GORE BAY—All farmers should get a doe tag without having to go through the regular provincial deer lottery licence draw says a local farmer, who has received support in the form of motions passed by the Manitoulin Cattleman’s Association (MCA), Manitoulin Soil and Crop Association (MSCA) and the Manitoulin Trappers’ Association.
“I never got a doe tag last year,” stated Rick Campbell, who had brought forward the issue for discussion by the MCA-MSCA at its recent joint annual general meeting. “I had thought farmers received these licences automatically, but when I questioned the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) office in Espanola, I was told if they gave automatic licences to farmers it would take too many out of the regular lottery licence draw.” He pointed out if 60 percent of those people who applied for doe tags received them in 2012, it should provide enough for farmers to get tags as well.
The motion that has received support locally “says that all farmers should get a doe deer tag licence, and not have to go through the lottery. This should be done automatically,” said Mr. Campbell. Farmers’ licences have a F sticker on the top, and I know in different states in the US farmers automatically receive doe tags without going through the lottery system.”
Mr. Campbell said it is very important that farmers receive these doe tags. “Deer can and do a hell of a lot of damage to farmer’s property and crops, they do a lot more than the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) acknowledges.”
Along with crop damage, deer do a lot of damage on fences, stored feed and more, said Mr. Campbell. “I talked to a game warden during the most recent hunt season, who suggested maybe I should put a tarp over all my hay. Why should I pay the costs to do this to look after my hay crops, when I could, or should be, getting a doe tag.”
The two Island groups he has received support from in lobbying the MNR for a change in policy demonstrates that, “they see the need and feel it is reasonable to give free doe tags to farmers. Instead of being proactive, the ministry is always reactive. When deer populations are out of control they end up giving out so many tags to control the populations, it has in the past just deleted the herds,” said Mr. Campbell. “They need to be proactive and by giving farmers free doe tag permits it would help control the deer population as well as allowing the farmer to protect their property-crops.”