MOOSE HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHYSICALLY-CHALLENGED HUNTERS IN ONTARIO: A PILOT STUDY
A 7-year pilot study was conducted in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 11B in northwestern Ontario to increase moose (Alces alces) hunting opportunities for physically-challenged hunters by providing and early fall gun season. The definition of a physically-challenged hunter was a person with permanent impairment of the lower limbs that limited movement to wheelchair use only. Each physically-challenged hunter was allowed to use an assistant to assist with racking, field-dressing, and dispatching a wounded animal. Participants were required to participate in the regular adult validation tag draw system to obtain an adult tag or to hunt for calves only. Up to 10 physically-challenged hunters participated in the hunt each year. No more than 2 moose were harvested during the early season in any year. The program was well received by local hunters but attracted very few hunters from outside of the vicinity. There was considerable interest in broadening the program both geographically and by the definition of physical disability. Implications of such an expansion are discussed.
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