The Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council (MASC) and Deer Management Advisory Committee received official news Friday that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) would not be deeming Manitoulin Island’s deer herds to be in an emergency state, and therefore would not qualify the Island’s deer for emergency funding through the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

The Expositor spoke with committee member Ian Anderson of Kagawong following the MNR head office conference call Friday who explained that, despite the increase in snow and cold since the alarm was first raised in January, the MNR would not call for emergency feeding. The snow, he explained, now ranges from 24 inches to more than 36 inches on the south shore of Manitoulin.

Deer Snow“The probability of losing deer ranges from 20 to 40 percent, depending on where on Manitoulin,” Mr. Anderson explained, “and there’s an increasing probability that we will lose some deer.”

The direction received from the MNR, he continued, is to not feed the deer, to let nature take its course “and that’s just not palatable to me.”

“The MNR will not declare emergency feeding, so what we’re left doing is to continue breaking trails to help them get to their food source as well as supplementary feeding—cutting available browse on properties that contain large populations of deer,” Mr. Anderson continued. “We’re not advocating knocking down big trees, but the preferred method is to get some pruning equipment and prune available browse that’s over six feet.” (Deer can comfortably reach six feet.)

Alicia McCutcheon
Manitoulin Expositor
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