ONT, CAN: Illegal hunting a dangerous game
November 9, 2009
Illegal hunting a dangerous game
Orange Fever struck the Niagara Region.
This annual pandemic strikes at the same time every year. It is selective
about who it strikes. Some have only mild symptoms while others are hit
hard. Those afflicted with this yearly malady are, however, easy to spot.
They are usually wearing bright orange vests, coats and hats. They tend
to travel in groups and can often be seen in trees, along wooded areas and
They are the shotgun hunters and it is deer season.
These brightly coloured hunters are participating in what is called a
controlled hunt. Only individuals who have applied for and received a
controlled deer hunt validation tag can take part in this hunt. For many
hunters, this is the only time they head out into the field. Locally, there
are two one-week shotgun hunts. The first took place last week from Nov. 2
to 8 and the second hunt will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec 6.
It is important to note the dates for the controlled hunts vary across
the province and it is the hunter's responsibility to know the correct time
for the wildlife management unit (WMU) they are in.
While most hunters refer to this as the "shotgun hunt," this is not
exactly accurate. Once again, different WMUs have different rules.
Everything from rifles, shotguns, muzzle-loading guns and even bows might be
allowed. Check the regulations for your area.
Conservation officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources find this to
be an especially busy time of the year. Believe it or not, there are
individuals out there who don't abide by the rules and regulations.
Ignorance of the law is pretty much the same as ignoring the law. While a
majority of the hunters participating in this hunt do so legally, there are
some who blatantly ignore all the rules.
I experienced first hand how some so-called hunters can let the 'fever'
take over their moral and ethical compasses.
I and two other hunters had asked for and been given permission to hunt a
farmer's field. Long before daybreak, on opening day, we went into the
property and set up.
We left our vehicle along the dead end road, so anyone coming in later
would see someone was hunting the area. Ethical hunters will respect other
hunters and not intrude. Shortly after daybreak I started to see
orange-coated hunters popping up all across the wooded area and along the
It wasn't long before I heard a large number of hunters calling and
whistling as they pushed through the corn field on the other side of the
woods. They walked right through our location. Several deer were taken. Two
were shot by one of the members of my group, but the intruders claimed they
When we asked why they were hunting here and if they had permission, they
said they had hunted here for the last three or four years. They said they
had permission, but when I asked them the name of the owner of the property
they didn't know it. They claimed their watchers, standing on the road, had
shot the two deer. Considering there was only one shot taken on the road I
have to assume this guy was good.
They proceeded to move and field dress the one deer while we watched. (No
tag anywhere to be seen.)
They then proceeded to head onto the property next door tracking the
second deer. This property was clearly posted. These guys broke so many
regulations I lost count. I took photos of them with the deer on the road
and also their vehicles. They were not amused. (Yes, I have spoken with the
These types of individuals, whom I will not call hunters, are they type
who spoil it for all the rest. They trespass and ignore any regulation that
does not suit them. They destroy positive landowner/hunter relationships and
create dangerous hunting conditions and confrontational situations. It is
not hard to understand why many farmers and landowners simply post their
properties and refuse real hunters access.
On the more positive side, a majority of the hunters participating in
this controlled hunt do so legally and with permission. The older, more
experienced hunters teach the younger hunters the skills and rules they need
to know. It is essential they be taught how to control the orange fever that
overwhelms the reason of some. The second wave of orange fever hunters will
be hitting the woods at the end of the month.
My advice to them is the same as always: Know the regulations, ask for
permission and respect other hunters. If you are going to show by example,
make it a good example.
Orange fever will have run it's course by Dec. 6. There is no known cure
and it will be back again next year.
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