Great response shown by Island residents to helping save deer

MANITOULIN—If deer are in trouble, people will help! This is the message that could come from this year’s severe winter conditions that have hit Manitoulin Island, and has precipitated Deer Save efforts. Volunteers have been asked to help open up trails for deer to gain food sources.

“We’ve received a great response so far from people wanting to help the deer,” said Sue Meert, Deer Save co-ordinator. 

“We’ve had a great response, from local people and even off-Island residents coming in with snowmobiles, and property owners coming forward to say we can have access to their property to open up trails for deer,” said Ms. Meert. “Thank you to all those people who are calling, emailing us or contacting us on Facebook. 

It has been five years since Deer Save efforts have been required on Manitoulin. As Ms. Meert explained in a release last week, “this year, once again, winter has forced unbearable conditions that are already having a negative effect. The extreme cold weather and heavy amount of snow are now dangerously impacting the herd. If we do not take proactive measures now and prepare to help sustain this valuable deer natural resource, we could stand to lose much more than the economic impact of a diminished deer herd. To sustain the deer hunt we need to help the deer herd!”

“We are asking for volunteers to help open up trails by using snowmobiles, tractors, snowshoeing etc.,” the Deer Save release notes. “Packing down the snow will help deer maneuver to find food and to escape predators. Cedar branches can be cut down to help provide feed.”

“If you are out doing deer save efforts, please let us know the details so we can track what efforts are being taken,” said Ms. Meert. “We caution that hitting the trails in harsh weather can be dangerous, and we encourage you to take proper precautions to remain safe. Always let someone know where you are going and when you should be expected to return.”

As well, people who don’t own a local property but want to get involved should contact her. Deer Save is co-ordinated by Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association and Susanne Meert is the Deer Save co-ordinator leading these efforts. She can be contacted at (705) 859-1653 or for further details.