Fish and Game clubs want party hunting for deer eliminated

Club recommends pilot-test project be put in place for Manitoulin

MANITOULIN—The United Fish and Game Clubs of Manitoulin (UFGCM) are in favour of a proposal to cut out party hunting, which would mean a hunter who gets a deer hunt permit would only be able to harvest one deer during the annual deer hunt season on Manitoulin. The club is also supportive of calls to increase the number of deer tags available in both wildlife management units (WMU) on Manitoulin back to levels they were prior to severe winter conditions in 2014 and 2015 that had detrimental effects on deer populations.

“Each and every hunter has to put their personal opinion aside and look at what is best for the deer herd on Manitoulin Island; for the health and future of the deer herd,” stated Rob Seifried, who had brought forward the recommendation in regards to party hunting at a UFGCM meeting last week.

“The group was in favour of the recommendation (to cancel party hunting) and have each hunter harvest one deer each,” said Jim Sloss, chair of the UFGCM. “This would also help to prevent overharvesting of the herd.”

Mr. Seifried explained, “basically, with party hunting, say six guys are hunting together they can shoot six deer, but it could be that only one or two actually harvest the six deer and each of the guys puts their tag on one of the deer that has been harvested. Ontario is one of, if not the only province (in Canada), that has party hunting for deer.”

“In the US, for instance, you fill your own tag when you harvest a deer and no one else’s,” said Mr. Seifried. “We are putting our idea forward that Manitoulin could be a test-experiment pilot for this program.”

Mr. Seifried explained that with no party hunting, “we might see a change in the deer herd and the quality of the deer we have on the Island. Right now the young deer are the first ones to run in on a bait pile and a lot of them don’t get the chance to develop and grow up to be adult deer because they are harvested.”

“Many of the young deer never have a chance to grow up. That’s one of the things we are looking at, how the young deer can be allowed to survive and grow up, and in turn we will have a better overall quality of deer on the Island,” said Mr. Seifried.

“One of the things the club members agreed to was a proposal to have the deer tag numbers for (WMU 43B) antlerless tag numbers restored back to the levels they were before the bad winters set in and we had loss of deer,” explained Mr. Sloss, “and for WMU 43A, the idea among members of the club is that the tags should be raised a little, that there should be a modest increase.”