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Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone J

Zone J January Meeting and Reports

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O.F.A.H. Zone J                   Quarterly Meeting                   Jan. 8, 2006

                   Western Ontario Fish & Game Protective Association

 

42 members present as Stan Gibbs, president of Western Ontario Fish & Game Protective Association (WOFGPA) welcomed the OFAH.

 Doug Elliott received a round of applause in appreciation of his 58th year of OFAH membership.

 

Minutes of Zone J Annual meeting of September 17 & 18, 2005 read by Secretary/Treasurer Wilf Cassidy. 

 

Chair Felix Barbetti clarified that we support the return of the Spring Bear Hunt. Could have better used the millions of dollars that was spent on the Bear Wise Program

 

Dawn Sucee, Invasive Species Biologist of the OFAH gave an interesting and informative presentation on “Spread the word, not the Species”.  Dawn reports that the OFAH has had a considerable lead on the Invasive Species issues. The Invasive Species committee was initiated in 1992 to address the zebra mussels with OFAH in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR). Education and information seems to be working.  There is a Fish Rescue Program that takes aquarium fish from people who no longer want them instead of dumping them. 2500 boat launches has Invasive Species postings educating the public. A new regulation as of August 31, 2005 banning live possession of gobies, snakeheads, and invasive carp was printed in the Canada Gazette on September 21, 2005. If you buy live bait and find gobies with your shiners, go back to the bait store because it is illegal for you to possess live gobies. Recently, a Toronto seafood company was fined $40,000 for trading banned live fish. We must work together as anglers to stop the spread of Invasive Species. (Ontario Fishery Regulations SOR/2005249). Early detection allows a rapid response Contact Invasive Species hotline by calling 1-800-563-7711 or at  www.invadingspecies.com.

Volunteers are needed to monitor rusty crayfish.  They are native to the Ohio River basin and have been introduced as live bait.  Minnow traps are used to detect presence. The rusty crayfish are very aggressive, are edible and grow up to 6” long. Very successful control of purple loosestrife by using beetle control at WOFGPA ponds five years ago.  Province wide control forecasted for 2015. The OFAH, DFO and MNR eradication of round gobies at Pefferlaw Lake seems successful.  Over 4,000 fish were electro fished prior to the release of rotenone (Piscicide).  The fish were released into Lake Simcoe.  Two weeks after the release of rotenone, no live gobies were found and fish were already present.  Monitoring continues.

 

Dan Elliott and Pud Hunter of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) were on hand to discuss the following:     

Thames River Fisheries Management (TRFM) covers the Thames River watershed and goes for public input this spring.  The Springbank Dam was established in the 1800’s to create an area for recreational boating.  It had a 4-foot head. All dams are an issue with Fisheries management. TheSpringbank dam was rebuilt in 1929 with an 18-foot head. It is the first major dam coming up the Thames River from Lake St. Clair. This dam is now a public safety issue. The MNR is responsible for all dams in Ontario. The MNR permit issued to the City of London has expired.  The City has applied for an extension. The MNR stands firm on fish passage up until June 15th

All of Ontario, Canada and across International boundaries is watching this dam project closely.  The Fifth Estate is considering producing a documentary on this.

Thames fisheries proposes to change regulations to Combine Division 3 with 4 and implement slot size, etc.  Any comments we have on this issue please send it to OFAH Provincial Director at Large, Russ Piper.  He will forward all comments to the appropriate person at the MNR.

 

Wildlife – deer hunting – this past season was a phenomenal hunt for everyone. Quota was intended to provide additional opportunities for a successful hunt.   If you have concerns about the system to obtain tags, please let Russ Piper know.  He will forward your comments to the MNR

Suggestions – do not sell a hunter their 2nd tag until the season starts

Question was raised in regards to the moose and deer survey – why do the hunters have to pay the postage to return the survey?  There is a 65 to 70% return rate in our District while provincially the return rate is 30%.  The cost of stamping 400,000 surveys would be about $1,200,000.  The MNR can make better use of its funds.

 

Youth Pheasant Hunt – 12 to 16 yr old hunter apprentice training program 36 participants saw the game right from live in the field to prepared and eaten.    They got to identify game, field dress, and skeet shoot. Each youth got to shoot at 3 pheasant. Terrific feedback on this program as well as industry sponsorship support. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Has not been found in Ontario but it can hide for 10 years

 

Sifton Bog deer – 2005 fall count about 70 – 75 in the herd City of London want to do a “deer assessment” before they do anything with this herd. MNR went to council for archery hunt at Sifton Bog in Dec. 2005. Council voted 12 against/7 for.  It surprised many people this went to council 275 deer incidents in 2004/05 in City of London with each incident costing the city a minimum of $300 each.  Don Fairbairn, OFAH Life Member will receive comments on this issue from membership and pass them on to MNR

 

Wandering Bull Moose – this is a 2-year-old Bull suspected from Bruce Peninsula. OPP wanted to shoot the moose near Sarnia but MNR said NO. Was last seen in Newton, looks like he’s lonely and headed home

 

Ring Neck Pheasant Program this is low key and is not going to the press

location of pheasant release is somewhere in Elgin/Lambton . Will wait another year or two and will continue monitoring

 

Bob White Quails – population in North America is decreasingVery difficult to get stock but preliminary findings are encouraging

 

Wild Turkeys – population numbers are phenomenal, MNR is getting concerned with the large numbers. MNR is looking at possibly increasing hunting opportunities next yr. The rumor about having a Fall hunt is wrong

Sunday Hunting – nothing this year, probably next year

 

Hats for Hides program  - MNR is worried that if this program ends, where are the hides going?  MNR is looking for support to continue the program

 

ATVs   -     use of ATV’s on Crown land is not restricted.  Irresponsible ATV owners are causing problems by running off the designated paths, running thru trout streams disturbing habitat and washing their ATV’s in streams

 

Pud Hunter wrapped up with his view of the Shania Twain interview he saw on TV. When asked about her being a vegetarian, she replied that she’s not really a vegetarian; she just can’t get her favorite meat where she lives – Roast Bear!! Pud Hunter says OFAH Zone J should make Shania Twain our poster child!!

 

Please see attached reports:   Zone J Chair Report; Alternate Director Report; Fisheries Report; Environment Committee Report; Big Game Report; November and December Financial Reports.

 

Small Game Report by Wilf Cassidy

Wilf reports that most of his information was covered by Dan and Pud.  Brant area has seen an increase in the number of ducks and Canada geese are plentiful   

                                                     

Wetlands and Drainage Report by Russ Piper – no report

 

Youth Camp Out Report by Don Fairbairn Youth Camp Out will be held in June in Port Colborne, Ontario.  Lure making and black powder will be featured activities.  Camping is available but there is no hydro and water/toilet are available at the clubhouse.  Saturday lunch is included.Please contact Alf Marinelli or Don Fairbairn to be involved.

 

Old Business: Member clubs need to take the initiative to become more involved and have at least one member attend the Quarterly meetings.

 

Bill Feltis reports the Huntington Disease research fundraising shoot raised almost $5,000    

 

Secretary/Treasurer Wilf Cassidy announces that the $12,845.78 in the Zone J F & W account with Head Office is NOT for only provincial causes, but applications for this money must be made thru Head Office.

 

Wild Turkey Seminar instructors are needed.  Please contact Zone J Secretary/Treasurer Wilf Cassidy or Head Office if you’re interested.

 

 

Big Game Report; Jan 08, 2005

 

Deer

 

Locally, in Zone J Deer populations continue to grow due to various factors including favorable winter conditions, abundant food sources, wildlife management practices, and lack of access to habitat where populations thrive. Although to the sportsmen this is an ideal time to participate in the harvest, in many areas harvest rates may not be adequate to manage the population. Motor vehicle incidents continue to rise, agricultural damage increases, and urban development is increasing incident factors, just to name a few.

 

Presently as directed by the Minister, a Southern Ontario Wildlife Conflict and Deer Management strategy process is underway which started in September of 2005. A 40 member stakeholders group was established consisting of representatives from agriculture, agency, and non government agencies, sportsmen, and non sportsmen alike. Your O.F.A.H.  is fully engaged with the process.  We are providing input which includes a sportsmen’s perspective as well as bringing  science   as a principle for fundamental decision making. Ed Reid, our OFAH staff Biologist will be ensuring our contributions are upfront and center for the entire process.  There are several key areas of review which included harvest management, compensation, prevention and site specific tools, short term solutions, research, monitoring, and reporting. Although it is still early to report on the final product, hunting is considered by the majority to be one of the more effective deer management tools available.

Obstacles to effective management  include things like restricted lands access, hunter participation, tag allocation and to some degree hunter objectives. It may be necessary to have hunters consider taking animals of specific gender or age group in efforts to maintain a balanced harvest, protect herd health and control population. The final draft is expected to be posted on the EBR in 2006 for comment.

 

Deer Poaching

 

Its easy with Deer populations increasing for public and others to ignore situations which should be investigated. It is suspected poaching may increase during this time of year especially when deer densities tend to increase in specific areas, when snow covered ground makes night vision especially easy without bright lights, and doors and windows are closed tight on houses. Deer should be considered a valuable resource and we should make sure that the public and agencies maintain the value perspective.   Any situation which is questionable by timing, by incident, by circumstance should be reported to the MNR Tips hotline 1 877 847 7667

 

Unquestionably, the general public needs to be reminded that people who harvest deer during darkness, out of season, or during periods or by methods which are contrary to the law are not hunters, they are criminals and should be dealt with in a suitable fashion.

  

Hunter harvest

 

Hunter harvest in Zone J for the most part in most WMU’S have initial reports of very successful harvest rates with several WMUs having multiple seals available. Updated reports will hopefully be available  from the MNR for zone WMUs for the spring update.

 

Trespassing

 

Some people just don’t get it! This year again some areas within our zone report an increase in registered trespass complaints during the controlled hunts. Obviously we have some work to do here. As responsible participants we need to ensure we communicate and support landowner permission. This in itself can be one of the biggest obstacles to effect wildlife management and hunter success. Ask permission, honor permission and encourage permission. Permission should be confirmed on a yearly basis. Many challenges we face as hunters including land access restrictions, municipal bylaw considerations, etc. and are initiated by landowners who feel their rights have been violated.  It has also been reported that many of these individuals who were investigated and guilty on trespass complaints were also non compliant in other ways.

 

Hunter Orange

 

A stakeholders meeting has been requested for early 2006 with the MNR on the issue of hunter orange including consideration for the Camouflage orange as per the recommendations presented by the O.F.A.H. in August of 2005. A date for this meeting has not been confirmed but we will update you on this at our next meeting in April.

 

Hats for Hides

 

There is a growing problem associated with the downsizing of this program including suitable depots, suitability of hides, salting, and fees for salting. Local roadside dumping are increasing the negativity around harvest activities and compounding the effects of anti sentiment. Our OFAH is working diligently to investigate options and solutions to the issue but need your input and ideas. Local clubs may develop alternative solutions that should be shared for the benefit of us all. The development of bio diesel facilities may prove beneficial in the very near future but Provincial and Federal agencies have not agreed on guidelines for suitable sources and until these guidelines are confirm that alternative remains unavailable.

 

Moose

 

Trent University has initiated a Moose Research project for a 3 year period to collar Moose, Bear and Wolves in the Algonquin area to measure movement and predation and to include DNA research as well. The MNR has also committed funds to the project and is also supported by the O.F.A.H. The research results will be shared and supportive of future modeling and management of the species.

  

Bear Wise Program

 

The Bear Wise Program has been very effective at spending resource management dollars. The program has four elements that include prevention, awareness and education, response, and reporting. Ontario has spent 5 million in 2004 and as of Dec had spent 4.5 million in 2005. The MNR records show the  killing of “problem” bears  in 2004 at 62 animals and 314 bears killed 2005. These figures only include bears killed by the M.N.R. agents and police and do not include those “problem” bears harvested but the public.

 

Your OFAH will continue to lobby and support alternatives that are more effective in dealing with increased bear incidents and population, which recognizes the value of the resource, and will eventually bring a return to the spring bear hunt. Community and Municipal representatives have shown considerable movement on the issue in recent months and we hope combined with our efforts will eventually bring a sensible resolve to the issue.

 

CWD

 

In many WMU’s, in 2005, within our ZONE J, a CWD (CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE) testing program was initiated. We hope that all successful hunters participated when requested. It is believe that CWD does not exist in Ontario.

 

On Nov. 4th, 2005 a new regulation came into effect to address concerns for animal parts which could expose and introduce Ontario to this disease. This regulation will be of specific interest to those who hunt and could harvest an animal which is a member of the deer family outside of the Province of Ontario. The regulation states that it is illegal to possess any part of the antlers, head, brain, tonsils, hide, hooves, lymph nodes, spleen, mammary glands, entrails, internal organs or spinal column of a cervid harvested outside of Ontario. Cervids include white tailed der, mule deer, elk, and other captive deer, but does not include moose and caribou.

 

The regulation does not include finished taxidermy mounts and there are other exceptions and conditions that apply.

 

If you have any intention or know of any hunters who are planning to hunt outside of Ontario for these species please advise them of this regulation.

 

I will now move acceptance of this report,

 

Yours in Conservation

 

Tony Jackson

OFAH Big Game Advisory Committee

 

 

Alternate Director Report

 

Communication New Zone J Web Site

 

The first quarter of the term has been focused on trying to improve communication for our clubs. The Zone now has a web page that can be accessed at the following address www. http://ofahzonej.tripod.com  There are places for clubs to advertise their events and activities so that everyone in the Zone can share ideas and news.  Contact L McPhail Zone web editor for additions or comments

 

Firearms Advisory Report

 

There has been extensive media coverage with the increase of firearms and gang related activities in the province using illegal handguns. The OFAH is not directly impacted as all members use legally registered firearms for legal purposes. These incidents highlight the OFAH stand that the government should be utilizing funds to provide more police on the streets and border security instead of the Federal Gun Registry program. It is important to note that the OFAH will respond accordingly and supports the use of all types of firearms by legal, licensed owners. The OFAH supports stiff mandatory penalties for the use of any firearm to commit a crime, increased police spending  increased border security, the abolition of plea bargains that reduce sentencing and the redirection of spending from the Federal Gun registry toward these initiatives.

           

Ruger Mini 14

 

Despite comments that Justice Minister Irwin Cotler to the effect he had no intention of reviewing the classification of the Mini 14 rumor has it that he will indeed be seeking to review the status of the firearm. It is currently listed as non restricted and the minister was looking at reclassification. He quickly changed his tune once the OFAH and firearms community rose up against the proposal. The government should not be trusted on this issue and members are encouraged to question their M.P.’s  and local candidates in upcoming elections to determine their position. The Mini 14 is a very popular sporting and hunting firearm in many different calibers.

 

UN Stamping

 

The firearms marking regulation has been deferred until December 2007  This is the new regulations that require all firearms manufactured in Canada or imported into Canada to be stamped with country of origin and a unique identification number. The justification is to combat terrorism. US manufacturers have declined to participate in the program which will leave local distributors and retailers responsible for adhering to the guidelines. The OFAH will continue to track the issue and provide updates as information becomes available. See http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/compliance-conformite/bulletins/public_agents/bulletin41_e.asp

 

Hand loading Issue

 

The Federal Department of Natural resources and Explosive branch are still continuing work on a new policy on hand loading. Despite the fact they have amended their original proposal some changes are still required. The OFAH will continue to review the changes and respond on behalf of our members who may be engaged in loading at their place of residence.

 

Firearms licenses

 

All firearms licenses are issued for a period of 5 years. And will expire upon your birthday. Notice should be received 60 days prior,  therefore if no notice is received, contact the C.F.C. Once you receive notice do not procrastinate. Complete the forms and sent them in. Again if the POL or PAL has expired you are in violation. You also run the risk of registration certificates becoming null and void. If you have a POL and it expires you cannot get it back and must obtain a PAL by either completing the course or by challenging the test.

 

Hunter Education

 

Instructors in Ontario have taught a total of 807 courses and 9,119 new students in 2005. Again a very successful year with an average of approximately 10,000 new hunters. Of the 9,000 18% or 1600 students were young apprentice hunters. This is a promising sight that young people are becoming involved in the outdoors.

 

New Hunter Education Program for 2006

The new course criteria will be implemented January this year. Major changes are as follows

  • All firearms training will be done by the C.F.S.C. and test
  • H1 and H2 license

H1 allows hunting with firearms, archery and falconry. The training required is C.F.S.C. and hunter education

H2 allows hunting with falconry and archery only. Training required is 2.5 hrs of firearms training and hunter education training of 10 hours.

  • Practical firearms handling test is no longer required in hunter education and instructors will now administer hunter education theory test at the end of their own course.

Archery Report

 

With the new licensing arrangement the OFAH is still in the position that 1.5 hours of archery training is not sufficient in the H1 or H2 classification and will continue to pursue the MNR to expand this section in the future. With the increased popularity of archery and increased technology in archery equipment, the need for increased education is necessary, especially in the discipline of archery hunting.

                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yours in Conservation

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                L McPhail

                                                                                                                                                                                    Alternate Director

                                                                                                                                                                                                Zone J

 

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