Hunters are reminded that safety is paramount this deer rifle season

MANITOULIN—Safety is always the paramount message the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) want to get out to the thousands of hunters who converge and take part in the annual Manitoulin Island deer gun hunt season, and that is the case for this year’s hunt which runs from Monday, November 19, to Sunday, November 25.

“The main thing is you need to make safety your target while you are hunting,” stated Iain McGale, MNRF Conservation Officer. “Public lands in Ontario are used for a variety of activities. So hunters need to be aware that they may be sharing the forest with other hunters, as well as hikers, riders and bird watchers. Hunters need to keep this in mind.”

Mr. McGale said, “all hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing. This means a minimum of 400 square inches or 2,580 square centimetres above the waist, and hunter orange head cover during gun seasons for deer, moose and elk.”

“Hunters are encouraged to dispose of hides and entrails safely and ethically,” continued Mr. McGale. He noted some municipal dumps may accept deer carcasses, “but it is best to consult your municipality before hunting.”

“Specifically in this case for Manitoulin Island and Cockburn Island in wildlife management units 43A, 43 B and 44, landowner written permission is required to hunt,” stated Mr. McGale. “And COs would like to remind the public of firearm safety, including handling firearms with care and attention at all times. Hunters may never shoot at an animal until they are absolutely certain of their target and what lies beyond it as well. And, it is illegal to shoot from a vehicle, or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.”

Hunters are also reminded to know and follow the rules, and are encouraged to read the 2018-2019 Hunting Regulations summary that is available at ontario.ca/hunting.

If you witness a hunting violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) or call Crimestoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Mr. McGale also outlined something that is brand new that the MNRF has put in place. “We can say that new for 2018 people can visit Ontario.ca/mnrftips to view an interactive searchable map of unsolved cases. You may be able to provide information to solve a crime. This is a totally new initiative and it will be a very powerful tool for us.”

With this new initiative, “if someone sees an infraction take place they can contact the TIPS or Crimestoppers number,” said Mr. McGale. “And if you are in a particular area and hunting, and want to see if there are unsolved crimes in that area they can view this on the website. It might involve a deer case last year and a hunter may remember who hunted in that area the previous year or for instance remember a vehicle involved in the occurrence. It is a great way for people to look up unsolved cases and assist COs with natural resources crimes.”