Number of deer harvested on Cockburn Island up compared to 2015 hunt

Matthew Brown of Espanola harvested this large buck during the annual Cockburn Island deer hunt on Manitoulin Island.

COCKBURN ISLAND—Hunter numbers for the annual Cockburn Island deer hunt were up a little while the number of deer harvested remained at about the same levels as they were in 2015 say a member of the Cockburn Island Fish and Game Club (CIFGC).

“The number of hunters were up a little bit this year,” Ian Anderson told the Recorder earlier this week. Mr. Anderson said there were 110 hunters the first week of the hunt and an additional six the second week for a total of 116. “And there were 21 bucks, four fawns and one doe harvested.”

Mr. Anderson explained, “there were a few big beautiful trophy bucks taken in the hunt.” One of these was a very large buck harvested by Matthew Brown of Espanola. “It was an incredible, beautiful animal. In my 36 years as a conservation officer and as a hunter on Cockburn Island I think this was the biggest, nicest 10 point buck I’ve seen taken on Cockburn Island.”

“The deer I saw on the Island are very healthy and fat,” said Mr. Anderson. However, “the overall reduction in the deer population on the Island is still a holdover from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 winters when we had such harsh conditions and so many deer were killed off.” He pointed out there was no way a supplemental feeding or trail breaking program could be put in place on Cockburn, as it was on Manitoulin Island.

“To counter all of this the coyote population is really down now (on Cockburn),” said Mr. Anderson. “There are fewer bears around. I just hope we don’t get another bad winter this year. We need a few winters that are not severe.”

Mr. Brown told the Recorder that the large buck he harvested, “was about 295 pounds live weight and about 245 pounds dressed. No, I’ve never harvested a deer this big before.” The deer was taken at a camp property that used to be owned by his late grandfather, and was purchased by Mr. Brown’s parents Rob and Donna.