MNR shoots down deer tag allocation proposal

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

KAGAWONG—A Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) representative says a proposal to change the antlerless deer tag system to a similar system used for the moose tag draw is not getting much support from the ministry.

“I have talked to quite a few people in the ministry and there is not a lot of support from the MNR on this,” MNR biologist Wayne Selinger told proposal proponent, Bobby Tuomi, and those on hand for a Manitoulin Deer Management Committee meeting held recently.

Mr. Selinger said, “we don’t see a need for preference pooling for antlerless tags (and) hunters in Ontario’s core deer range have had good access to antlerless tags. Chances of obtaining a tag through the draw are 100 percent in about half the WMUs (Wildlife Management Units) and are between 50 and 99 percent in another one-quarter of the units. In 2011, chances of drawing a tag in 43A were 60 percent and in 43B were 67 percent.

He continued, “At these levels of availability, virtually all hunting parties have access to antlerless tags and very few hunters can expect to go more than two or three years between tags.”

As reported previously, Mr. Tuomi has stated the current allocation of antlerless deer tags drawn through the MNR is unfair because it doesn’t take into consideration whether or not a person had received a tag in previous years.

Currently, the MNR draws applicants at random. Mr. Tuomi said the MNR already uses a preference pool system in place for moose hunters, where hunters who did not receive a tag the previous year were placed in one pool and hunters who had received a tag went in another. The draw first happens from the pool of hunters who had not received a tag.

Mr. Tuomi also said he had a conversation with two computer programmers, who do not work for the ministry, about how difficult it would be to go from the current deer tag allocation system to a moose tag system.

“There would be absolutely no problem with changing the computer system,” he said he was told.

Mr. Selinger said that even if the change was indeed easy, there were still costs that need to be factored into the change, as well as a study of the positives and negatives.

“There is only a limited number of hunters that don’t receive a deer tag,” Mr. Tuomi said. “It is only for these few that the current system is not fair, especially if they haven’t received a tag in two years or more.”

Jim Sloss said the United Fish and Game Clubs of Manitoulin support Mr. Tuomi’s proposal. “It was a unanimous vote by our members, everyone felt that this was the fair thing to do.”

It was also noted that the Gore Bay Fish and Game Club supported Mr. Tuomi’s proposal.

“I guess it’s petition time,” stated Mr. Tuomi. He told the Recorder, following the meeting that he, “may start a petition but it would need to be done in the fall.” He also said he is upset the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) has not responded to his proposal. “While I sent them letters and information, no one from the OFAH has called or sent anything back. They didn’t even have the courtesy of writing me back.”