By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, October 26, 2013
RBG hunt eyed for November
An organized deer hunt at the Royal Botanical Gardens — if it goes ahead — will not be an extension of the annual hunt held by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, says the HCA chair.
Chris Firth-Eagland stressed that while the conservation authority has shared protocol and contact information about their annual Haudenosaunee hunt, the RBG’s program would be “something completely new.”
The RBG wants to control the growing deer population on its land — the plants are threatened — and get the increasingly bold animals to “act like normal deer again,” said Carlo Balistrieri, head of horticulture.
“We are seriously looking at it,” he said. “There is potential for a small pilot this year.”
Last year’s eight-week hunt in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area killed about 37 deer, well below the limit of 80. This year, the hunt will be restricted to archery — no guns allowed.
Firth-Eagland said the HCA has connected RBG staff with Haudenosaunee hunters to discuss the potential program.
Both Dundas Valley and the RBG have an overabundance of deer, according to surveys in recent years. One count by 15 RBG volunteers and staff in February spotted 162 on the north and south shores of Cootes Paradise.
Balistrieri, who prefers the term “controlled harvest” over “hunt,” said they are looking at it as a template because the Haudenosaunee people “share a lot of the ethos in common, and we felt they would be good to talk to.
“They have experience, expertise … they have a lot of the same cares and loves for the land and the plants and animals that we do.”
While Balistrieri was unable to provide specifics on what the RBG hunt would entail, he did say, “I can certainly tell you that we would not be interested in seeing firearms used in any way on the property.”
He also said “there are relatively few areas (within the RBG) where it’s even appropriate to do something like this, were it to happen.”
While he was unable to provide specifics around potential safety concerns at the RBG lands versus the Dundas Valley, he said the RBG area is “actually probably safer.”
The HCA’s Haudenosaunee hunt is expected to begin the third week of November. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
RBG deer cull not open to non-natives (Oct. 26)
The views held by many about hunting and hunters perpetuate stereotypes that make informed decision-making impossible.
A few years ago, I decided to take up hunting because of my concern with factory farming. The barely humane conditions, the antibiotics and steroids concern me. I also wanted to educate my children about how creating a healthy lifestyle can be done without depending on such a crazy industry.
After taking the courses and meeting other hunters, I have learned that this is a community that prides itself on the humane harvest of animals for food. This is a community that takes its role in preserving the natural environment to heart. And hunters generally understand that to waste an animal that has been killed is unethical.
So, to the board at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I say please educate yourselves and you will see that one cultural group does not hold a monopoly on ethical hunting. And, to the cartoonist of the Spec, please continue to enjoy the sight of your chemically and biologically altered food as it trundles by you on the highway towards mass slaughter; but, please spare me your sanctimonious views.
Pheroze Jeejeebhoy, Hamilton