This nice bull moose was recently discovered feeding along the banks of the Ausable River, in the late afternoon. Moose are currently paired as they approach the peak of their annual breeding. Both moose and moose calls have become a rather common occurrence across the Adirondacks in recent years.
A small group of protesters weathered the rain and cold on Saturday, Sept. 29 to stand up for the moose killed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Sept. 25.
The protest was held after a wildlife official shot and killed an injured bull moose that had been seen around the West Branch of the Ausable River for four days off a narrow stretch of road in the Wilmington Notch.
DEC Regional Wildlife Conservation Manager Lance Durfey said the decision to kill the moose was made after watching the animal suffer with injuries to its back legs.
The nine protesters stood in a parking area on the Wilmington Notch, carrying signs, playing drums and chanting for passing cars to give their support for the moose they had named Bruce.
The incident left Bloomingdale resident Pam Smith asking if the moose really needed to be shot.
“The question is was there were any alternatives? They didn’t ask if there were any alternatives,” Smith said.
Smith said she was upset and skeptical that the DEC couldn’t remove the moose’s body alive as easily as they did after it was killed.
“What’s the difference of them taking him out sedated or dead?” Smith said.
Durfey said last week they didn’t want to sedate the moose for fear it would cause the animal more pain and distress.
“The sedatives would only have immobilized the moose. He still would have been conscious and in the water,” Durfey said. “We didn’t want to put him through that.”
Signs carried by the protestors read “Department of Executing Critters,” “Moose Abuse No Time for Bruce,” “No Moose loitering violators will be shot” and “I can’t speak for myself. You are my voice!” with a picture of the moose on the page.
Jennifer McCaffrey of Brushton said that she made the almost two-hour drive to show support for the moose and be a voice for him.
“Just felt really strongly that the moose shouldn’t have been killed,” McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey said the DEC should have allowed nature to take its course without human intervention.
Jason Oconnell, of Brushton, said the DEC shouldn’t have shot the moose who was inside the wildlife preserve and not hurting anyone.
“We’re in the Adirondack Park. It’s the biggest park in the country, and that’s what it’s for,” Oconnell said. “It’s for the animals in the woods not rich people from downstate on vacation.”
The protest was organized by Brenda Rose Dadds-Woodward, a wildlife photographer from Dannemora.
Dadds-Woodward came to see the moose every day while it stood in the river. On Sept. 25, she cancelled her plans when she heard the news the moose had been killed.
“I actually just started crying at the computer. I was going to bring my son to see the moose that day, too,” Dadds-Woodward said. “My son said, ‘Those are mean people. They could have saved him.’”
She started organizing the protest right away. Of the almost 80 people who agreed to attend via the event’s Facebook page, nine attended.
Dadds-Woodward said she was disappointed with the small turnout of protestors but she plans to do more.
“I want a change in the DEC,” Dadds-Woodward said. “They need to get more educated on how to help (the animals) not just kill them.”
Dadds-Woodward said she wants to get in touch with people in the DEC and try to understand why the moose was killed and see what can be done to stop the killing of more wildlife like the one she called Bruce.
“If they are going to fight us, we are going to just keep protesting until those changes are made,” Dadds-Woodward said.
DEC DEFENDS SHOOTING
Winchell and Durfey said they understand people are upset about the killing of the moose but the actions taken by the DEC were following protocol outlined in the New York State Moose Response Manual. Dated April 1, 2011.
The protocol lays out how to deal with moose near busy roadways and sick and injured moose.
For more information about the moose manual, go to the DEC website and follow the link: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/74663.html to read the entire protocol.