Its their legal right, but a group of Indigenous people are facing backlash for hunting deer.
Three weekends out of the year, the Haudenosaunee people are allowed to hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park in Pelham. Every year, a group of animal activists and nearby residents try to stop them.
Protesters blocked the entry into Short Hills Provincial Park. Police having to direct them out of the way to let Indigenous hunters pass through.
Ontario Parks employees set boundaries and are on site supervising. The Indigenous people here today say it’s a tradition. They hunt with bows and teach the younger generation how to do so.
But a group called the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance says hunting deer in the park is cruel and unsafe. One man saying a hunter followed a deer onto his property.
Representatives from Ontario Parks say the area is over populated with deer, who might die anyways of starvation.
Greg Wilson with Ontario Parks says there are currently 550 deer in Short Hills, when the park can only sustain about 50. He says this hunt doesn’t put a dent in the population.
Despite the Haudenosaunee people feeling as though the protest has more to do with race than animal rights, the protesters say its strictly about deer and safety.
The hunt will continue next weekend and the final two days will be November 29th and 30th.
In past years, about 60 deer were hunted. The protesters say they are concerned about the animals left wounded in the park while the Indigenous hunters say its their right to maintain their cultural traditions and no part of the deer is wasted.