Hunters responsible for extracting moose and bear teeth
Big game hunting has taken a brutal turn in New Brunswick this year.
Beginning this month, hunters who register their animals using the new online process introduced this season will need to extract a tooth from the moose or bear they harvest and bring it to the office of the nearest Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Development.
“We would expect growing pains with this,” said Dwayne Sabine, department biologist.
Prior to this year, harvest registration only took place at in-person registration stations, which remains an option for hunters who do not want to remove a tooth or take the measurements themselves.
The teeth will provide data on moose and bear and their health. They will also help managers better understand the population growth of these animals.
Moose hunting season was last week and bear hunting season is underway and lasts until November.
Age of teeth with diapers
The goal is to ensure that New Brunswick’s big game species are part of the province’s natural heritage for years to come.
Sabine said the way a tooth ages is similar to what happens with a tree, in that that tooth also has rings inside.
The process of determining the age is not as simple as cutting down a tree and examining its annual rings on the wood.
The tooth “puts on a new layer every year, but it’s very, very thin,” Sabine said.
Microscopic equipment is used on the tooth to determine the age range of the animal. Then the tooth is sent to a lab to determine the exact age of the animal.
Animals are considered long-lived species. A bear can live up to 30 years and a moose up to 20 years.
Dental extractions have been taking place in the province for years. But this is the first year that hunters will have to do the extraction themselves.
“An easy process”
Tracey Paget had a moose last week with her son Joel, who extracted one of the teeth from the animal’s left side with a knife and pliers.
“He had no problem,” Paget said on Facebook Messenger.
The Pagets deposited the tooth at the office of the Department of Natural Resources.
“It’s an easy process,” said the father. “You have 14 days to get it to them.”
The province has posted instructions on how to cut a bear or moose tooth on its website.
The hard part will be trying to find the right tooth.
“I’m sure people are looking in the mouth and there is quite a bit of toothache there,” he said. “Which one is the correct one?” ”
If hunters who choose to register their animals online fail to bring a tooth, they will not be eligible for the following year’s resident moose license draw.
The draw typically has around 60,000 applicants. Sabine hopes this will be enough of an incentive for the hunters.
“This tooth is quite important to our management process.”