The heat influenced the moose hunting season

Heat influenced moose hunting season


The moose hunting season was marked by heat in Bas-Saint-Laurent, hunters had to change certain behaviors and meat conservation became a real issue. 

“It's so hot that we have to get out [of the forest] faster. I lost some meat because of that. It warmed up a bit. In the shoulders, in the places where there is thicker meat, it cools less quickly”, told an experienced hunter to TVA Nouvelles.

During the last weekend of the hunt for moose at gunpoint, all the employees of the Center de debitage DF Rouleau and Les Heights had to work, since the heat was still there.

“As it's hot, we have to hurry to take out as many moose as possible, because the cold rooms fill up very, very quickly, so we have to work from 6 a.m. in the morning to 8 a.m. in the evening so that the moose do not overheat and there is loss of meat”, underlined Valérie Potvin, owner of the Center de debitage DF Rouleau, located close to a reception desk of the zec du Bas-Saint-Laurent, which hosts hundreds of hunters.

The owner plans to add a cold room during the winter so that it is ready for the next hunting season. “Since hunting will be permissive next year, there should be even more catches, and therefore it will allow us to hook about forty more animals,” she explained.

The animal also changes

The average temperature in October in the Bas-Saint-Laurent is normally 6.6 degrees. So far, the average is more like 10 degrees. “Three degrees above is a lot,” said Marie-Ève ​​Giguère, meteorologist at Environment Canada.

The original being an animal easily overheats, the temperature influences its behavior.

“When it's very hot, they can be more discreet, move around less. Things that hunters already knew, but that they have experienced more intensely in recent years,” explained Martin-Hugues St-Laurent, full professor of animal ecology at the University of Quebec in Rimouski.

< p>Several hunters have told TVA Nouvelles that they have seen fewer animals during the 2022 hunting season.

“While we would expect to see the males cover a lot of territory, respond to the vocal provocations of hunters, there we are going to scream ourselves doing these provocations in the forest and the animals will move less, ”added the researcher, adding that this influences the rate of encounters and therefore the success rate of hunters.

Dates set to change?

Could the heat hunters have had to deal with this year cause wildlife managers to change the hunting schedule in the region?

“ If we realize that the harvest is not high enough to maintain socially acceptable or socio-economically responsible densities, perhaps indeed, it could be a recommendation made, but we are not there for the moment, ”replied Mr. St-Laurent.