– How Anti-Hunt Protesters Try To Suffocate Treaty Rights
An Analysis of recent events at Short Hills Provincial Park from the Christian Peacemaker Team and other Supporters of the Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt
(This is the latest in a series of commentaries Niagara At Large is posting for and against the latest fall deer hunt in Short Hills Provincial Park located near the centre of Niagara, Ontario.)
November 19th, 2015 – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Niagara Regional Police (NRP) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) continue to comply with the anti-hunt protesters’ barricade which prevents hunters from entering and exiting the park.
Negotiations ensure that the protesters’ stall-time is maintained at 5 minutes per vehicle. Hunters and supporters indicate that although this delay is incrementally less than previous years, tolerance and patience for this process is wearing thin. The barricade must be removed.
Haudenosaunee hunters must be supported in accessing their inherent and treaty rights without interference from anti-hunt protesters.
The MNRF and the OPP allows protesters to block the park entrance with their vehicles. The OPP told Jodielynn Harrison, an organizer with the Supporters of Haudenosaunee Right, that the police were only trying to “keep the peace” and that “they were concerned with maintaining a balance between protesters and hunters.” After demands that the hunters not be obstructed, the OPP officer on site spoke to MNRF officials and together, they ordered the protesters’ vehicle be removed from the park entrance.
Haudenosaunee hunters are subject to harassment and interference while participating in the anti-hunt protesters barricade. Anti-hunt protesters try to dominate the entrance to Short Hills Provincial Park, but the presence of supporters has grown significantly. Over two dozen people attended in support of the Haudenosaunee hunters, this past weekend.
The second night of the hunt, saw a marked turn in the atmosphere of the protest. Through laughter, drumming, singing, and dancing, Supporters of Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt came together with Indigenous peoples to celebrate the traditional hunt. “It was encouraging to see Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples coming together in a cultural celebration of this traditional hunt,” stated Chuck Wright, a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). “Unlike previous days that were antagonistic and hostile, song and dance transformed the space into one that was more respectful and joyful.”
CPT, an international human rights organization, has been present at the hunt for the last two years. They witness and document the anti-hunt protesters obstruction of the hunters’ access to the park. CPT reports that, this year, one hunter was barred from leaving the park to attend work on the afternoon of November 14, while another hunter was prevented from entering the park later in the afternoon on November 15.
Treaty rights are at the core of this issue. But, the reality of deer overpopulation is important, as well. The MNRF have identified overpopulation as one of the main reasons for devastated landscapes where flora and fauna are consumed to the point of erasure. The crowding of deer herds into close proximity increases the spread of disease, which heightens the potential for harmful contact with nearby human communities.
Anti-hunt protesters say public safety and protection of the park are the key reasons for their protest. But Supporters of Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt continue to observe that the hunters and the MNRF are experienced professionals who exercise sound safety practices with integrity and provide good stewardship of the land and animals, as has been the case since time immemorial.
Supporters will continue to gather at the Pelham Road entrance to the Short Hills Provincial Park for the duration of the traditional hunt. They will continue to bear witness and, with a Peace Food Table, continue to offer food and beverages to anti-hunt protesters, supporters, police, MNRF and hunters. All members of the Niagara Region are welcome to participate. Reconciliation is active work. Supporters are doing their best to ensure that process is respectful of Haudenosaunee peoples, treaty rights and sovereignty.
The next scheduled dates of the hunt are Friday, November 20th , Saturday, November 28th and Sunday, November 29th 2015.
For more information on this issue and on Christian Peacemaker Teams in Canada visit – http://www.cpt.org/category/cptnet-categories/canada and sixnationsrighttohunt.tumblr.com
For further information, www.sixnationsrighttohunt.tumblr.com
Visit Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary for and from the greater bi-national Niagara region.
NOW IT IS YOUR TURN TO COMMENT. Niagara At Large encourages you to share your views on this post. A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who share their first and last name with them, and given the controversy of this particular issue, we ask one and all to state their views for or against or otherwise in a respectful manner.
This stall time, as it is being called here, has been and remains at 5 minute per vehicle or 2 vehicles coming out of the park…I can state without hesitation, that this is pretty much as it has been from the beginning other than in the first year (when I was not in attendance). These arrangements have been negotiated with the local police & the Ministry. There is no to little damage to the flora at Shorthills, and deer are not starving or diseased as per the MNR own field notes.
So far during this hunt 7 deer have been wounded and not accounted for.
The hunter, referred to in this story, who was late for work, was in a vehicle with a driver who struck me and continued to bump me backwards. This was in full view of the MNR. The hunter was well aware of the 5 minute “stall” time. The plate number of the white truck involved is AA 85973. The passanger did call out that he was late for work. He was laughing about it today when he waited to exit. The incident has been reported to the Chief of the NRP. I will send the publisher of NAL a picture of the incident. Safety clearly was not the Hunters priority.
The other hunter was not prevented from entering the Park in the afternoon of the 15th. Despite honking, he was unable to get the attention of the MNR who were far from the entrance talking amongst themselves which delayed his entry. He was then delayed subject to the agreed upon 5 minute “stall” time. There was no OPP officer on site at the time.
Earlier, MNR failed to notice a cyclist behind them entering the Park but were notified by onlookers and the cyclist was sent back thru the Park to the Boy Scout Camp.
Readers should note that the photos in this article are not current.
“The MNRF have identified overpopulation as one of the main reasons for devastated landscapes where flora and fauna are consumed to the point of erasure.”
I would appreciate it someone could support this claim. The observational data collected in two previous hunts is extremely useful for refuting several claims by the MNR that there is overpopulation in the park, or that there is great concern over the spread of Lyme disease. While Lyme surveillance is important and ongoing, there seems to be little risk with the disease in this geographical area, an observation that is supported by the fact that current surveillance programs have not identified Short Hills as an area of heightened risk. Nor did the post-mortems indicate the presence of ticks or internal parasites.
Post Mortem Stats (from Access to Information data):
52 deer examined before or after field dressing, by MNR staff
13 of these deer were fawns
12 deer weighed 90 lbs or less
Oldest deer estimated by be 7.5 years of age
Youngest deer estimated to be “0” age
Smallest deer was 66 lbs (about the weight of the average golden retriever)
45% of does were in various stages of lactation
Several deer were close to or over 200 lbs.
No ticks were observed
Age and weight are very important data points because they provide an index of population size relative to the habitat carrying capacity. In the wild, deer usually live no more than 10 years.The average age of the deer in the MNR’s data is lowered considerably due to the killing of fawns that otherwise would have lived a few more years. The age of the oldest deer is a good indication that there is a desirable apex predator/prey balance in the park. In most species of deer, and lactation, which is the most energetically demanding component of maternal care, continues for about 80-100 days after birth, which occurs in May/June. It continues until the next rut. Lactation data provides evidence that the doe raised one or more fawns and is an indicator of good overall reproductive health in the herd (versus starvation). Biologists have examined all the deer from the hunts and Access-to-Information data has revealed that none were starving or suffering from any pathological conditions (at least, this is not mentioned anywhere in the disclosed documentation). So based on the MNR’s own empirical data, there appears to be no starvation (which is the end result of overpopulation).
If either the MNR or the hunters think there are too many deer and the deer are going to starve to death unless they are hunted, they should stop increasing the number of deer.
Isn’t this plain and simple killing in a public park.
Are the hunters paying for the NRP so people will not enter a public park and be hurt.
Isn’t hunting don’t by foot. What is with the trucks going in to the park?
How about: — -Trails – Friends of Short Hills Park
Short Hills Provincial Park contains an extensive trail system for visitors to enjoy at any time of the year.
Or: — http://www.niagaragreenbelt.com/listings/76-parks-gardens-a-conservation-areas/357-short-hills-provincial-park.html
I am sure there is another solution.
Yes Carol, there is a solution. These same hunters are at Dundas Valley Mondays to Thursdays Nov 16-Dec 10 and back again Jan 4. So, it is not as though Short Hills is their only option in terms of hunting. Ask yourself, where have all the deer gone closer to the hunters homes?
Further, there are other areas in Niagara that have community support and proven safety protocols for hunting. Short Hills Park is not one of them. I understand these hunters want exclusivity when hunting and that demand can be accomplished by closing the hunting location of their choice to non-Haudenosaunee hunters or facilitating Haudenosaunee hunting after the regular hunting season is over as happened in SHP during the first hunt of Jan 2013. Who would best understand the desire to kill an animal, more than other killers, I mean hunters?
It should be noted that the new spokesperson for the Haudenosaunee, Jodielynn Harrison only came on scene mid hunt last year and would have no first hand knowledge about the two hunts in 2013. Further, it would have been beneficial for her to be present at the July8/15 presentation by MNR Biologist Ron Gould entitled “Species at Risk in Short Hills”. These included plants, birds and other critters; however, the white tailed deer was not identified as the culprit for their “at risk” status. Her attempts to vilify the deer as a means to augment the “need” for hunting deer for their own sake is a desperate one. Ron Gould’s is the same MNR Biologist that has been on site examining the deer killed during the hunts since 2013.
Public safety is at issue here. There is no limit to the number of hunters allowed into Ontario’s smallest provincial park and no limit to the number of deer they wound or kill. There have been instances of unencased weapons and tresspasing onto homeowners properties. Hunters accessed the Park last year thru the occupied Boy Scout Camp aided by Ms Harrison driving their Hummer with plates “Styres”.
Does anyone see the hypocrisy of a group who call themselves “Christian Peacemakers” cheering and applauding and celebrating when hunters leave the park with 66lb dead baby fawns in the back of their trucks? Is there not enough killing going on in this world?