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Is there really any difference?


The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) hosted its Annual General Assembly (AGA) at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg last weekend, starting Friday (Sept. 22) and wrapping up on Sunday (Sept. 24). Among the topics up for discussion were the Complete Prohibition on Dangerous Night Spot-Lighting and Night-Hunting in Agro-Manitoba (Southern Manitoba) and the rest of Manitoba (Central and Northern Manitoba).
The MMF travelled around the province in August seeking opinions from its members on the topics. One of these consultations was held here in Swan River. From there they compiled the information, drafting two resolutions to be passed at the AGA.
In the first vote, the group resolved that, “there will be a complete prohibition on undertaking dangerous Night Spot-Lighting, which shall be defined as chasing animals in motorized vehicles, including, trucks, snowmobiles, ATVs, boats, etc. with artificial lighting”.
In the second resolution, it was passed that, “Night-Hunting, which is a part of the Metis right to harvest and is grounded on Metis traditions and customs or using natural light and/or artificial light when stationary, be re-affirmed in the Metis Laws of the Harvest; however, based on the MMFs consultations that this aspect of our right only be exercised as follows:
a. Within Agro-Manitoba, where there is significant land development, private lands and local populations, Night-Hunting (from dusk to dawn) will not be undertaken.
b. Within Non-Agro Manitoba, and away from settlements and local populations, the practice of non-dangerous Night-Hunting, including, Night Spotlighting through the use of natural and/or artificial lighting while stationary will continue to be allowable.”
After the resolutions were made public, the Manitoba Conservation Officers Association (MCOA) brought forward some of their concerns through their Facebook page.
“Many questions are left unanswered,” they said. “Ironically fatalities from firearm discharge at night, while hunting with lights, have occurred in heavily forested areas. Not Agro-Manitoba.
“As it presently stands, and has stood for decades, no person can discharge firearms on, across or along provincial trunk highways or provincial roads. No person can discharge firearms from any road onto private land without permission from the landowner or lessee. No person can hunt on private land without permission from the landowner or lessee.
“The vast majority of lands in the southern third of Manitoba are privately owned or part of our road network,” MCOA continued. “All areas where it is either illegal to discharge firearms at any time or illegal to discharge firearms without land owner permission.
In other words, unless there are areas added to this initiative, there is nothing new here! Banning the use of lights at night to hunt wild animals in areas where it's been illegal for decades seems redundant. If new areas are not added to existing areas, what's changed?”
Personally, I find the first resolution to be a little misleading. There is a ban on hunting using artificial light but, only if you are moving. By MMFs standards, it is completely ok to blind an animal to hunt if you are stationary, as the second resolution clarifies. Feel free to correct me, as I’m not a hunter, but, is there really that much difference?
I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the MMF ruling and the MCOAs interpretation?