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Crossing the Line: Hunters and Their Dogs Regularly Trespass Onto Private Lands

Posted Jul 8th, 2024 in Blog

Canid father and pup

Recently we were contacted by a concerned citizen who was experiencing very unsettling events on their private property. Due to the risk of threats and retaliation, the identity and location of the citizen will remain anonymous. For the blog, we will refer to them as Terry. We appreciate the courage of this individual to come forward and the effort to expose what they are going through. We hope by this story coming to light, others will be compelled to share their stories with us as well. 

Thank you so much Terry for agreeing to contribute to our blog. Can you share with our readers some of the challenges you have been experiencing on your private lands?

Over many years, we have been plagued by a recurring issue-hunters releasing dogs in our neighborhood to chase wildlife while tracking them with radio collars. This persistent and illegal activity has not only disrupted our peace but also posed a threat to the local wildlife.

Why did you choose to post your land?

Recognizing the seriousness of the issue, we have taken proactive steps to deter these illegal activities. Despite the property being marked with "No Hunting or Trespassing signs", the persistent problems with these hunters necessitated a more robust response. We have erected new, highly visible signs and installed surveillance cameras, all to protect our property and the local wildlife from these illegal activities.

What evidence have you obtained that indicates hound hunters have been trespassing on your land? 

Since installing the cameras, these dogs have been seen running at large on our private property multiple times, where the hunters are not allowed to go themselves but allow their dogs to chase the wildlife away from the safety of our lands. The hounders then must retrieve their dogs, essentially without permission.
Can you describe the interactions with the individuals that trespassed onto your posted land? 

Unfortunately, reasoning with these men was futile. We tried many times, hoping that they would understand, but they didn't care whether they were trespassing on private land or about us, not to mention the wildlife being hunted. Maybe we were expecting too much from a group of guys decked out in hunting gear with rifles parked on the side of a rural residential road. 

Have you reported these incidents to the authorities, and if so, which authorities have you contacted?

Each incident was promptly reported to the MNRF Tipsline, and a Conservation Officer was notified. We could capture clear evidence of the hunters' activities with the cameras. When the loose dogs were seen, we knew the hunters would be nearby, tracking their roaming dogs from their vehicles. We often could locate them, photographing the hunters in full gear parked on the roadside. The officers were provided with detailed information, including license plates, photographs, and video footage, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our reports.

After reporting this same group of hunters to the MNRF Tipsline five times over the past few years, I was confident it would not happen again this year. However, these people don't care, and the law is too easy on them. Reporting the same hunters again, the conservation officer assured me that these hunters were given a very stern warning this time. I'm unsure what they were given before, but a stern warning after continuously breaking the law is unacceptable.

What kind of support did you receive from these agencies?

A Conservation Officer responded to our call each time. We had hoped each time would be the last, but it continues today. We do know, or at least we were told, that they were given a stern warning. 

One might believe your land is a sanctuary for all wildlife. Is this accurate, and what compelled you to take steps such as posting your land?

You can't help but be inspired when nature is all around you. We moved here to surround ourselves with the wildlife that calls it home. Why would we not want to protect the wildlife we share it with? 

What inspired you to carry a reverence for nature?

We settled here amongst all its beauty and learned that although it's ours to enjoy, nature is all meant to benefit wildlife. How empty would a forest be without wildlife? Would it make a sound?
You are an incredible steward of the lands you share with nature.  Please describe the recent disturbing event on your property for our readers. Warning: sensitive photograph

More appalling is a recent photograph showing a coyote with a snare (RCR, relax-cable restraint) around its neck in our neighborhood. It is a practice where food is left as bait, attracting wildlife to be caught by the neck or another body part in the snare.

Coyote with a snare around the neck
By doing this interview with CWC, what are your hopes in sharing this difficult story with us?

When sharing this story with others, I hope they are as disgusted with these groups of hunters as I am and will share similar stories. There is no place for unethical hunting. 
Terry, do you have any final thoughts about the canids you learned through sharing your land with them?

From watching coyotes live life, I know why we love our dogs so much. Protecting them in the wild is as important as providing good homes for our pets.

ONTARIO CANIDS NEED YOUR HELP! (warning graphic photo)

Coyote in a snare

ACTION ALERT: Help canids in Ontario, please submit a comment about Amendments to Ontario Regulation 667/98 (Trapping) made under Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, to update technical specifications of relaxing cable restraints used for trapping.  ERO number: 019-8071 Notice type: Regulation Link here: ERO.

The Government of Ontario is accepting public comments until July 8, 2024. Make your voice heard today! How to take action:
1. Read the information on the webpage and click the blue button that says “Submit a comment”.
2. You can sign in if you have an account. If you do not have an account, you can submit a comment anonymously by selecting the blue button that says “Comment without registering”.
3. Enter your comments on the following page and click ‘Submit your comment’ to finish the process.

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