Fur managers call for vigilance in opposing trapping bans

MINDEMOYA—A representative of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation (OFMF) cautioned Manitoulin Island trappers/hunters to not ignore or shrug off the issue involving the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) putting in place an immediate ban on wolf/coyote hunting and trapping in 40 Ontario townships last fall.

“Everybody has heard of the eastern wolf/Algonquin wolf and the ban on hunting or trapping them in a large part of Ontario,” said Paul VanZutphen, of the OFMF, during a Manitoulin Island Fur Trappers Council meeting held this past Saturday in Mindemoya. “This ban on no hunting or trapping of wolf/coyotes can spread. I know they (MNRF) are carrying out DNA testing on the North Shore on wolves/coyotes and I understand they have found some evidence of this species of animal there. I haven’t heard if they are doing similar DNA sampling or have found anything on Manitoulin Island.”

“OFMF is still very concerned about the eastern wolf/Algonquin wolf situation and the ban on hunting and trapping,” said Mr. VanZutphen. “OFMF is trying to put a stop to this protection and ban on the harvest of wolves and coyotes. Up to now we have attended a presentation by Frank Mallory, a Laurentian University professor, made a presentation to SARPAC (Species at Risk Program Advisory Committee) and met with Lurie Scott, MPP of Haliburton and Kawartha and Todd Smith, MPP/MNRF Critic and MPP Norm Miller’s assistant.”

“Our general manager has applied to sit on the SARPAC committee and we are still waiting for a response,” said Mr. VanZutphen. He explained the OFMF wrote a letter expressing its concerns to MPPs Laurie Smith and Todd Smith as a follow up to their meeting with them.

OFMF has also contacted fur auction houses to discuss if DNA samples are requested. NAFA has responded that if they receive a request they will inform the federation.

“We have shared our concerns with as many groups, ministries, organizations and individuals as we can and are trying to counteract the situation,”continued Mr. VanZutphen. “At the presentation Dr. Mallory said there is no species of Algonquin wolf and there are a lot of other people and groups that feel the same way.”

As of the fall of 2016, hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes has been banned in 40 townships from Anstruther to Killarney and a number of areas in between.

As was reported previously, local farmers and hunters/trappers and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) say that it is imperative that areas like Manitoulin Island are not now, or in the future, included in the MNRF proposal to ban hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes due to the type of damage wolves/coyotes can do.

While Manitoulin is not included in this new MNRF proposal to ban hunting and trapping wolves and coyotes in areas surrounding Killarney Park to protect the threatened Algonquin wolf, concerns have been raised that this provincial step is the first step to including other areas such as Manitoulin.