Hunting charges, warnings decrease from last year, ministry reports

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Number of hunters taking part in annual deer hunt on Manitoulin also down

MANITOULIN – With less hunters taking part in last week’s annual rifle hunt on Manitoulin Island, it also led to less charges and warnings handed out by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) conservation officers.

“The (conservation) officers noticed that both the number of deer harvested along with the number of active hunters appeared to be below what they typically have observed in the past,” reported Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer with the MNRF, this past Tuesday. “Officers observed that some hunt camps that are typically occupied for the deer hunt were vacant. Also, officers reported some hunters hunting for the day versus overnighting on the Island. This varied depending on which part of the Island was patrolled.”

Charges laid by conservation officers as well as the number of warnings they issued decreased this year. “A total of 16 charges were laid,” Ms. Kowalski told the Recorder. This is down from 25 charges laid during the 2019 hunt. 

Ms. Kowalski explained that of the 16 total charges laid this year, the most common occurrences included: fail to invalidate tag immediately after kill, deer; unlawfully have loaded firearm in conveyance; fail to properly attach invalidated tag, deer; fail to wear hunter orange while hunting; hunt big game without licence; permit dog to run at large; fail to wear proper helmet; fail to produce documentation when hunting with a gun; and possess for hunting a product containing cervid fluids.

In 2019 there were a total of 31 warnings issued by the conservation officers. This year, “a total of 26 warnings were issued,” said Ms. Kowalski. She noted that the common warnings included fail to properly attach invalidated tag, deer, hunt without having licence on your person and fail to wear proper helmet.

“Two firearms were seized due to non-compliance and charges are pending,” wrote Ms. Kowalski. There were no deer seized.

“Conservation officers contacted 295 people during the deer hunt on Manitoulin Island. This was down significantly from last year (441),” reported Ms. Kowalski.

Ms. Kowalski also noted that there were no reported hunting incidents (injuries) reported to the MNRF Sudbury Enforcement Unit.

For this year’s hunt, “conservation officers were brought in from Kapuskasing, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins to assist the Sudbury enforcement conservation officers in monitoring compliance during this hunt. Also, conservation officers conducted marine patrol to check hunters on the islands in the North Channel,” continued Ms. Kowalski. There were no joint Ontario Provincial Police/MNRF road checks conducted this year.

Ms. Kowalski added, “the Sudbury MNRF conservation officers would like to thank the Espanola/Manitoulin OPP for their assistance during the hunt and the members of the public for reporting resource violations to the MNRF TIPS line.”