O.F.A.H. Response to Proposed Reduction of Pelee Island Pheasant Clean-up Hunts
A letter from the O.F.A.H. sent to Mr. Brad Connor, Area Supervisor Ministry of Natural Resources that concerns
Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry Number 011-1087
Dear Mr. Connor:
Thank you for providing members of the public the opportunity to comment on this proposal to reduce the number of pheasant “clean-up” hunts, and eliminate Saturdays from remaining clean-up hunts on Pelee Island
(Wildlife Management Unit 95).
On behalf of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), our 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 670 member clubs, I am pleased to submit our opposition to the proposal.
We have learned through discussions with members of the O.F.A.H.-affiliated Pelee Island Sportsmen’s Association, that four clean-up hunts were implemented after years of efforts by conservation-minded hunters,
and a special committee, to make the best use of residual birds which were released for, and unharvested, in the regular Pelee Island fall pheasant hunts.
Our understanding is that clean-up hunts are popular among hunters, and many Pelee Island residents and businesses, precisely because they contribute to the local economy, and derive additional social, tourism related economic and recreational value from birds, which would otherwise be lost without the clean-up hunts.
We are further informed that the committee that initially proposed the clean-up hunts wanted Saturdays specifically included so that local residents (e.g. from Windsor/Essex/Chatham-Kent area) could enjoy some family pheasant hunting on the weekends — opportunities that would not otherwise exist for many working families and children in school.
With regard to public safety “concerns” raised in the proposal, we suspect that this has been wildly overstated, given the sterling safety record of Ontario small game hunters. Regardless, we believe that public safety is best assured through enforcement of the existing hunting regulations, and that it is better to have licensed hunters distributed over four weeks, including Saturdays, than to concentrate these hunters into two shorter weeks. In other words, we believe that the proposed shortening of clean-up hunts would not improve hunter and public safety, but could actually reduce it.
Therefore, we urge you to maintain these important existing opportunities. Please do not proceed with this proposal.
As noted above, we do not believe that concentrating hunter effort into fewer days should be expected to make the hunt “safer.” Also, based on our understanding of participation rates in the clean-up hunts, we also challenge the conclusions that the recreational and economic impact of the proposal would be “mainly positive.”
Yours in Conservation,
Senior Wildlife Biologist