Gordie Kasook was doing a patrol for work at the old armed forces base on Navy Road when he found a moose head, two racks of moose ribs and a moose backbone – someone’s abandoned harvest.
“When I found it, I couldn’t believe someone would throw that away … why didn’t they put it on Facebook and say, ‘I don’t have room for this in my fridge, could someone come and pick it up?” said Kasook. “I know there’s a lot of people out there having hard times to get a moose, having hard times to get a caribou, and seeing stuff like that … it boils my blood.”
Kasook said he immediately reported what he saw to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).
He went back to the site when he got off of work, and ENR had taken care of the carcass.
Kasook is one of several Inuvik residents who have noticed more abandoned harvests around town recently. He said his nephew found several whole fish in a dumpster near Boot Lake a few days before.
Other residents have also posted on the Inuvik Rant and Rave Facebook group about abandoned harvests they had found, with many community members commenting with disappointment and disgust about the unlawful and unfortunate finds.
“Growing up, everybody used to respect what they harvest, and just kill what they need … If I don’t have room in my freezer, I go and give it out to the elders or the single moms, and pass it out,” said Kasook. “If you’re going to go hunting, respect what you get … You should hand out what you can’t use to other people, to the elders, to the people that can’t go hunting. That’s what everybody used to do years ago, and we should just keep that tradition going instead of wasting meat like this.”
Kasook said once meat has been abandoned, it can’t be used safely because there is a possibility that another animal contaminated the meat, so it must be disposed of.
According to the Wildlife Act, hunters are not allowed to waste, destroy, abandon or allow to spoil edible parts of their harvest and raw pelts.
For moose, the act states that the backstrap, forequarters, rib meat, tenderloins and neck meat must be used.
The fine for unlawfully dumping harvests is $949.
According to Dorothy Westerman, ENR’s communications planning specialist, ENR often notices an increase in harvest waste whenever there is an increase in harvesting.
The public is asked to report all violations to a renewable resource officer by calling 867-678-6650.