STOP ALL HUNTING IN SHORT HILLS PARK
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Since January 2013 the Ministry of Natural Resources has been facilitating an annual DHR (Deer Herd Reduction) within previously protected Short Hills Provincial Park. Initially the MNRF allowed only 15 hunters and 4 days of hunting in Jan. 2103 but over the years the numbers have now escalated to an alarming proportion, allowing almost 100 hunters in the park at one time in full size trucks, and extending the hunts to 6 days each year.
Over the past 4 years, the MNRF has hosted 5 of these hunts, killing approximately 150 deer at a cost of $220,000 to the taxpayers of Ontario. The hunters kill fawns (under 70lbs) as well as lactating does (leaving fawns to starve and die over the winter), and of course the trophy bucks. MNRF documentation confirms that a buck was decapitated within the park, just the head removed by the hunter leaving the remains to rot in the park. This is far from a subsistence hunt. The number of wounded is not recorded accurately by the MNRF. The park itself has sustained extensive damage from ATVs used by the MNRF to transport the dead deer to the hunter’s vehicles and large trucks are allowed into the park driven by hunters during the hunt.
Public safety has been an issue as well since the beginning. During each hunt there have been members of the public unknowingly enter the park during an active hunt (this is documented in MNRF notes obtained thru FOI). The Boy Scouts camp which is private property has been used by hunters to remove deer and scouts have actually been in the park during hunt days. Hunters have trespassed on private property in pursuit of wounded animals. Wounded animals have been destroyed on private lands. Safety measures outlined in the protocol for hunters are ignored and not enforced by MNRF.
The MNRF have refused to complete an Environmental Assessment on Short HIlls Park which is required in the event of Deer Herd Reduction. No recent survey has been done on the park, so there is NO way of knowing how many deer actually remain.
We are asking Minister McGarry to STOP ALL HUNTING IN SHORT HILLS PROVINCIAL PARK immediately, and conduct the proper Environmental Assessments to save the park and wildlife from further damage.
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