Conservation area reopens following hunting probe

News Nov 19, 2009 Ancaster News

Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area has reopened to the public after Hamilton Conservation Authority staff received assurances from Six Nations officials that deer hunting has ceased at the urban park.

“As a result, it’s our understanding that hunting has stopped in the area,” said Steve Miazga, chief administrative officer for the HCA.

Claims of illegal deer hunting earlier this month prompted the closure of the conservation area for more than a week. Miazga said conservation authority staff began investigating after deer remains were found at the park in early November. Miazga said bow hunting was reported on Nov. 6 and Nov. 10. Deer entrails were found scattered in various locations.

“Some of the entrails have been spotted by myself and staff but we don’t know who the hunters are,” Miazga said.

Ontario’s natural resources minister said no charges will be laid after the ministry received reports of illegal deer hunting in the conservation area.

“We take this very seriously,” Donna Cansfield said. “This is a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.”

Cansfield said ministry investigators lacked sufficient evidence to pursue charges. The ministry has since completed its investigation.

Conservation authority officials have met with representatives from the Six Nations Confederacy and band council.

Leroy Hill, secretary for the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy Council, said the Nanfan Treaty of 1701 includes perpetual hunting rights for Six Nations people in Southwestern Ontario. But he could not confirm whether Six Nations hunters were invoking their treaty rights to hunt in the conservation area.

“That’s not my file,” Hill said. “I’m not authorized to speak to that.”

Hill directed questions to Chester Gibson, a wildlife representative appointed by the Confederacy council. Gibson was not immediately available for comment.

Miazga said Six Nations residents have been conducting a chronic wasting disease study on deer, but the study does not include killing the animals.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, chronic wasting, a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system, has been reported only in Saskatchewan in elk this year.

The Confederacy council is the traditional government of Six Nations, although the council was stripped of its formal governing authority by the federal Indian Act of 1924.

Cansfield said illegal hunting can be reported to the ministry’s enforcement hotline at 1-877- TIPS-MNR.

Any discussion on First Nations treaty rights should be directed to provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid, Cansfield said.

“Our perspective is we consider this a private land,” Cansfield said. “I’m not going to comment on treaty rights.”

The conservation area is located off Old Golf Links Road, north of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway between Highway 403 and Scenic Drive.

Hamilton Police Superintendent Ken Bond said police received reports of hunting on Nov. 2 and 9. Bond said anyone who witnesses hunting can also contact police.

If police confirm the names of people hunting illegally, they will forward the information to the Ministry of Natural Resources. It’s up to ministry staff to lay charges under the Fish and Wildlife Control Act for trespass to property for the purposes of hunting, Bond said.

“It’s in an urban-based park, so it’s not a good idea to be hunting there,” Bond said.

Conservation area reopens following hunting probe

News Nov 19, 2009 Ancaster News

Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area has reopened to the public after Hamilton Conservation Authority staff received assurances from Six Nations officials that deer hunting has ceased at the urban park.

“As a result, it’s our understanding that hunting has stopped in the area,” said Steve Miazga, chief administrative officer for the HCA.

Claims of illegal deer hunting earlier this month prompted the closure of the conservation area for more than a week. Miazga said conservation authority staff began investigating after deer remains were found at the park in early November. Miazga said bow hunting was reported on Nov. 6 and Nov. 10. Deer entrails were found scattered in various locations.

“Some of the entrails have been spotted by myself and staff but we don’t know who the hunters are,” Miazga said.

Ontario’s natural resources minister said no charges will be laid after the ministry received reports of illegal deer hunting in the conservation area.

“We take this very seriously,” Donna Cansfield said. “This is a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.”

Cansfield said ministry investigators lacked sufficient evidence to pursue charges. The ministry has since completed its investigation.

Conservation authority officials have met with representatives from the Six Nations Confederacy and band council.

Leroy Hill, secretary for the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy Council, said the Nanfan Treaty of 1701 includes perpetual hunting rights for Six Nations people in Southwestern Ontario. But he could not confirm whether Six Nations hunters were invoking their treaty rights to hunt in the conservation area.

“That’s not my file,” Hill said. “I’m not authorized to speak to that.”

Hill directed questions to Chester Gibson, a wildlife representative appointed by the Confederacy council. Gibson was not immediately available for comment.

Miazga said Six Nations residents have been conducting a chronic wasting disease study on deer, but the study does not include killing the animals.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, chronic wasting, a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system, has been reported only in Saskatchewan in elk this year.

The Confederacy council is the traditional government of Six Nations, although the council was stripped of its formal governing authority by the federal Indian Act of 1924.

Cansfield said illegal hunting can be reported to the ministry’s enforcement hotline at 1-877- TIPS-MNR.

Any discussion on First Nations treaty rights should be directed to provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid, Cansfield said.

“Our perspective is we consider this a private land,” Cansfield said. “I’m not going to comment on treaty rights.”

The conservation area is located off Old Golf Links Road, north of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway between Highway 403 and Scenic Drive.

Hamilton Police Superintendent Ken Bond said police received reports of hunting on Nov. 2 and 9. Bond said anyone who witnesses hunting can also contact police.

If police confirm the names of people hunting illegally, they will forward the information to the Ministry of Natural Resources. It’s up to ministry staff to lay charges under the Fish and Wildlife Control Act for trespass to property for the purposes of hunting, Bond said.

“It’s in an urban-based park, so it’s not a good idea to be hunting there,” Bond said.

Conservation area reopens following hunting probe

News Nov 19, 2009 Ancaster News

Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area has reopened to the public after Hamilton Conservation Authority staff received assurances from Six Nations officials that deer hunting has ceased at the urban park.

“As a result, it’s our understanding that hunting has stopped in the area,” said Steve Miazga, chief administrative officer for the HCA.

Claims of illegal deer hunting earlier this month prompted the closure of the conservation area for more than a week. Miazga said conservation authority staff began investigating after deer remains were found at the park in early November. Miazga said bow hunting was reported on Nov. 6 and Nov. 10. Deer entrails were found scattered in various locations.

“Some of the entrails have been spotted by myself and staff but we don’t know who the hunters are,” Miazga said.

Ontario’s natural resources minister said no charges will be laid after the ministry received reports of illegal deer hunting in the conservation area.

“We take this very seriously,” Donna Cansfield said. “This is a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.”

Cansfield said ministry investigators lacked sufficient evidence to pursue charges. The ministry has since completed its investigation.

Conservation authority officials have met with representatives from the Six Nations Confederacy and band council.

Leroy Hill, secretary for the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy Council, said the Nanfan Treaty of 1701 includes perpetual hunting rights for Six Nations people in Southwestern Ontario. But he could not confirm whether Six Nations hunters were invoking their treaty rights to hunt in the conservation area.

“That’s not my file,” Hill said. “I’m not authorized to speak to that.”

Hill directed questions to Chester Gibson, a wildlife representative appointed by the Confederacy council. Gibson was not immediately available for comment.

Miazga said Six Nations residents have been conducting a chronic wasting disease study on deer, but the study does not include killing the animals.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, chronic wasting, a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system, has been reported only in Saskatchewan in elk this year.

The Confederacy council is the traditional government of Six Nations, although the council was stripped of its formal governing authority by the federal Indian Act of 1924.

Cansfield said illegal hunting can be reported to the ministry’s enforcement hotline at 1-877- TIPS-MNR.

Any discussion on First Nations treaty rights should be directed to provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid, Cansfield said.

“Our perspective is we consider this a private land,” Cansfield said. “I’m not going to comment on treaty rights.”

The conservation area is located off Old Golf Links Road, north of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway between Highway 403 and Scenic Drive.

Hamilton Police Superintendent Ken Bond said police received reports of hunting on Nov. 2 and 9. Bond said anyone who witnesses hunting can also contact police.

If police confirm the names of people hunting illegally, they will forward the information to the Ministry of Natural Resources. It’s up to ministry staff to lay charges under the Fish and Wildlife Control Act for trespass to property for the purposes of hunting, Bond said.

“It’s in an urban-based park, so it’s not a good idea to be hunting there,” Bond said.