Ontario’s Conservation Officers Patrolling the Web

Conservations Officers Web Savvy Patrol

Ontario’s conservation officers spend much of their time patrolling the lakes, trails and back roads of the province’s great outdoors, both near and far.  What you may not know is that they are also experienced cyber sleuths.

 

Increasingly, conservation officers are using the Internet as a special investigative tool.  While the Internet is a wonderful medium for sharing information, it can also be used to facilitate illegal activities, such as the illicit trade in wildlife.  This means officers conduct more and more cyber crime investigations.

 

Conservation officers now actively monitor the Internet and track down people who are using the web for the purpose of trafficking in Ontario’s fish and wildlife.  They pay particular attention to wildlife trade on major on-line classified websites like Kijiji, eBay and Craig’s List.

 

In fact, officers have found people using the Internet to buy and sell such things as angler-caught fish, wildlife taxidermy and wild animal parts, such as skulls and meat.  They have even come across people trying to sell live animals, including raccoons, skunks, amphibians and reptiles. This includes a number of cases that involved the illegal trade in endangered species.

 

The sale of Ontario wildlife – whole or in parts, alive or dead – is generally illegal and those prosecuted face significant penalties.  It is also against the law to possess without a licence or permit most reptile, amphibian, mammal, bird and even some insect species.

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources enforces the laws against this illegal trafficking.  The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act provides for penalties of up to $100,000 and two years in jail for persons convicted of these types of offences.  Even heftier fines of up to $250,000 and a year in jail are possible under the Endangered Species Act.

 

What can you do about illegal fish and wildlife trafficking, whether on the web or in the wild?  Report natural resources violations by calling 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free anytime or contacting your local ministry office during regular business hours.  You can also call Crime stoppers anonymously at                     1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Long Point Waterfowl’s inaugural Duck Day event was a huge success!

Long Point Waterfowl is committed to waterfowl and wetland research, education and conservation in the Great Lakes region

 

Over 500 people (including over 200 kids) attended our first annual Duck Day which was held at our Research & Education Centre on Sunday 25 September.

 

Visitors to Duck Day received free food and drinks and observed or took part in in many talks, interpretive nature walks, retriever demonstrations and a raptor show.

 

There were several activities for kids, including decoy painting, a scavenger hunt and several interpretive walks and touch tables.

Over 25 vendors/displays, including many of our conservation-partners, attended and participated.

 

Long Point Waterfowl would like to thank all who attended and contributed to making Duck Day such a success.  Long Point Waterfowl plans to host this event annually on the fourth Sunday in September.  Please visit our website (www.longpointwaterfowl.org) or Facebook page for photos from Duck Day.

Wetlands & Waterbird Ecology Field Course

Looking to learn more about waterfowl?

Long Point Waterfowl recently coordinated its sixth Wetlands & Waterbird Ecology Field Course.  Long Point Waterfowl in partnership with the University of Western Ontario and funding from the Sam Johnson Education Scholarship have been offering the course since 2005 to students from universities throughout Ontario.  The course introduces students to basic wetlands and waterbird ecology and management through site visits to several local Long Point marshes and the St. Clair National Wildlife Area.  The course also stresses the importance of organizational partnerships in wetland conservation through guest presentations from employees of Bird Studies Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Canadian Raptor Conservancy.  This year 15 students from 5 Ontario universities participated in the field course.  For more information please visit the course web page at:

 

http://www.uwo.ca/biology/undergraduate/fieldcourses/wetlandandwaterbird.htm

 

Cormorants affect fish populations

Ever wonder if Cormorants affect fish populations?

An angler from Oneida Lake , WI send theses photos of what happened to his legally stocked bass pond

After a few years, you could catch a bass on almost EVERY cast.  THEN the cormorants flew in.  Some would gorge themselves so much that they could not take off !!!!   End of bass pond!

2011 Canadian Youth Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp

“The Canadian Youth Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp is not only a beautiful piece of art – it also helps support youth driven wildlife conservation projects across Canada.” – Robert Bateman

Wildlife Habitat Canada is thrilled to congratulate 18 year old Bethany Harris from Millarville, Alberta for being selected as the winning artist for the second annual Canadian Youth Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp.

The 2011 Youth Stamp was recently unveiled at the Shaw Studios in Calgary, Alberta with Robert Bateman, J.R. Shaw and others in attendance.

The Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest was created to urge youth to get outside and ‘get to know’ their wild neighbours.

Bethany Harris’ entry, entitled

Bethany Harris’ entry, entitled “Going Deeper”, depicts a moose in its native habitat. In addition to having her artwork featured on the stamp, Ms Harris’ moose is also on the cover of the 2011 Robert Bateman Get to Know Contest Calendar.

Bethany had this to say about her painting and the moose: “It’s amazing how you have to take a really close look to see one, then it quickly disappears into its habitat.

We not only have to go deeper to find them, and take the time to enjoy looking at them, but they too are having to find habitat elsewhere as the areas where they live become more developed – therefore going deeper was the feel I wanted to express in this painting.”

Wildlife Habitat Canada is continuing our partnership with Robert Bateman’s Get to Know Program to create this stamp that is being sold across Canada. Proceeds from the sale of the stamp will support youth-driven wildlife conservation projects.

By purchasing the Canadian Youth Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp you will help youth to understand the importance of the natural world to all of us, while ensuring that this exquisite resource is conserved for years to come.

For more information about the Canadian Youth Wildlife Habitat Conservation Stamp, to purchase a stamp, or to learn about how you can get involved, please contact Jill Thursby, Assistant Director, Youth Stamp Program at (613) 722-2090×225

or youthstamp@whc.org,

or visit our website at www.whc.org.

O.F.A.H. urges MNR to help farmers

Elk herd viability threatened by mismanagement

The indiscriminate feeding of local elk in the Bancroft area that has continued unchecked for years, and the province’s failure to introduce a comprehensive elk management plan, has placed the future of the local herd in jeopardy.

Elk have been the focus of an extensive reintroduction program that has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and involved thousands of volunteer hours.

The province’s failure to properly manage the herd, to use new regulations under the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act to eliminate the feeding of wildlife, and to allow farmers to harass the elk to protect their property has resulted  in serious damage to local farm crops and infrastructure.

This has led the Minister of Natural Resources to consider euthanizing elk in the Bancroft North Hastings area through the use of removal (kill) permits, over the objections of  the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.).

The O.F.A.H. is one of several groups who have contributed financial and volunteer support to the province to restore elk to Ontario, where they lived for thousands of years before becoming locally extinct in the 1800’s.

O.F.A.H. staff  have travelled to the area and met with local farmers, who are faced with broken fences, cattle escapes and crop damage, but are forbidden under the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act from using bang sticks, dogs or other means to harass  the elk and protect their livelihood.

“For over two years, the O.F.A.H. has been urging the MNR to adopt a comprehensive elk management strategy to properly manage elk herds across the province, including the Bancroft herd which is estimated at 500 or more,” said O.F.A.H.

President Rob Hare. “The province’s failure to act, coupled with the lack of available options for local farmers who are forced to sit and watch their farm property, crops and livestock be damaged, is unconscionable.

The use of bang sticks, dogs and other harassment techniques should be part of a management strategy, which the province has failed to adopt despite years of discussion.

Any suggestion that healthy elk be indiscriminately euthanized  threatens the viability of the elk restoration effort.”

The O.F.A.H. supports the position of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), which has been lobbying the province to address the situation for some time. Both organizations have urged the MNR to convene a meeting with all affected  parties before it reached crisis proportions. Unfortunately, the Ministry has been slow to act, and the situation has escalated to the point where farmers’ tolerance for the nuisance elk situation has been exhausted.

The O.F.A.H. and OFA  recommend that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the MNR develop a compensation package for farmers in the Bancroft area who have experienced losses due to elk.

“As the agency charged with the responsibility for managing wildlife in Ontario, surely the MNR can do better than suggesting that elk, which have been the focus of the restoration effort, should simply be eliminated,” added Hare.

“Why should the program and the animals themselves pay the ultimate price for MNR mismanagement and inaction?”

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, charitable, fishing, hunting and conservation-based organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters.

For more information, visit www.ofah.org.

Atlantic salmon are coming home to Bronte Creek

Area youth part of significant Lake Ontario environmental restoration effort.

Thursday May 6th, an exciting environmental and educational initiative happened on the Bronte Creek, thanks to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and
Hunters (O.F.A.H.), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Pioneer
Petroleums and many other partners. Classroom hatchery-raised Atlantic
salmon were released into Bronte Creek at 11:00 a.m. at Lowville Park, in
the Village of Lowville.

“More than a century after Atlantic salmon were declared locally extinct
from the waters of Lake Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and
Hunters and our partners are pleased to be here on the banks of Bronte
Creek with 180 elementary school students, as we take part in this historic
effort to bring back the salmon,” said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive
Director.

Since its launch in 2006, the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration
Program (Bring Back the Salmon) has stocked almost two million Atlantic
salmon in Duffins Creek, Cobourg Brook and the Credit River, tributaries of
Lake Ontario. Thousands of volunteer hours have been dedicated to assisting
in this ambitious effort that includes research and monitoring, habitat
improvement, and education and outreach. McMaster University’s Let’s Talk
Science graduate students have mentored several classroom hatcheries in the
Hamilton area and will be on hand to help the students release their fish
into the creek.

Pioneer Petroleums is committed to supporting the Lake Ontario Atlantic
Salmon Restoration Program by hosting environmental education field trips.
Participating classes and outdoor education centres are able to take
outdoor excursions to learn more about Atlantic salmon habitat and to
release their classroom-raised Atlantic salmon in targeted tributaries.

“Pioneer believes that it is our corporate responsibility to support local
environmental action,” said Tim Hogarth, CEO, Pioneer Petroleums. “We are
proud to be a part of the Bring Back the Salmon program that engages young
people in making a positive difference to the waterways in their
community.”

Stocking the Bronte Creek with classroom hatchery-raised Atlantic salmon
is part of an internationally acclaimed endeavor that was spearheaded by
the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources, with support from over 40 conservation partners,
including the Banrock Station Wetland Foundation Canada, LCBO Natural
Heritage Fund, Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, Fish For Ever
Foundation, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Helping with the Bronte Creek
event are McMaster University Let’s Talk Science graduate student
volunteers, Community Stream Steward Program, Trout Unlimited Canada,
Oakville and District Rod and Gun Club and Conservation Halton. For more
information, visit www.bringbackthesalmon.ca.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member
clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit, conservation-based
organization in Ontario. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.

Kip Adams, a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Northern Q.D.M.A. Director

Kip’s Korner is written by Kip Adams, a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Northern Director of Education and Outreach for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA)

As a member of QDMA I get some great information written by Kip Adams. Although mostly USA statistics and information a lot of this can be used and applied by Canadian hunters.

The most important tenet of Quality Deer Management (QDM) is to balance the deer herd with the habitat’s ability to support it.  Critics often speak of trophy bucks and antlers as the driving force, but hunters and managers who truly delve into the QDM philosophy quickly learn the correct number of deer for the landscape comes first, followed by balanced sex ratios and complete age structures.  Fortunately, you can work on these three objectives simultaneously by harvesting the biologically appropriate number of antlerless deer and passing young bucks.

Kip Adams QDMA

Many deer herds are more in balance with the habitat today than they’ve been in the recent past, and this is cause for celebration.  However, some areas still have overabundant deer herds resulting from harvesting too few antlerless deer.  Harvesting the proper number of antlerless deer can be difficult for a variety of reasons including hunters’ unwillingness to shoot them; a lack of opportunity with regard to access, seasons and/or bag limits; or simply low hunter numbers or their inability to shoot enough antlerless deer.  Most states currently have more liberal antlerless seasons and bag limits than they’ve had in the past, but some landowners and clubs still have difficulty acquiring enough antlerless tags or permits.

Given that hunter numbers have declined, the average hunter is now asked to take more antlerless animals in overabundant deer situations.  Unfortunately research shows there is a limit to the number of deer an individual hunter is willing to take annually.  This limit is generally less than three deer, and given that one or two may be bucks, the number of antlerless deer is further reduced.  One strategy to increase the impact of the antlerless harvest is to maximize harvest of adult does and minimize harvest of fawns.  I’ll clarify there is nothing wrong with harvesting fawns, and I routinely prescribe a fawn harvest to collect biological data from this age class.  However, if you’re struggling to balance the deer herd with the habitat, and you’re limited in the number of antlerless deer you take during the hunting season, focusing on adult does rather than fawns can help you reach your management objectives more quickly.

The QDMA recommends buck fawns constitute less than 10 percent of your total antlerless harvest.  Educating hunters on distinguishing fawns from adult deer and even separating buck and doe fawns in the field is a relatively simple matter.  By observing head and body features and behavior, most hunters can accurately distinguish between fawns and adults and buck and doe fawns most of the time.  I stress that last part because mistakes will happen.  Specifically, focusing on adult does rather than buck fawns provides more meat for the table, helps balance the herd more quickly, and allows additional buck fawns to survive.  More buck fawns means more yearling bucks the following year, which is good for balancing the adult sex ratio and for hunter satisfaction.

Let’s use a real-world example from where I live in Pennsylvania.  Before the Pennsylvania Game Commission implemented the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) in 2003 most Pennsylvania hunters could only get one or two antlerless tags.  On my family’s farm it was difficult to harvest enough antlerless deer with this restricted bag limit even with an extremely high hunter density of nearly one hunter per 25 acres.  During this time, when someone shot a button buck they had to use their only antlerless tag on it (or one of two), and thus they lost the ability to use it on an adult doe.  We cared far less about removing button bucks than about our lost ability to remove adult does.  Fortunately the Game Commission provides DMAP to most landowners today, and it has allowed us to achieve the proper antlerless harvest for the past several seasons.  Our forester even stated that we are the poster child for oak regeneration in Pennsylvania.  That is a far cry from the denuded oak woods I walked as a child.

Some contend protection of buck fawns is unnecessary, but in situations like the example above I’ll argue that learning to distinguish between antlerless deer in the field and selecting against buck fawns can dramatically help managers meet their deer density goals.  Many state agency biologists recognize this and provide information to hunters on how to identify antlerless deer on the hoof.  With escalating antlerless harvests in many states, we were interested in how the buck fawn harvest has changed over the past decade.  To calculate this, QDMA surveyed all state deer project leaders and asked what percentage of their total antlerless harvest was buck fawns in 1998 and 2008.  The data showed the percentage of buck fawns in the antlerless harvest declined from an average of 19 percent in 1998 to 16 percent in 2008.  This savings may appear small, but given the harvest of approximately 3.4 million antlerless deer in 2008, a 3 percent savings would have equated to 102,000 buck fawns.  Nationally, the percentage ranged from 3 percent in Mississippi (data collected on wildlife management areas and DMAP properties) to 25 percent in Ohio and Wisconsin in 2008.  The percentage in Ohio and Wisconsin is not surprising as both states have highly productive deer herds (i.e., a lot of fawns entering the populations) and aggressive antlerless harvest programs.  However, both states could benefit if some of those buck fawns harvested were adult does instead.  Notable declines in buck fawn harvest from 1998 to 2008 occurred in New Jersey (25 to 13 percent), Georgia (26 to 18 percent), North Carolina (17 to 12 percent) and Virginia (22 to 17 percent).

Many states have progressive deer management programs, and it’s showing in the health and quality of their herds and habitats, and especially in the satisfaction of their hunters.  I’ll reiterate that many deer herds are in balance with the habitat today, and reduced doe harvests are needed in these areas.  The focus of this article was for areas with too many deer and how targeting adult does rather than fawns could increase hunters’ effectiveness at balancing the herd with the habitat.  As fewer hunters are asked to harvest additional deer, more effective and efficient strategies become necessary.  Selecting adult does over buck (and doe) fawns meets this criterion, and it provides additional meat for the table.  Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Kip’s Korner is written by Kip Adams, a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Northern Director of Education and Outreach for the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA).  The QDMA is an international nonprofit wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ethical hunting, sound deer management and preservation of the deer-hunting heritage.  The QDMA can be reached at 1-800-209-DEER or www.QDMA.com.

Walleye are biting, bow season for deer opens Thursday

Walleye are biting up on Lake Dalrymple at dusk.

Thought I would troll for a few walleye on Lake Dalrymple before deer season opens. After all a  tasty meal of walleye fillets is almost as good as venison chops!

Trolling with any deep diver with a narrow body at 2.5 mph was the ticket. The lake was calm and little wind so that may change with today’s cold front blowing through. I stuck to about the 16-18 foot depth and had a few hits.

Kept one for the fry pan as planned and just enjoyed the evening on the lake with Sharron as we cruised on of many shoals. No bugs and an awesome sunset topped off this fishing trip.

This rain , winds and cold front passing through today might kick start the deer into moving more this week. I plan on being out with my BowTech sitting over one of  my Backyard Wildlife food plots. Good luck to you deer hunters.     Peters-Dalrymple-Walleye

Just don’t forget the fish are biting when your not hunting, isn’t fall just great!

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Pheasants Forever Invitational Shoot & Bird Hunt

This year’s Pheasants Forever Invitational Shoot will be held on October 27th.

Last years shoot was such a a good success they have expanded the format at 1883 Townline Road East in Canfield.

There will be two shooter teams with guide and dog included in your fees.

Four bird totals followed with a BBQ lunch provided.

A Clays Back Me up competition is included.Pheasants Forever_logo

Trophy for the 1st place Hunt Team

Trophy for the Back me up Shoot Team

Only 15 teams maximum so book early!

Cost is $100 per shooter. please make cheques payable to Pheasants Forever Southern Ontario Chapter.

For additional information contact

Jim Marini,  494 Ofield Road N. RR#2 Dundas, ON. L9H 5E2