THE Bloodvein First Nation "moose derby" is kaput.
A contest to harvest moose to put meat in people's freezers for the winter was called off after the province got wind of it last week.
Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson contacted Bloodvein First Nation Chief Roland Hamilton about the event last Friday and they agreed it had to be reworked to conform to practices used in traditional community hunts. In those hunts, no more than three moose are harvested and the community hunts only male moose to maintain a sustainable moose population.
The moose derby was to run Sept. 27 to Oct. 4 with first prize for the biggest moose being $5,000. Second prize would earn $2,000 and third prize $1,000. The smallest moose killed would earn $500. The hunt will now be watched by Manitoba Conservation to ensure those traditional practices are enforced and the harvested animals are shared with elders and families.
Bloodvein First Nation, located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, is along the Bloodvein River, about 190 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
A provincial spokesman said the hunt was organized by the community as a way to get more people to participate in the hunt. Over the past few years, fewer people have been hunting moose in the area because of the cost of gasoline and hunting supplies, including bullets.
Hamilton and organizer Oswald Turtle Sr. were unavailable to comment.
There are about 28,000 moose in Manitoba. The province has suspended all licensed moose-hunting seasons in the Duck and Porcupine Mountain areas until populations recover. The moose population is more stable in remote areas such as Bloodvein.
The province is also studying the prevalence of brain worm in deer to understand its effects on the local moose population. The parasite is normally found in its natural host, deer. However, it is fatal to other members of the deer family, such as moose.
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship will be looking at the presence of the parasite in deer heads harvested in parts of the eastern region of the province south of Bloodvein.
Hunters are asked to submit deer heads for examination at the Lac du Bonnet, Pine Falls or Seven Sisters Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship offices.