Island farmers feed half of local deer herd, want preference in hunting tags

deerSPRING BAY—For the second year in a row, the fact that Manitoulin farmers are being shut out of the deer hunt for anterless deer tags for the annual gun hunt on Manitoulin was the hot button topic of the annual general joint meeting at the Manitoulin Cattlemen’s/Soil and Crop Associations.

For the first time since his election, the two associations invited Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha to attend and address the issue that has been plaguing Island farmers for many years.

Mr. Mantha said he was pleased to be invited, as he often participates in the Algoma Cattlemen’s Association AGM. “I’m not going to pretend to know everything about the cattle industry, but I rely heavily on my colleague MPP John Vanthof, who many of you probably know (Mr. Vanthof is an Earlton area dairy farmer),” the MPP said.

Mr. Mantha said his research has shown that there is “essentially no compensation” from the MNR for damages deer do to farmer’s crops. “We’re facing the same problem on the North Shore with elk,” he added.

Mr. Mantha said it was crucial to bring First Nations into the conversation, as there are certain areas of the North Shore that are currently looking into having a selective cull by First Nations individuals.

The MPP explained the process of inviting an MNR technician to your property to assess crop damages. The technician will then create a report, which the farmer can later use to seek compensation for damages.

“Are you referring to Agricultural Deer Removal Authorization?” Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) agriculture representative Brian Bell asked Mr. Mantha.

Alicia McCutcheon
Manitoulin Expositor
Read more here: http://www.manitoulin.ca/island-farmers-feed-half-local-deer-herd-want-preference-hunting-tags/