MANITOULIN – With the rough weather conditions on Manitoulin last winter, it is not a surprise that many hunters reported that there were far fewer deer seen—much less harvested—on the Island during last week’s annual deer gun hunt.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) provided this year’s deer hunt statistics, which show a significant reduction in the number of charges and warnings handed out during the hunt, as well as the number of conservation officer (CO) contacts with hunters during the week.
“From what the conservation officers observed—and they aren’t biologists so any observation is anecdotal—the deer population appeared to be down but there seemed to be roughly the same number of hunters,” said Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer with the MNRF on Tuesday, concerning the annual deer hunt which ran from November 18-24. “This varied depending on which part of the Island was patrolled.”
COs “contacted 441 people during the deer hunt on Manitoulin Island,” explained Ms. Kowalski. A total of 25 charges were laid during the hunt. The most common offences 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; and unlawfully possess firearm at night.”
As well, a total of 31 warnings were issued by the MNRF COs, including: fail to properly attach invalidated tag—deer; hunt without having licence on your person; fail to wear a proper helmet; and possess a copy or counterfeit tag.
Two firearms and one deer were also seized due to non-compliance during the annual deer hunt, said Ms. Kowalski. As well, she noted, there “were no hunting incidents (injuries) reported to the MNRF Sudbury Enforcement Unit.”
In 2018, during the Manitoulin Island deer hunt, COs made 748 field contacts with hunters that resulted in 30 charges, one seized deer and 67 warnings. In 2017, Manitoulin COs made 231 hunter contacts, with 28 charges laid and 32 warnings handed out.
Ms. Kowalski reported that for this year’s hunt, COs, “were brought in from Hearst, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins to assist the Sudbury Enforcement COs in monitoring compliance during this hunt. Also, a joint Ontario Provincial Police(OPP)/MNRF road check was conducted on Tuesday evening (November 19).
“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,” added Ms. Kowalski.