I’m a 70-year-old hunter who has concerns about how some people use their ATVs in the bush.
It seems now that wherever I go, sensitive habitat has been torn up by these vehicles. On the tundra, moss and lichens are shredded. They take many decades to grow back. Along lakes and marshes I now see deep muddy ruts from ATVs.
Recently, at Seagull Lake, I walked along the marshy shoreline where moose feed only to find the grasses and rich soil churned into mud.
I even saw a crushed shorebird in the ATV track. Can you imagine how fast and unaware that driver was to kill a bird right under its tires?
As more and more ATV users see that trail, it will become a roadway. Then, as soon as it is too deep and muddy, the next ATV will ride alongside to create a highway of destroyed muskeg. It saddens me to see this destruction. It’s not only ugly, but it also affects the food for moose.
I’d like to see hunters stay on the established roads or old mining roads. From there, they should park and walk to hunt. If I’m 70 and can still walk, surely these younger people can walk.
I’d also like to see licence plates on ATVs. That way, at least I could report wildlife harassment or habitat destruction. I once saw a terrible example of this. One hunter on an ATV roared through the tundra in the middle of the afternoon when moose bed down. He was trying to scare them to jump up so his partner, sitting up higher with a rifle, could shoot the moose in flight. Awful.
Maybe people need more education about lichens, mosses, swamp grasses and streams so they understand how roaring around on an ATV affects not only the land, but the animals they are hunting.