Public conservation trails in Ancaster are closed from Monday to Thursday until Jan. 17 to permit a First Nations deer hunt at Dundas Valley Conservation Area.
Under a protocol announced in November between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the deer harvest is slated for Jan. 7-17. Under the protocol, the Haudenosaunee may harvest up to 80 deer from Nov. 13 to Jan. 17. A similar hunt in 2011 saw hunters kill 31 deer.
A 2009 aerial survey counted 505 deer in the valley, or nearly 300 more than the Ministry of Natural Resources considers ecologically desirable.
Hunting is taking place on HCA land bounded by Martin Road to the east, Jerseyville Road to the south, Paddy Green Road to the west and Powerline Road to the north.
Trail signage is in place and neighbouring residents have been notified of the closure. HCA staff have also consulted with Hamilton Police and the Ministry of Natural Resources Enforcement staff.
The deer hunt recognizes the Haudenosaunees’ three-century-old treaty rights negotiated with the British Crown.
Hunters will carry identification, keep at least 150 metres away from homes and use only use bows and shotguns.