EBR number PB06E6017

Wildlife Section
MNR Fish and Wildlife Branch
5th Floor, North Tower
300 Water Street,
Peterborough Ontario K9J 8M5

To whom it may concern:

As the representative for two Ontario groups with increasing concerns over the management of wildlife in this province, I  must voice strong disappointment and disproval over the EBR titled ³Strategy for Preventing and Managing Human-Deer Conflicts in Southern Ontario.²

This EBR is generally a lame presentation full of misrepresentations, half-truths and puzzling language that, when distilled to the  bottom line, caters to hunters,  self-interest groups and old-boys clubs by advocating the killing of more deer as the most effective management tool for human/deer conflicts.

The EBR is taken to task by a detailed, factual submission from the Volunteer Wildlife Custodians association. It is an excellent submission that must be read to inject some balance into this controversial discussion and show that humane methods of conflict prevention must be given equal consideration and weight.

In addition to endorsing the VWC report, I have serious concerns that, to my knowledge, have never been raised and must now be given high-priority attention because of changing public attitudes and the changing face of land ownership in this province.

The EBR is said to have included input from the various wildlife stakeholders, but the pro-animal groups had only token, perhaps hand-picked, representation at the policy-making meetings.

Just as upsetting -- if not moreso -- to my groups is that non-hunting landowners like myself have never been asked for our input.

By the EBRıs own admission, an increasing number of landowners do not allow hunting. The wildlife is born and raised and lives on our properties, yet we have no say in wildlife management. This is preposterous and unacceptable. Hunters who donıt even own the land they hunt on have more clout than we do.

Another area that has not been addressed is conflict between non-hunting landowners and hunters. As fhe owner of a wildlife sanctuary, I have experienced and heard about numerous problems between these two groups, particularly when the groups have adjacent woodlots and hunters are carrying deadly weapons only feet away from the non-hunting properties.

I have discussed my concerns with MNR officials, but unless laws are broken, they have told me the only solution is to ³try and work things out.² That is akin to asking fox and chickens to live in harmony.

Policies and regulations that govern hunting are archaic and are formulated by the MNR, whose supervisors and field officers are largely hunters. We believe it is time for independent and non-hunting input into these decisions and for a review of how hunters conduct their business.

Deer are getting most of the blame for collisions with vehicles,  particuarly during their breeding and migratory season in the fall, but the EBR doesnıt discuss that the fall is also the hunting season when hunters are spooking the animals and forcing them out of their normal routines and on to the roads. It is this kind of imbalance in the EBR report that needs to be addressed.

If hunting is to be considered an effective management tool -- and there are articles that state otherwise -- then consideration must also be given to how, and by whom, the deer are culled. If the government is at all serious about efficiently controlling the herds, then efficent weapons must be used in efficient hands.

Hunting with bows and arrows is a terrible form of animal cruelty, resulting in long and painful deaths for many of the animals -- which I can attest to personally. This kind of hunting needs to be stopped immediately. And putting weapons into the hands of 12-year-old kids is another distressing matter that needs to be reviewed.

Original drafts of the EBR referred to the deer as ³nuisance² animals. But when all of the facts are considered and the biases disregarded, it is more likely that the biggest nuisance in this whole discussion is humans themselves.

Larry Anstett

President, Ontario Non-Hunting Landowners Association and Ontario Coalition to Ban Bow Hunting

CCs: Association members, federal and provincial politicians.

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