Moose are apparently devouring vegetable crops in some parts of Newfoundland and farmers claim a change in provincial policy removes their long-standing right to shoot the moose at night.
Kent Fudge of Wooddale in central Newfoundland and Labrador said he lost $5,000 worth of cabbage in a single night. The moose take bites out of each cabbage, rendering them unsellable, he said. ‘It doesn’t take long to lose a lot of acreage,” Fudge said. “Basically, they are putting farmers out of business.”
The moose also go for turnips, broccoli and carrot tops, which then makes using a mechanical carrot harvester impractical, Fudge said. "Once they know it is there they come back every single night."
Shootings in the past
Fudge said he learned of the policy when he recently went to get a nuisance licence. Fudge — who has been farming on his own for 23 years and comes from a farming family — explained that in the past farmers could watch over their the fields at night with big, bright lights and when they caught the massive vegetable bandits in the act, they could shoot them, following a set of rules.
The rules, according to Fudge, included alerting wildlife officials of the kill, and then a moose-licensed hunter would be brought in to retrieve the meat so it didn’t go to waste.
He said farmers have always been careful and conscious of their surroundings when taking shots at moose.
Other than the crops that the marauding moose love, Fudge said, he only plants a small amount of lettuce and some potatoes. “The lettuce is only a joke and you can’t survive on potatoes,” Fudge said. “They’re going to put me under. It’s a drastic thing they got done.”
Mount Pearl Progressive Conservative MHA Jim Lester, a farmer by trade, said he has been looking into the issue and has tried to get answers from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, with no response.