Hunter pans MNR response to proposal on deer tag allocation

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

KAGAWONG—A Kagawong resident is very disappointed in the response he has received from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on his proposal to change the antlerless deer tag system in Ontario to a similar system in place for the moose tag draw, which would ensure hunters don’t go more than one or two years without getting an antlerless deer tag that they have applied for.

“It is a very disappointing response,” stated Bobby Tuomi in reaction to a letter from Eric Boysen, Director of the Biodiversity Branch of the MNR. “It appears my suggestion will be just put on file, and basically he said thanks a lot for your suggestion, but it won’t really be considered or take place. Unfortunately they don’t even want to consider the suggestion, but that is the way they treat you.”

As reported previously, Mr. Tuomi said the current allocation of antlerless deer tags drawn through the MNR is unfair. He was quoted as saying, “I figure the current antlerless deer tag draw allocation is very unfair to many people. For two years in a row I’ve applied for a tag and not received one. I don’t mind if I was to get a tag every couple of years but the way the system is now, it is unfair.”

Currently, the MNR draws applicants at random, regardless of whether or not the applicant received a tag the year before. “The MNR has the ability to correct this ‘bad luck,’ Mr. Tuomi told the Recorder previously. He explained the MNR already have a preference pool system in place for moose hunters. If you receive an adult moose tag this year, your application for an adult tag the following year goes into pool No. 2. Those moose tag applicants who were unsuccessful this year will be in preference pool No. 1 the next year. In the following year the pool No. 1 applicants get preference over the pool No. 2 applicants.

With the current way the MNR holds the random draw, a hunter could go 15 years without getting an antlerless deer tag, said Mr. Tuomi. “In the meantime, the MNR is still getting money from my tag applications.”

Mr. Boysen, in his letter to Mr. Tuomi dated November 301, 2011, stated, “I am responding on behalf of the Hon. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources, to your letter regarding the antlerless deer draw system in Ontario. I appreciate hearing your observations and concerns.”

“As you mentioned in your letter, Ontario’s selective harvest system for white-tailed deer has supported healthy and sustainable deer populations across its core range in the province,” wrote Mr. Boysen. “I want to thank you for your suggestion regarding potential changes to the antlerless deer tag system. As you might imagine, we receive lots of ideas and suggestions from hunters on ways to improve our draw systems. The ministry does not have any plans to change the antlerless draw system at this time; however I will be sharing your comments with staff involved in Ontario’s deer program for consideration. Your ideas will also be kept on file for consideration should any future changes to the draw system occur. Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns.”

Mr. Tuomi had originally sent his letter to the Minister of Natural Resources. “Yeah, the name has been changed to protect the innocent. I’m sure this was a form letter.”

“I’m going to send a letter directly to the minister in the constituency office in Thunder Bay, I want him to read my letter,” said Mr. Tuomi. “It is not a difficult decision or process to change the tag allocation system. Let’s pretend this person works for the MNR and all the ministry employees have been told that in order to remain intact as a ministry so many employees have to give up one of their pay cheques once a year to keep the ministry operating. And the individual employee figures, ‘okay, I won’t get a pay cheque this year to help keep the ministry operating.’ But next year he doesn’t receive a pay cheque once again. It’s the same idea with the deer tag allocations.”

“We’re all paying dues on antlerless deer tag applications every year but are being cheated out of getting our tags,” said Mr. Tuomi. He pointed out in conversation with two computer programmers as to how hard it would be to go from the current deer tag allocation to a moose tag system, “they both told me it would as easy as making toast. One of them told me there would be absolutely no problem with changing the computer system.”

“The MNR asks us to send in information concerning the deer, and moose hunts, and we have to pay for the stamp and send this information in,” continued Mr. Tuomi. “I can’t understand why we can’t have a system in place to ensure hunters they would definitely get a tag every second or third year.”

Mr. Tuomi said he has been sending his letters, asking for support, to fish and game clubs on the Island and off-Island and has had a very positive response to his proposal. “I’ve been sending quite a few letters to clubs, and I hope they send them in to the ministry and ask them questions, so the ministry will have to pay for stamps and reply back to them. The feedback I’ve received from clubs and individuals to my proposal is that I’m right in asking for a change in the tag allocation system.”

“This is not a question of not getting a tag again this year, but at least getting a tag every second year,” said Mr. Tuomi. “But to receive a form letter like this, from someone other than the minister is not right, and this guy (Mr. Boysen) has made up his mind already.”

“As for the fish and game clubs and individuals I’ve brought my idea forward to, everyone is saying I’m right, and they would be sending letters to the MNR to indicate this,” said Mr. Tuomi. “What we need is people’s input to the MNR, and if we don’t get a positive reaction on this proposal from the minister I will be drafting a petition on this issue. He pointed out, “I’ve been helping the MNR for the past 20-30 years on different programs, and now they won’t even listen when I make a suggestion. I hope the minister has to spend a lot of money on stamps answering letters from concerned hunters. Unfortunately by the tone of the letter I received they don’t even want to listen to the suggestion.”