Farmers group calls for extended hunting season on Canada geese

Group also lobbies for creation of Sandhill crane hunt

PROVIDENCE BAY—The Manitoulin-North Shore Ontario Federation of Agriculture (MNSOFA) is calling for support from other OFA federation groups and the federal government in introducing an extended hunt season for Canada geese and the creation of a hunting season for Sandhill cranes.

“We have been working on this issue of losses to predators for four or five years at least,” said Paul Skippen, a Green Bay farmer at the MNSOFA annual general meeting in Providence Bay, last Friday evening. “Doug Ford, when he was campaigning for the election said he wanted to help Northern Ontario.”

Mr. Skippen explained in the past when this issue was raised with the Liberal government, “representatives would send us to the Minister of Agriculture, or Natural Resources or another ministry and they would send us to another ministry with our concerns. All we got was the runaround.”
However, Mr. Skippen said that he along with fellow farmer Bruce Wood and other members of NEMI council were in attendance at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference earlier this year. They had the opportunity of visiting with Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs. “When we first talked to him about compensation for farmers’ losses, Mr. Hardeman said this would cost millions of dollars to put in place and the province can’t afford that. So we said if the province can’t afford these costs, how do you think farmers can?”

“Every time previously we have been sent down the road, but this particular time Mr. Hardeman said we have to come up with something else,” said Mr. Skippen. “We noted if the hunting season for Canada geese was longer and earlier it would help—they are wrecking our crops before the hunt season takes place. And if there was a spring hunt it would help.”
“So we need support to lobby for the season to be two to three weeks earlier in the fall, and provide for an additional hunt in the spring,” said Mr. Skippen. “Mr. Hardeman said he would go speak to the MNRF about this.”

“We need a motion passed here and support for it for a longer season in the fall, and spring before the (birds) lay their eggs,” said Mr. Wood.

It was also requested by the two farmers that a similar motion be passed involving Sandhill cranes.

Al Emiry, president of the MNSOFA, recommended that two separate motions be passed, one for Canada geese and one for Sanddill cranes.

One motion passed by the members was for the hunting season for Canada geese to be extended three weeks earlier in the fall, and make an additional hunt in the spring for three weeks prior to pre-nesting. The second motion was to lobby for the creation of a hunting season for Sandhill cranes, matching the motion for Canada geese.

These motions will be forwarded to other OFA member organizations, the MNRF and the federal government for their support.

As was reported previously the province is also taking action to ensure the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation program works as it is intended to support famers who lose livestock to predators. This is part of the government’s mandate to ‘cut red tape and reduce regulatory burden for businesses.’ The majority of the program changes will take place in early 2019.