Ontarians Should Blame Themselves for Bear Hunt Decision, Writer Suggests

Dear Editor,

While I agree the banning of the spring bear hunt was an ill-conceived, poorly-timed decision, it is important to determine how this could happen. There are lessons to be learned. Many writers blame Mike Harris and say �it�s all about votes� or it�s �politically motivated�. I believe we need to look beyond those easily laid claims. Let�s quit saying �it wasn�t my fault so it must be somebody else�s.�

Ask the other two political parties in Ontario to publicly state that they will re-open the spring bear hunt if elected. You will find they won�t. Then we need to ask ourselves how can this be; it�s biologically sound and important to Northern Ontario�s economy. The simple answer is politics and votes and the animal rights people who many mistakenly believe all live in southern Ontario. A closer examination reveals that we, as anglers, hunters or business people who depend partly or wholly on hunting and fishing activities, have no one to blame but ourselves. The Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters (NOTO), and the Ontario Federal of Anglers & Hunters (OFAH) have been the two groups that have lobbied the most to maintain this hunt. They lost the fight. There are tens of thousands of businesses whose livelihood depends on fishing and hunting, yet NOTO has only 600 members. There are over one million Ontario residents who buy hunting and fishing licenses yet the OFAH has only 80,000 members. If every hunter and angler belonged to the OFAH, no government would dare attack our rightful activities.

Northwestern Ontario residents and their elected councils are known for their independence. In a genuine belief that only they know what�s best, they are reluctant to join or support �southern-based� groups. They quickly form their own little groups to fight single issues, then fade away when the issue is gone and usually lost. Now they are forming the Ontario Black Bear Association, furiously writing letters to the editor, and Municipal Councils are passing resolutions to have the hunt reopened. Good ideas but too late. In 1998 the OFAH wrote to all northern Ontario�s Municipalities asking them to support the spring hunt. Most municipalities ignored the request and Thunder Bay even advocated cancellation of the hunt. Anybody who has been even remotely involved in bear hunting should have known the spring hunt was in jeopardy and would have known if they belonged to a provincial group. The OFAH has been fighting for years to save bear hunting as we know it.

The Northern media are no different. Recently the Provincial Government made it legal for children as young as 12 to go hunting under direct supervision of an adult. Many Northern media severely criticized this new apprenticeship safety program. They failed to see that the new Federal gun control regulations make it costly to get started into hunting. Under this program, besides children learning safety and ethics, they can slowly work towards the day when they can afford to do it. Some hunters also criticized this positive move, yet most current hunters are baby boomers who learned their hunting skills carrying guns unsupervised at ages often younger than twelve. The media complain now about the economic loss from the spring hunt but failed to recognize the much bigger loss due to Federal gun control regulations which will cause a decline in gun ownership and lack of new participants. This, along with the animal rights movement, could eventually lead to no hunting in Ontario. Measure that economic loss!

But rather than get involved provincially or nationally, many people in Northwestern Ontario use their energy to fight each other and blame whatever government is in power. Many long gun owners did not support those who owned hand guns. Some gun owners don�t like bow hunters and vice versa. Some longbow hunters don�t like crossbow hunters. Those who walk to hunt don�t like ATV�s. Many hunters do not support using dogs or bait to hunt. But these same hunters who also fish would rebel if someone suggested that modern fishing electronics or the use of live bait is no different.

We are so wrapped up in believing that what we do and how we do it is the only right way that we refuse to look at the big picture. We are so busy worrying that people from southern Ontario get all the moose tags, that non-residents catch all those fish, shoot all those bears or get 10% of the adult moose tags that we fail to see the only thing accomplished is to keep ourselves divided. We�d rather fight to open up those few access roads closed to protect remote tourism while ignoring or supporting the establishment of huge parks in which no one can drive or hunt. Two people who derive their income from �the mill� told me they had no problem with canceling the spring hunt. They never once considered how many denning bears might be disturbed or die from winter timber harvesting operations or that this is the thin edge of the wedge against all hunting practices.

Many people do join groups like NOTO or the OFAH but quit and sometimes publicly chastise them or remember all the battles they won. I don�t believe anybody ever agrees with everything that a political party says or does but come election time, many will still support the same party. But they won�t show the same sense of loyalty to the OFAH or NOTO and therefore their efforts are weakened.

Yes, the spring bear hunt has ended because of politics, but in my view lack of political savvy by Northern Ontario is the real cause. The anglers and hunters, tourist establishments, trappers, target shooters and those that just care could join a consolidated voice in this province in excess of two million people. No government could ever deny the reasonable wishes of such a large group but that�s just wishful thinking. It will never come to pass. Most people will continue to be non-joiners, will fight their own little unorganized battles (and lose) and continue to blame the government of the day while the well organized, well funded groups opposed to our activities, who long ago combined their forces, continue to win.

Like it or not, democracy is no longer “for the people, by the people”. It�s “for the lobby group, by the lobby group”. So don�t blame Mike Harris; blame yourself and remember that democracy means more than �they didn�t listen to me�. Join a provincial group and strengthen it so it can do even more on your behalf.

Charles Alexander,
Dryden, Ontario

Concerns Raised with Midwifery By-Laws
Neil Zacharjewicz

MINDEMOYA – The Manitoulin Health Center (MHC) Board of Directors has enacted by-laws to deal with midwifery on the Island, and how it will interact with the hospitals. However, concerns were raised over one clause in particular which Tammy Corbiere believed could cause some problems in a �worse case scenario.�

At the January 28 meeting of the board, Corbiere pointed out that under the volunteer transfer of the patient from a midwife to a physician, the doctor has the option of refusing to take over the client. She suggested such a clause would put the client at risk.

MHC Executive Director Bruce Cunningham indicated the clause is only for the voluntary transfer of a patient, and not the mandatory transfer. He noted the physicians do not want to be called in at the last minute to �catch the ball.� He added the clause is not within the board�s ability to control. Jeffrey clarified that in crisis situations, the doctor may be required to take over the client, but there is no requirement for the doctor to provide further care and management after the birth of a child. It would be strictly if the doctor was willing, he said.

Business Beat
Rita Gordon

Congratulations to Paulette Robertson on her appointment to the position of clerk-treasurer for Billings Township! Also to J.S. Enterprises, a new convenience store that opened up in Little Current. Kudos to the Schooner Restaurant in Manitowaning for sponsoring a poker run this past weekend that attracted close to fifty snowmobilers. Proceeds from the event were split evenly between the Snowdusters Club and the first, second and third place winners. This generous donation to the Snowdusters will help the club to cope financially with the expenses of grooming the many trails on the Island.

The Schoolhouse Restaurant in Providence Bay is once again holding their famous Italian Cuisine on Saturday, February 6. Reservations are preferred as this is a very popular feast and seating is limited. Meija Meilonen, of the Classical School of Dance, will be teaching ballet to adults in Mindemoya on Monday afternoons beginning in February. If you are interested, you can contact her at 859-2144.

Red Bow in Little Current is having a three-hour decorating class on co-ordinating your room on Sunday, February 13. Space is limited, so register early. The Manitoulin Tourism Association is looking for partners to do mall shows around Ontario. Call Jennifer Mitchell at the MTA office if you are interested in helping out. The Chamber�s regular monthly meeting was held on February 2 and coming up on Monday, February 8 is a public meeting of the Millennium Committee. This meeting will be the second one to be held and will take place at 7:30 p.m. in West Bay at Manitoulin Secondary High School. All participants of the first meeting as well as interested newcomers are all welcome to attend.

Anyone looking for skidoos should know there are lots of places on the island to purchase one. Fogal�s in Gore Bay is a Polaris dealer, and Addison�s Cat House in West Bay is an Arctic Cat dealer. Northern Consolidated Equipment in Gore Bay is your skidoo dealer and is also the sponsor of the Snowdusters Trail Condition Report done by Rita Gordon on CKNR, 94.1 FM radio.

Coming up this week is a men�s curling bonspiel in Gore Bay, a ladies curling bonspiel in Manitowaning, Lions Winterfest activities in Little Current as well as the Gore Bay Rotary Winter Carnival. The Holy Trinity ACW in Little Current will be holding a bake and craft sale on February 6 and the Lionsfest Poker Run in Little Current will also be held that day.

Rita Gordon�s business column appears Wednesdays in The Manitoulin Recorder. If you have business news of interest to Manitoulin Island and area, write her c/o Gordon�s Park, Hwy. 6, Tehkummah, Ontario P0P 2C0, fax her at (705) 859-2470, or email at [email protected].

Town Receives Funds to Expand Marina Capacity
Tom Sasvari

GORE BAY – The Town of Gore Bay has received funding for marina work which will increase the number of boats it can handle. Federal funding of $50,000 under the Job Creation Partnership Program is being provided to Gore Bay. As well as the funding, two people will be hired for a 16 week period to complete the work needed to be done.

Town Clerk Joyce Foster explained, �The project is docks for the marina. We will be replacing the old docks, which are beyond repair, and put in new ones which will allow us extra capacity of 24-26 new boat slips.� The town will have a total of 150 boat slips in its marina, with the expansion in docks. Project work will begin in mid-February, and take four months to complete, added Foster.

Farmer’s Beat
Brian Bell

Manitoulin News and Views

Feed Waste: Research shows that up to 40% of feed is wasted in some feeding systems. That 40% waste adds up to significantly increased feeding costs in the cattle business. Feed waste depends on several key factors – the type and quality of feed, how often it is fed, the equipment used to feed, the weather, and the surface of the ground where the feed is distributed.

Cattle will usually waste less good quality feed. Cattle waste more poor quality feed by rummaging around looking for the best tidbits. Cattle will waste less feed if they are hungry. Feed cattle each day what they will clean up. If feed is provided for several days, good barriers and racks are required to minimize the amount of sorting and rummaging that cattle can do.

Grinding and mixing various ingredients encourages cattle to eat all the ration. Feeding on mud or snow encourages tramping and increases waste. Bunks or wagons are useful in such cases. Keep the feed off the ground.

If you feed good quality forage, 5% loss is a good goal. Poorer quality long-stemmed forage may result in an acceptable 10 per cent loss. Feeding large round bales has resulted in increased loss of forage. The quantity fed is often in excess of one day�s feed requirement plus the animal�s forage through the weathered exterior to the core. Waste is difficult to control here. Be conscious of how much your cattle are wasting and make the necessary adjustments to reduce waste. Your bank account will benefit!

Prolonged �Backgrounding� and Feedlot Performance: A recent paper by Alan Vange (Masterfeeds) and associates including Duane McCartney (Western Forage Group, Lacombe) in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science (78:359-367) is another paper in the case for youthful cattle and their merits. Backgrounding (forage diet) as opposed to direct feedlot entry (high energy diet) for these assorted breeding calves (120 total, 60 in each group) resulted in lower ADG (2.3 versus 3.6 lb. per day, as well as heavier live (1377 versus 1272 lb.) weights and heavier carcass (752 versus 673 lb.) weights when finished to equal endpoints of 8mm back fat. Reaching these points occurred at an average of 119 days longer for the backgrounded cattle – with all differences being highly statistically significant. Composition (marbling) was unchanged by treatment, although it was noted animals of higher British breeding marbled better and were not as extreme in their negative response to backgrounding. Other research has shown that such increases in age to finish negatively impact the animals� feed efficiency – stressing that a longer production process affects appropriate carcass size as well as efficiency and profit in the feedlot.

5 Steps to Manage Close-up Dry Cows:

  • Maintain the correct mineral and vitamin intake – especially calcium and phosphorous;
  • Maintain Rumen Fill – one per cent of body weight as long stem forage;
  • Increase grain intake to one-half per cent of body weight as grain dry matter;
  • Introduce the main lactation forage to the dry cow up to one-half per cent of body weight;
  • Avoid rapid ration chances. Increase grain to more than one pound per day up to two to three days prior to calving.

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