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As of last Friday, the record snow levels in this southeastern part of the province were such that if that snow had stayed at that level for much longer our winter deer kill in this area would have been the highest of the last 10 years.

Now, thanks to this past weekend of warm temperatures and rain much of that snow has disappeared giving the deer a much needed reprieve.

If, with luck, we have an early spring there is a good chance that we will see a rebound in our deer herd numbers come fall. Yet, there is much going on in this province regarding deer and indeed, many are questioning the current Crown forest strategy as put in place by the former Graham Liberal government.

If that policy is carried out as planned, far too much of the Crown forest suitable for wildlife will be clear cut and of that far too much will be converted to single species tree plantations. In addition, fully half of the crown forest areas that are designated deer yards are to be clear cut.

Over the last 70 years we have seen the same old story repeated time after time regarding our Crown woodlands. These woodlands belong to the citizens of this province, and should be of benefit to all, yet instead have been a cash cow for the larger woodland companies.

The usual sequence over the years has been the lumber companies demanding the cutting of more Crown woodland at which point the government initiates a study. Public meetings are also held where without exception the people of this province comes out against those demands. Then, after sufficient time has been given so as to allow the hew and cry to die down, the government pretty much gives the companies everything they want.

This has happened time after time and can be compared to the burning of a candle, where as long as there is a flame there is money and jobs, but after each cycle there is less candle. If this is allowed to continue as laid out in the Liberal Crown forestry plan eventually there will be little if any Crown woodland left that is suitable for wildlife. Keep in mind that the harvest of trees is a once every 60 years event and that is only once every lifetime in human terms.

These days folks are more aware and more knowledgeable, and are speaking up, and wanting those crown forest lands to be managed for the benefit of all and not just for a few. Instead of being geared to meet the demands of the forest industry with little or no concern for wildlife, these woodlands could instead be managed for wildlife and their habitat.

The additional benefits would be the use each and every year by the general public for recreational purposes, from hunting and fishing to bird watching, snowmobiling, hiking, etc. In the long run this will help save these forested areas for future generations to enjoy and to benefit from.

Clear cut these crown forest areas and both the habitat and the wildlife disappear. Implement the plan and we are then even further down the slippery slope where there will be no coming back to even the minimum requirements of our wildlife. Very bluntly, our wildlife is being sacrificed for the benefit of the forestry industry.

We also look at past history and the mill closures in the Miramichi. When the resource and the money dries up those companies fold up shop and go elsewhere where they can still exploit the resource even though in every case wildlife will disappear and the people are left holding the bag. That bag usually contains land that has been stripped of all that was of value, and will never again return to what it once was. Although it's well understood that this province is in a dire financial situation, it's time that the Alward government said "No" to any further destruction of our wildlife habitat.

It's vital, and especially so right now that you also make your voice heard by contacting your MLA, Premier Alward and Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup. So speak up!

One sure sign of the approaching spring is the annual Dieppe Fly Fishing Forum that is now in its eighth year and is being held on the weekend of March 26-27. Since the inception of this Forum the Dieppe Fly Tying Club has given more than $30,00O to different conservation and river associations.

Suffice to say that at the Forum there will be seven seminars given, and that 45 exhibitors, two authors and 10 fly tiers will be on site.

Also on that weekend the Moncton Boat show is being held at the Moncton Coliseum, with the doors opening on Friday, March 25. On display will be sailboats, cabin cruisers, kayaks, bass boats, pontoon boats, outboard motors, and a wide variety of other gear.

This Saturday, the Moncton Gun Club is holding a fun shoot to attract new members. For an entrance fee of $30 participants can shot at 25 wobble and a 25 mixture of skeet and trap clay bird targets. There is a 50-50 draw and a number of great prizes to be given. All that's needed is a shotgun of any gauge and two boxes of No. 7 ½, 8 or 9 shot. There will be shotguns on site that can be borrowed if need be plus a supply of 20 and 12 gauge ammo at reasonable prices. Contact Ron at 372-9396 or Norm at 386-4372.

* Everett Mosher is a Sackville-based writer and avid outdoorsman. His column appears every Tuesday
 

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Now, thanks to this past weekend of warm temperatures and rain much of that snow has disappeared giving the deer a much needed reprieve[/quote

The past rain has only taken care of a 1/4 of the snow. Still too deep in Southeast N.B.
 
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