Fish and Game Club lobbies for increase in tag quotas for annual rifle hunt

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GORE BAY—The Gore Bay Fish and Game Club (GBFGC) is calling on the Ministry of Northern Development Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDNRF) to raise the deer tag quotas for this year’s annual deer gun hunt on Manitoulin Island.

“The annual deer management meeting will be taking place April 20,” said club president Chris Robinson at a recent meeting. He explained snow depths did not reach a critical level for deer survival on Manitoulin this winter and Ian Anderson, a local trapper and member of the GBFGC, indicated that he saw no mortality of deer this winter.

“We need to discuss what, if anything, we feel should be done with the antlerless (deer) draw quota,” said Mr. Robinson. He noted that for wildlife management unit (WMU) 43A last year, the antlerless deer tag quota was 300, and 4,000 for neighbouring WMU 43B. “Ian has suggested that we leave the numbers the same or bump them up 500, but no more than that.”

“I think the quotas should be raised 500 or more. At least 500,” said club member Ron Snell.

“I think the numbers should be increased by 1,000,” stated Ches Witty. “A lot of hunters aren’t getting tags and watching deer just walk by for nine days is no fun.”

Ian Anderson told The Expositor, “This winter, compared to a lot of past winters, was relatively good for the deer. A big advantage for the deer was how late the winter season actually started. It was the end of January before we really received any substantial amount of snow.”

Mr. Anderson runs a snow station on the West End of Manitoulin and told The Expositor, “The average depth of snowfall never exceeded 15 inches this winter. When there is more than 20 inches of snow, it impacts the deer being able to get around and forage for food.”

“And the really cold weather didn’t hit the area until into February,” continued Mr. Anderson. “But it’s a combination of the snow depths and the temperatures that can make it difficult for deer to get around and forage for food.”

“Overall, we had a relatively good winter, and I expect there will be very little mortality except maybe some from predators,” said Mr. Anderson. “And with the lack of deep snow, and with a crust on top, it made it more difficult for predators to get at deer this winter.”

“I expect there will be a good fawn crop this year and very little winter-induced mortality,” said Mr. Anderson. As for some areas and deer hunt camps not seeing many deer during last fall’s annual deer hunt on the Island, he said, “I understand that. One of the things I’ve noticed the past few years is that it is a case of feast or famine. Some pockets and areas on the Island have lots of deer while in other areas they are scarce. Some camps didn’t see very many deer and did very poorly, while in other areas there was an abundance of deer. This year’s winter didn’t impact the deer and the same can be said for the previous winter. If I had been at their meeting, I would have supported the call from (GBFGC) for the increase in deer tag permits.” 

The GBFGC had passed a motion at their meeting calling for an overall increase in the deer tag quota for this year’s deer hunt.