Moose hunters set record for harvest

Moose hunters in New Brunswick set an all-time record during the three-day hunt this year, partly because of an increase in licences issued.

Early figures from the Department of Natural Resources show a harvest of 3,556 moose — a jump of 44 per cent from 2011.

Over the past two years, more than 1,000 licences have been added, many in areas with a high number of moose-vehicle collisions.

"A couple of areas were in the Sackville area and then the Edmundston area, where the highest percentage of moose collisions were. So we were able to give out more licences in those areas," said Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup.

Hunters who were issued licences also had better success, with 75 per cent getting a moose this season.

The previous record moose harvest was 2,573 set in 2001.

It was a particularly special season for hunter Leopold LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, 72, has been in bed at The Moncton Hospital since April with complications from an industrial accident that left him without the use of his legs.

He didn't dream he'd be part of New Brunswick's moose hunt this year. Then he received a call from his son saying he had obtained a licence.

LeBlanc asked his doctor if she would grant him a day pass.

"I said, 'I am going.' So anyway, she made me sign a waiver that she was not responsible for any other injuries while I was out there," said LeBlanc.

He had a special permit to hunt while sitting in his truck while his brother and nephew flushed out the moose from the woods.

LeBlanc took down one moose.

Although New Brunswick may have set a new record during the hunt for LeBlanc, his single moose was the achievement of a lifetime.

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