Hunting decision panned
Saugeen Conservation asked to review decision to allow some hunting at Saugeen Bluffs
The decision earlier this year to allow bow hunting in Saugeen Bluffs was seen as a “good compromise” by members of the Saugeen Conservation board, including chair Luke Charbonneau. But the move has met with criticism and a call for its reviewed by the authority.
“Frankly we allow people and hunters onto virtually all of our properties; we have trails through most of our properties and allow hunting on most of our properties. It’s not as though the interaction between people and hunters is unusual on SVCA lands,” Charbonneau said.
At a recent meeting of the SVCA board of directors, Arran-Elderslie Deputy-mayor Mark Davis told directors that he’s opposed to any form of hunting on the Saugeen Bluffs property, north of Paisley.
“It’s a horse campground, people campground and in the winter people are in there using the trails and cross country skiing. You just don’t want hunters and campgrounds in the same position. It’s just unheard of,” he said.
The decision to allow hunting was narrowly approved by the conservation’s board of directors in March.
Charbonneau noted that the authority has always allowed hunting in Saugeen Bluffs, except for a brief period after the 2016 designation of the park as a family horse camping venue.
But Davis said there is no staff in the Saugeen Bluffs campground in the winter and there is no fencing; the area is wide open.
“On a nice week in March break there are lots of people cross country skiing back there,” he said.
Davis said his spouse is a horse enthusiast who, along with some neighbours, are alarmed at the decision to allow hunting.
“These are people that understand outdoors and the uses it should have. It just makes no sense. Why would you ever err to something bad that could happen?”
Charbonneau acknowledged that the addition of the campground is a unique thing to for bluffs, but hunting is something that has gone on since time immemorial in that area, except in the last two years when all hunting was banned from Saugeen Bluffs after the park became a family and horse riding campground in 2016.
He still thinks there is room for compromise among users.
“I think it’s fine. Who knows, the authority might change its mind,” Charbonneau said.
Davis’s request to review the decision is set for discussion at the authority’s next board meeting later this year.