The Duck Hunters Organization is hard at work securing the future of waterfowl hunting across the United States and Canada. Check in on the status of issues across all four flyways, including those affecting your duck hunting.
Ontario, Canada, Sunday Gun Hunting Expansion: Delta Waterfowl celebrates with the hunters of the Township of Springwater. Earlier this month, the township became the 190th municipality in southern Ontario to pass a resolution to approve Sunday firearms hunting. With the strength, support, and input from our local members, volunteers and supporters, Delta Waterfowl was instrumental in the approval of Sunday hunting in Springwater. This change will come into effect in the spring of 2024, following the official approval from the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. A copy of our question period submission for Sunday Gun Hunting—Results of Public Consultations for the Township of Springwater can be found here.
Florida Aquatic Spraying Impacts Duck Hunters: The St. Johns River Water Management District is currently considering implementing a Submerged Aquatic vegetation planting project and treatment plan on Lake Apopka in central Florida. This treatment plan would directly apply/spray a combination of chemicals on the invasive hydrilla on Florida’s fifth largest lake—spanning over the 30,800 acres—just days before duck season. Delta staff and volunteers have been actively involved with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and St. Johns River Water Management District leadership since March of 2023 to advocate for an alternative spray plan that won’t impact ducks and duck hunters during peak seasons. Delta staff will be present during a Nov. 14 meeting when a final decision on this management plan will be voted upon.
Alaska Infrastructure Projects: The state of Alaska is currently weighing several options for a new bridge to be constructed between Juneau and Douglas Island near the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge Area, potentially impacting hunting access. Delta Waterfowl is having ongoing discussions with key stakeholders in the region, as well as project managers, regarding potential locations for this new bridge. Delta staff is working to ensure that the bridge has minimal impact on both the waterfowl and hunters who utilize this public access area, as well as monitoring conversations around the development and construction of several industrial projects in the Brooks Range region of Alaska to gauge the impacts they may have on waterfowl.
Utah Inland Port Expansion: The state of Utah has highlighted a large project area near Salt Lake City to develop a new inland port. There is concern from Salt Lake City locals and duck hunters that this project could have adverse impacts on wetlands and waterfowl in the region. The state of Utah has made commitments to mitigate the risk to wetlands and waterfowl, and Delta is currently monitoring the development of this project and will be on the ground in Salt Lake City to meet with members of the community and legislators in November.
Ontario, Canada, Municipal Discharge of Firearm By-laws: The past 30 days proved to be busy dealing with municipal discharge of firearm by-laws in Ontario. Over the course of the month, Delta Waterfowl staff were actively engaged in three different municipal discharge of firearm by-law reviews in the Town of Grimsby, St. Clair Township, and the Town of Mono. All three municipalities are seeking to restrict legal hunting, trapping, and/or recreational shooting opportunities in some capacity.
- The Town of Grimsby: Despite the lack of any defensible evidence, council—basing their votes on inaccurate information on the provincial and federal rules and regulations of hunting and based on their own personal beliefs towards hunting—upheld their earlier decision to prohibit the discharge of firearms within the entire township. A resident cannot shoot even a pellet gun on a 100-acre farm. This is yet another example of municipal over-reach, which needs to be addressed. This is the main reason why Delta Waterfowl is advocating at the provincial government level for the creation of guidelines a municipality must meet when attempting to restrict legal hunting, trapping, and/or recreational shooting opportunities. There needs to be clear justification to warrant further restrictions, not simply hearsay or inaccurate information. Currently, a municipality in Ontario can do as it wishes without any proof of an issue. We are also strongly advocating for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to be engaged with any municipality attempting to restrict hunting and trapping opportunities.
- St. Clair Township: After being informed that the township had received a request to remove the ability to gun hunt on a Sunday from one of their residents, Delta Waterfowl promptly engaged with township staff to inquire about the situation, at which time we offered our extensive experience and expertise in working with municipalities on these issues. Fortunately, our local supporters quickly rallied and showered members of council and staff with emails showing their disapproval, which was later recognized when the resident request was dismissed at the council meeting later that evening.
- Town of Mono: After being contacted by one of our local members about a potential issue, Delta Waterfowl staff promptly contacted town staff to seek further clarity on what was occurring. Following the council meeting later that day, staff was given direction by council to review the feasibility of an updated discharge of firearms by-law. Delta has already offered our assistance to town staff and will be re-engaging with them shortly. There had been no timelines set for this review at the time of this monthly update.
Federal Government of Canada, Firearms Bill C-21: Bill C-21, An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms) continues to be studied at the Senate of Canada at the Standing Committee, National Security, Defense, and Veteran Affairs. Countless experts from a wide-ranging group of interested parties have presented before the committee. Testimonies will soon be wrapping up, at which point the Senate will decide the fate of the bill—whether to vote on it as it is written or send it back to the House of Commons with amendments. Delta Waterfowl continues to monitor and keep abreast with the day-to-day activities.
New Montana Migratory Bird Stamp: Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks recently announced a new Montana Migratory Bird Stamp art contest. This new stamp will highlight the importance of wetland conservation in Montana and FWP’s Migratory Bird Wetland Program. Starting Nov. 1, artists in Montana and nationwide can participate in this contest with the winning artist receiving a $2,000 cash prize, thanks to the Montana Outdoor Legacy Foundation. This will be the first time that Montana has had a migratory bird stamp in more than 20 years. For more information, check out the contest guidelines here.
Prince Edward Island, Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) Public Meeting: The CWS is inviting residents of PEI to attend a ‘Let’s Talk Waterfowl’ session at the end of November. During these sessions, staff from the Canadian Wildlife Service will present information on waterfowl hunting regulations, Avian Influenza, Canada Goose banding and satellite tracking, and pre-season waterfowl banding.
To reduce the travel distance for attendees, CWS will be hosting two sessions from which to choose, based on your location. The same material will be presented at both sessions:
- PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28, or
- Linkletter Community Centre, 1670 Route 11 (Linkletter Road), Linkletter, PEI from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
2024 State Legislative Sessions: 2024 will be here before you know it, and, with it, state legislatures around the country will head into session where they will consider and debate hundreds of bills that impact every aspect of waterfowl conservation and waterfowl hunting. Now is the time to make sure you are prepared to have your voice heard by signing up for Delta Waterfowl’s Duck Hunters Action Alert System. Delta Waterfowl’s policy team will send you emails and alerts when issues impacting you pop-up and provide you with the tools and resources to engage lawmakers. Text DELTA WATERFOWL to 52886 or click this link today to sign up!