MNR responds to Island question posed on farmers getting automatic deer tags

KAGAWONG—The response from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) on the request from farmers to get an automatic deer hunting tag annually is not positive for local farmers.

As has been reported in the Recorder previously, farmers on Manitoulin Island are continuing to call for the MNRF to put in place a program that would see farmers receiving an automatic deer tag permit (yearly) to stem the curb of predators destroying their crops.

Derek Stephens, a Central Manitoulin councillor, attended the recent annual Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference in Timmins where he was able to bring the issue forward to MNRF Minister Bill Mauro.

“I got to ask my question of the minister, who said he would get to me with an answer on whether a program could be put in place so that farmers could get an automatic deer tag yearly,” Mr. Stephens told the Recorder.

“After the minister’s bear pit session at FONOM, Mr. Mauro told me that his aide would provide all the information and would get back to me,” said Mr. Stephens. “I wasn’t really happy with the response I received from the minister so we when we flew back to Toronto from Timmins (where the FONOM conference took place), guess who was the plane with us? Mr. Mauro. So I talked to him again about the issue and he told me he was going to look into the whole farmers licencing issue.”

“I found it interesting that he didn’t know farmers need a deer hunt licence and tag to harvest deer on their own private property,” said Mr. Stephens. “He said he didn’t know anything about the issue I raised, but we have always been told that the automatic farmer deer licence would need a minister’s order.”

Emily Kirk, of Minister Mauro’s office, told the Recorder in an official response this past Monday, “at this time the Ministry is not considering giving out automatic deer tags to farmers.” She also told the Recorder, “under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA), an individual must possess a licence in order to hunt deer. For deer hunting, a licence is comprised of an Outdoors Card, a deer licence tag, and any relevant validation information (e.g. valid for an antlerless deer).”

“The ministry has a formal Deer Removal Authorization policy and procedure which outlines the application process and relevant conditions for these authorizations. The approval of these authorizations are delegated to the District Supervision position at your local district offices,” explained Ms. Kirk.