That is to gut it, skin it and butcher it at the site, and keep the meat dry, which is typical of how most hunters do it, he explained.

Gustafson said leaving the hide on does keep the meat clean, and it’s a method used regularly by caribou hunters on the Dempster Highway.

It’s common practice to gut the caribou at the kill site, then drag the entire carcass to the highway to either skin and butcher it there or take it somewhere else to do it, he said.

Down south in deer country, Gustafson said, it’s also common for hunters to gut the animal and transport it somewhere else to skin it and butcher it.

But he does see how the optics of seeing a whole moose in the canoe with the hide, head and legs still intact could be challenging for people.

“The whole respect component is such a critical component of hunting, so I totally understand how people would say this is disrespectful and how it would not resonate with hunters who do not typically do that,” Gustafson said.

Comments (15)

Up 14 Down 3

BB on Oct 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Use a tarp. I don't know why. It's the decent thing to do? Does that count for anything?

I hope the Chief will speak up about what's going on up on the Dempster every year, talking about respect. It's not the Ross River people doing it, but it would sure help if they and other First Nations spoke up strongly.

Up 18 Down 15

Brenna on Oct 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Just tarp the damn thing. I don't need to explain to my kids, when they have nightmares after seeing a moose cut in half in a boat, how it was legal for the hunters to not finish processing the meat. They don't care about logistics - they care about seeing a dead animal purposefully cut in half and stuffed in a boat. It looks gross and people take offense. I process my meat on site, but who am I to judge...just tarp it!

Up 21 Down 13

Ahunter on Oct 10, 2017 at 12:55 pm

To An original hunter.
Agreed, there are far too many people taking game for which they have no use. They take everything they can, every year, again and again because they can. And the meat ends up with a dog musher, at best, or at worst in the dump.
However, in this case, how can you make that assumption? How do you know that these people had no respect for the animal? To my eyes, an animal brought home this way, clean, is more "respectful" than one butchered in the mud or sand. And how do we know it wasn't tarped over? It looks quite clean to me. And it's in a freighter canoe for gosh sakes, most hunters I know who use freighters tend to be pretty mellow, ethical people.

Up 26 Down 47

An original hunter on Oct 10, 2017 at 9:33 am

Never, never in all my years in the Yukon have I seen a moose dealt with in that way. That example shows absolutely no respect for the animal. There are so many so called hunters out there now that just want to kill animals, don't know how to care for a kill and don't even want to eat the meat.
As far as FN hunters having different rights, yes they do and for a good reason. Does that mean FN shoot cows, I can't remember the last time I heard of a FN person shooting a cow, so get over it and stop spreading untruths for your own gain.

Up 25 Down 12

Groucho d'North on Oct 9, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Its too bad that situations like this become the targets for all the social warriors to spout off about what they think is right and not. It appears to me that too many are minding the business of others too closely and should shut up. There are some poor souls who believe it is better to buy meat from the store because it does not involve the killing of animals. They have drivers' licences and are encouraged to vote too. Stay alert!

Up 37 Down 7

john henry on Oct 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

I would never display a moose like that around town, some take it as offensive some don't, my opinion.

Up 14 Down 14

Josey Wales on Oct 9, 2017 at 7:35 am

Hey PSG...your post less the last line, could be applicable to virtually all news of the day. I sorta thought with things getting easier for mankind, that we could use our brain to take a good rational look at situations.

Nope seems the Galapagos effect took hold instead, as so so many folks
are perpetually offended reacting emotionally to virtually anything.
Total non issue as you stated, thank you for such a factual post.

Up 32 Down 13

Miles Ocean on Oct 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Nothing wrong with this, used to be the way they used to deal with cattle in the bush on farms on Ontario.

Bet nothing was wasted and everything was hung nicely in a garage.

Up 36 Down 14

moose101 on Oct 8, 2017 at 6:35 am

Wow I'm impressed there must have been 3 or 4 hunters that front section of moose with head and horns probably weighs 500 to 600 lbs and would have been a grunt (no pun intended) getting it into the boat .
But they got it home and all was legal .

Up 45 Down 12

comen sense on Oct 7, 2017 at 11:33 am

This all makes sense to me. He made the moose lighter in pieces to get it in the boat, floated it all onto the trailer and got it home.

Up 80 Down 16

jeff keen on Oct 6, 2017 at 11:20 pm

The scene prompted Chief Simon Mervyn of the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun to issue a statement regarding how the Northern Tutchone were disappointed with the lack of respect hunters were demonstrating in their traditional territory.
Lack of respect?, last time I noticed your people are shooting cows. That is a good way to kill the population.

Up 36 Down 11

Todd on Oct 6, 2017 at 7:07 pm

This is NOT the way any hunter who cares for how the meat is going to be preserved. You remove the guts and hide as soon as possible. Let the meat cool down with air flowing over it in a shaded area if possible. Keep it clean with a game bag. This is nothing more that an inexperienced careless hunter. And the gas can next to the meat is never a good idea.

Up 26 Down 40

Yukon Justice on Oct 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm

It's not respectful to display an animal like that. You wonder why people, who don't hunt get angry. A tarp would have covered it. I bet an 'outside' hunter shot it.

Up 92 Down 19

ProScience Greenie on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

"But he does see how the optics.." There's the problem, too much worry about optics these days, not enough rational thinking. A complete non-issue with the moose in the canoe.

Up 129 Down 21

Ahunter on Oct 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm

If they got it home quick, probably not a bad way to go: hide is on to protect the meat etc. Get the carcass into a shop where one can do a good, clean job of butchering the animal. It's all about maximum recovery, right?
Having said that, the last thing I would ever do is have a bunch of jerry cans lying there by the meat. Empty or not, there always seems to be a bit of fuel in them, and they always seem to leak.
But what defines respect of a harvested animal anyway? First Nations are allowed to harvest cows, even pregnant. Is that "respectful"?

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