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Seals on the Ice

Last Sunday, I had left my home to drive to grandmother’s house in Nameless Cove for a big turkey dinner on Easter Sunday. Driving through the community, I saw a black spot on the ice.

Division No. 9, Subd. C-20130331-01594

The seal is at the edge of the beach.

Division No. 9, Subd. C-20130331-01598

Another seal is close to shore, as pack ice had blocked the Strait of Belle Isle. The land in the background, well that’s “The Big Land” – Labrador. I’m not sure people believe me when I saw, “I can see Labrador from my window,” but it is true.  Just a short 15 kilometres between us and still no plan to connect us by a fixed-link. Advancing transportation and telecommunication networks will be key to Southern Labrador and the Great Northern Peninsula‘s future long-term sustainability. Quebec is completing Route 138 (Lower North Shore Highway), this means Montreal will be just 13 hours drive from this province. It will transform the shipping of goods and services. The current administration promised a feasibility study – a link has not yet materialized. Instead it has opted to build a multi-billion dollar energy project, laying cables on the ocean floor that will interfere with our way of life, the fishery – our mainstay, versus going underground with a tunnel. It was noted in a pre-feasibility study that if both projects were paired, savings of nearly $400 million would be realized. More work is needed exploring a fixed-link, but advancing transportation networks is imminent, we can not continue to be plagued with annual increased rates at Marine Atlantic and an unreliable schedule for shipment of goods and services. These costs are ultimately passed on to the consumer.  We need to be more strategic and consider where we need to go over the long-term, but not forget our roots – our beginnings.

Seals played a critical role in the development of our as a permanent settlement. In the early 1800′s they were a major food source, as the island had only 9 types of mammalia. Additionally, as a British Colony, we shipped both whale and seal oil to the homeland. This oil was used in lamps and correlated with the Industrial Revolution. Today, this product is banned in the United Kingdom.

It will be another couple of days before the sealers take to the ice. I wish much success in this years hunt, as the seal provides valuable meat, oils and pelts that are harvested in a humane and sustainable way. Sealing is part of our tradition, and will continue to remain that way well into the future.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Live Rural NL retaliates against Ellen’s stance of “Stop Seal Hunting in Canada”

Dear Ellen Degeneres -

I am deeply disappointed that you have chosen to become the latest  celebrity to advocate against the Canadian Seal Hunt, joining forces with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). You have joined a growing list of mis-informed celebrity predecessors, including Beatle Paul McCartney and Playmate, Pamela Anderson. We only need to remember then Premier Danny Williams taking on Paul McCartney and Heather Mills-McCartney on Larry King Live. Danny Williams not only illustrated how un-educated Paul and now former wife was on the matter of the seal hunt, he also embarrassed them in terms of knowing their Canadian geography. Mr. Williams invited them to come to Newfoundland & Labrador to see for himself. Paul remarked along the lines that he was already there when really he was in Prince Edward Island, another province.

PETA is an organizations that uses images of baby seals and presents mis-information to create a cash infusion.  Their website states: “PETA is drawing global attention to the annual slaughter of tens of thousands of baby harp seals”.

This statement is false! Myth: The Canadian government allows sealers to harvest white coat seals.

Reality: The harvesting of harp seal pups (white coats) and hooded seal pups (blueblack) is illegal in Canada and has been since 1987. The seals that are harvested are self-reliant, independent animals. (Source: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/index-eng.htm)

Ellen your website states: Seal hunting is one of the most atrocious and inhumane acts against animals allowed by any government.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s manages the seal hunt, which is sustainable. One only has to look at the harp seal population growth. In the 1970′s there were less than 2 million seals, now in 2011 there is more than 9 million harp seals. The government allocates an annual harvest quota that is supported by scientific research. The Seal Hunt is HUMANE, STRICTLY REGULATED and ENFORCED. How is harvesting seals any more atrocious and inhumane than the fish that is caught, cows, chicken, pigs, moose and other animals that are killed for human consumption? What about cattle that are ranched and grown strictly for human consumption? They have no chance for anything but ending up as some form of beef, maybe a burger – unlike seals, who are self-reliant, independent and able to fend for themselves.

The seal hunt has been around in Newfoundland and Labrador for centuries. Without the seal meat, oil and skin for clothing many people of the rural communities would be burdened with economic hardships and other woes. The sealskin boot has provided the warmth and protection from the elements of surviving in a difficult winter climate. The seal skin is water-resistant, protecting the feet from getting damp when cutting firewood to heat one’s home. Seal skin provided necessary protection that may have saved human lives.

My father was a fisherman, his father and his father before him. They have all harvested seals to aid them in providing for their families. My father had prepared seal skin to be made into boots. I still proudly wear them, as winters in Northern Newfoundland tend to be very stormy. I walk knee-deep in snow, many days throughout winter to reach my car. I understand the deep-rooted tradition and the necessity of the seal hunt to ensure life in rural regions could continue. How dare you make such uninformed comments that continue to negatively impact the fishers in rural regions.

I ask that you do further research on this matter and re-consider your stance on the seal hunt. I invite you to come to Rural Newfoundland and Labrador to experience for yourself first-hand the seal hunt. You should use your celebrity status to do good instead of blatant abuse.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore

Got to Get Me Moose by’

Moose

September 11, 2010  marks the start of moose hunting season for most areas across the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. It is a time of year that is highly anticipated by many local residents and visitors from out of province to partake in such an important traditional and cultural activity. 

“The traditions and culture associated with hunting and trapping are quite significant in our province, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the many wonderful opportunities that exist,” said Minister Johnson. “As a public resource, wildlife must be managed so that it benefits the diverse interests of all stakeholders, while ensuring that populations of animals and their habitats can be sustained for future generations” (Click for more info on the 2010-11 Hunting and Trapping Guide and Big Game Licence Applications). 

Hunting presents an economic boom for outfitting lodges and many small local businesses for supplies, transportation needs, accommodations and meat processors. We must use extreme caution on our highways and watch out for our brightly orange dressed companions in the wilderness as we spend time with our buddies in search of delicious moose meat. At the bottom, I’ve included a Moose Stew Recipe. 

The activity has been popularized through song written and performed by Kevin Blackmore and Ray Johnson of Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers. Lyrics below: 

 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

Well first to get a moose licence you apply for six whole years,
At thirty-five dollars a crack, old man, with a partner for half shares;
And when you get the licence, “cock” ’tis area twenty-eight,
Nowhere near civ-il-i-zation, three hundred miles away.
But I gotta get me moose, b’y!! 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

To get ya where you’re going it’s a Hilton on four wheels,
Gets easily stuck, and the gas tank leaks and something up front squeals;
We met four fellas on a trip and we got on the beer,
They were on their way to our back yards and we was off to theirs.
Gotta get me moose b’y!! 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

Trottin’ on the bogs for miles with a pack sack on your back,
And you know he’s always just ahead, the fresh buttons in his tracks;
Well maybe he can hear us, b’ys, or maybe it’s his snout…
I allow it’s not hard to get a whiff of we after five or six days out!
Hah! Gotta get me moose, b’y!! 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

At last we saw a great big bull and oh my, what a fuss!
Fired ten shots and had to run! He started chasing us. Hah!
But when we got him killed, me lads, I had to panch his gut!
Me manly hunting instinct left and me supper all heaved up.
Whoop! Gotta get me moose b’y!! 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

Jack, we got to lug ‘im out, you were fine to have along,
But my next partner will be a wrestler, twice as big and strong;
And never again will I go out across the bog so far,
I’ll wait till I sees one on the road and I’ll wing ‘im with me car!!
Hah! That’s how I’ll get me moose, b’y!! 

Like to go a-moose hunting, hunting in the fall,
Like to go a-moose hunting, answer the hunting call:
“Gotta get me moose, b’y!”
 

I highly recommend if you are coming from a way and want a superior hunting and guiding experience, you will want to stay at the Tuckamore Lodge at Main Brook, NL. Check it out for yourself http://www.tuckamorelodge.com/ 

 

Moose Stew

MOOSE STEW 

  • 3 lbs moose, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • salt and pepper

Brow moose meat in hot butter. Add water, salt and pepper. Let simmer, adding chopped onion after about an hour of cooking. Cook for another hour. 

Then chop and add: 

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small turnip
  • 5-10 potatoes

Cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Make dumplings if you wish. 

Public safety is off the utmost importance. Although the government has increased moose hunting licences and noted they have purchased groomers and will be grooming parts of the province, are they doing enough? There have already been a number of moose vehicle collisions this year, as with any year. How many more do we need to have before the government steps up to the plate and follows other provinces, like New Brunswick and implements appropriate animal fencing?  

Safe and happy hunting in rural NL – CCM 

  

 

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