The Bruce Trail will be effected by this temporary closure as the link between Hamilton and Dundas goes through Iroquoia Heights CA. [ed.]
Illegal hunt closes Mountain conservation area
Bow hunters found in urban area
Danielle Wong, The Hamilton Spectator, (Nov 12, 2009)
The Hamilton Conservation Authority has indefinitely closed the Iroquoia Heights Conservation Area after a number of deer were illegally killed by hunters armed with bows and arrows.
"(The area) was closed due to our concern for public safety," Hamilton Conservation Authority general manager Steve Miazga said yesterday. "It's not condoned by us at all."
Miazga said the Ancaster conservation park, east of Highway 403 and north of the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, was closed Friday after a Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer confronted someone who had been illegally hunting in the area.
Miazga said the conservation officer reported the male hunter was from Six Nations and said he was conducting a "chronic waste disease control study on deer" that involved killing the animals.
"(The conservation officer) discussed the issue with a person on site last Friday and we did not get (any) indication of when that will end," Miazga said.
The authority contacted the Six Nations band council and Chief Bill Montour. Montour said he was not aware of the hunting in the area prior to receiving a letter from the authority.
"I'm not sure of what's happening at all," Mountour said.
He referred questions to Paul General, who oversees wildlife and ecological matters for the Six Nations. General could not be reached for comment.
Miazga said the conservation authority is also anxious to hear from General. The authority had no prior knowledge of a chronic wasting disease study, Miazga said.
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal nervous system disease that infects white-tailed deer, mule deer, black-tailed deer, moose and elk.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Ministry of Natural Resources websites, this disease has not been detected in deer in Ontario.
Miazga is aware of illegal hunting incidents Friday and Tuesday in the densely populated park, which is surrounded by houses. He did not know how many deer were killed.
The first report came from Victor Pavlicic, an avid deer photographer who was walking through the park last Friday morning when he saw a pile of deer guts just south of the park's main trail near the middle of the site. "They had cut the belly open and pulled out everything," Pavlicic, 57, said, adding the ministry told him the remains were one to two days old.
Pavlicic called his wife, who called the conservation authority and then the ministry. A ministry officer arrived at about noon and spoke to a man by his truck. Later that day, as Pavlicic was leaving the area, he found a carbon arrow outfitted with three razor-sharp blades.
"It's crazy, them being in there shooting them," he said. "They're almost like pets. They come right up to you."
On Tuesday, the authority delivered letters to adjacent homes, advising residents to stay out of the park until the problem is resolved. The letter indicated the authority is "attempting to communicate with the involved parties."
Mustafa Ghouse, 21, whose family has lived on Old Mohawk Road across from the conservation park for the past 10 years, said he and his family often see deer roaming the neighbourhood. "I could see how hunters would want (to hunt here); there are so many of them."
In January, an aerial census over a 10-kilometre radius of the city conducted by the ministry and the authority found 102 deer in Iroquoia Heights, where there would be ideally 12 or fewer.
While there may be an overpopulation of deer in the area, it doesn't justify the hunting, Pavlicic's wife, Susan, said.