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OFAH Media Releases 2008

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Welcome to the 2008 media release. To stay on top of things you can visit their website and get the news first and even subscribe to have the announcements dilivered right to your email inbox.

Visit http://www.ofah.org/

OFAH FILE: 842

January 21, 2008

For Immediate Release

Expanded wild turkey opportunities one step closer

Wild turkey hunt/management plan and regulations posted on EBR It was slow in coming, but the much-anticipated fall turkey hunting season, and the proposed Wild Turkey Management Plan and regulations are now posted on the provincial Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry for public comment.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) is pleased that the updated Wild Turkey Management Plan and regulations include a new fall hunting season in Ontario. Under current regulation there is only a spring season on wild turkeys. The new regulation also proposes additional spring hunting opportunities.

It was under former Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) Minister David Ramsay's watch that the update was initiated, and the O.F.A.H. is happy that the province will see the benefit of his hard work. "The wild turkey population is thriving. A fall hunting season is the best way to manage the resource and provide the economic boost that hunting means to many communities," said Mike Reader, Executive Director of the O.F.A.H. "Former Minister David Ramsay deserves a lot of the credit for the new turkey hunting opportunities and the updated Wild Turkey Management Plan."

The O.F.A.H. initiated the highly successful program to bring back the extirpated eastern wild turkey to Ontario in 1984. The M.N.R. established a hunting season in 1987, and as the turkey population grew, hunting opportunities have increased. Current estimates place Ontario's turkey population at over 70,000 birds and growing.

The O.F.A.H. is still awaiting an indication from new M.N.R. Minister Donna Cansfield that the government intends to keep its earlier commitment to establish a wild turkey population on Manitoulin, something that was promised by all three parties during the last provincial election.

The EBR posting on the proposed Wild Turkey Management Plan and regulations will remain open for public comment for 46 days. Comments may be made online or to the M.N.R. between January 18 and March 4. The EBR, reference #010-2424, can be found by clicking here..

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

O.F.A.H. Communications Coordinator

(705) 748-6324 Greg Farrant

Manager of Government Relations & Communications

(705) 748-6324

Cell: (705) 875-0274

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OFAH FILE: 842

February 14, 2008

For Immediate Release

Conditions great for Ontario Family Fishing Weekend

O.F.A.H. invites families to fish license-free February 23-24

bobthebobber.jpg

While many are complaining about the long cold Ontario winter, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) could not be happier. They are hoping continued cold temperatures will contribute to ideal conditions for the upcoming second annual winter Ontario Family Fishing Weekend.

"Ice fishing is an important part of our Canadian heritage, and it's a perfect fit for families looking to spend time outside, connecting with nature," said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader. "Through this conservation initiative, hosted events across the province are providing youth with a great day of fishing that may lead to a lifelong passion."

During the weekend of February 23 and 24 (12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday), Canadian residents can enjoy fishing in Ontario waters without a license. Events offering free fishing instructions will be held in various locations throughout Ontario, where conditions permit safe fishing opportunities. Recreational fishing regulations, such as limits on certain types of fish, will apply.

O.F.F.W. is delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, the O.F.A.H., Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Foundation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Hi-Tech Fishing and Lucky Strike Bait Works Ltd. have kindly donated equipment to O.F.F.W. sanctioned events to help participants reel in their first exciting catch.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is offering support to any individual or organization that is interested in hosting an event during the Ontario Family Fishing Weekend. For more information, visit www.familyfishingweekend.com.

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Contact

Mark Cousins

Ontario Family Fishing Weekend Coordinator

705-748-6324 ext 233 Lezlie Goodwin

O.F.A.H. Communications Coordinator

(705) 748-6324 ext 270

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OFAH FILE: 842

February 4, 2008

For Immediate Release

Auditor General got it right and wrong

When the provincial Auditor General released his Annual Report last December, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) agreed with his finding that underfunding of the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) Fish and Wildlife Program is preventing it from fulfilling its mandate. However, the O.F.A.H. is challenging the auditor on a number of statements within that same report that unfairly and erroneously discredit hunters and anglers.

"The Auditor General's report does a serious disservice to the highly significant contributions Ontario's anglers and hunters make to fish and wildlife management. Hunters and anglers were among the founders of the wildlife conservation model in North America a hundred years ago and that leadership continues today in conservation initiatives all across the province," said Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager, Fish & Wildlife Services. "For the Auditor to infer that hunters are recklessly over-hunting, or that anglers raising fish is risky, is simply wrong."

The O.F.A.H. recently completed its analysis of the 28-page audit, and found many inaccuracies, some of which were based on faulty information that the O.F.A.H. could have corrected, M.N.R. reporting errors, and insufficient knowledge of the science of wildlife management. The Federation has sent its response to the Auditor General, with a copy to the Minister of Natural Resources.

"As partners in fish and wildlife conservation management, we're encouraging the Auditor General to consult directly with us in any future reviews of M.N.R.'s Fish and Wildlife Program," added Dr. Quinney.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario. For more information, or to view the O.F.A.H. response to the Auditor General's report, visit www.ofah.org.

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Contact

Dr. Terry Quinney

Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife Services

(705) 748-6324 Lezlie Goodwin

O.F.A.H. Communications Coordinator

(705) 748-6324

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OFAH FILE: 842

February 1, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. supports M.N.R. changes

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) is pleased that the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) has acted swiftly to change a flawed regulation contained in the new recreational fisheries summary.

As of January 1, 2008, it became illegal to use baitfish larger than 13 cm (5.1 in.) in Fisheries Management Zone 18 (eastern Ontario). In response to concerns from both anglers and the bait industry, the Ministry announced on January 31 that the prohibition would be lifted immediately.

"In acting quickly on this matter, the M.N.R. is confirming the importance of the use of baitfish in our sustainable recreational fisheries," said Mike Reader, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. "At the same time, this issue emphasizes the need for the timely funding and implementation of stakeholder-based Zone councils that can provide input into regulations prior to them being enacted."

Fisheries Management Zone councils are part of the province's new Ecological Framework for Fisheries Management, and are designed to enhance public involvement. Pilot councils have already been formed in a few zones, but the remainder are to be phased in along with a new fisheries monitoring and assessment program.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario. For more information visit www.ofah.org.

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Contact

Jeremy Holden

Fisheries Biologist

(705) 748-6324 Lezlie Goodwin

O.F.A.H. Communications Coordinator

(705) 748-6324

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

New fall wild turkey hunt a "go"

M.N.R. Minister, staff confirm fall season at O.F.A.H. Annual Conference MISSISSAUGA–

Before an audience of several hundred outdoor enthusiasts, Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) Minister Donna Cansfield announced that there will be a fall wild turkey hunting season in designated Wildlife Management Units in Ontario, beginning this year.

The Minister gave the welcome news on March 14, during her speech to the delegation of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference. Several key M.N.R. staff were on hand for the Minister's presentation to O.F.A.H. members.

"The O.F.A.H. is delighted that Minister Cansfield chose the O.F.A.H. Conference to confirm that there will be a fall wild turkey hunt, as promised last year by former Minister Ramsay," said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader. "Our members and other outdoor enthusiasts are pleased that the M.N.R. is moving ahead with the regulations in time for a 2008 fall season. We are also pleased that three additional Wildlife Management Units will enjoy spring wild turkey seasons this year."

The M.N.R. posted the long awaited wild turkey management plan and regulations to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry for public comment in mid-January. On March 14, new spring wild turkey hunting seasons in St. Joseph Island, Bracebridge and Minden were announced on the Ministry's website.

Wild Turkey Facts:

  • The O.F.A.H. initiated the highly successful program to bring back the extirpated eastern wild turkey to Ontario more than twenty years ago.
  • There has been a hunting season since 1987, and during that time wild turkey populations and hunting opportunities have continually increased. Moderate estimates place Ontario's turkey population at well over 70,000 birds.
  • The wild turkey is a popular game bird, even though hunters require special training and certification to obtain the designation on their hunting licence.
  • Since 1987, the O.F.A.H. has trained 78,300 turkey hunters in seminars held across Ontario.
  • Last year, wild turkey licence sales contributed $936,789 to provincial revenues.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Terry Quinney

Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services

705 748-6324 ext 242

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Peers choose local outdoorsman for honour

Lifetime member of Sydenham Sportsmen's Association recognized

At the recent 80th O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga, Fred Geberdt received the Jack O'Dette Conservation Leadership Award.

Jack O'Dette was a member of the Order of Canada, an angler, hunter and conservationist who served the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) for many years, including several terms on the Board of Directors and as its President. In 2005, the O.F.A.H. created the Jack O'Dette Conservation Leadership Award, to be given annually to an individual currently serving as an O.F.A.H. Director. The recipient is selected by his or her fellow Directors for their hard work and dedication to the rich traditions of the O.F.A.H.

"It is no surprise to me that Fred was chosen by his peers for this prestigious award. He is passionate about the outdoors, and generous with his time and experience," said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader. "For more than 30 years, Fred has been involved in almost all aspects of conservation. This recognition by his fellow directors is well deserved."

Fred is a life member of the Sydenham Sportsmen's Association. Through the club, he has worked on fish and wildlife projects such as the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular Fishing Derby and the Sydenham club's fish hatchery. He is currently co-chair of the O.F.A.H. Fisheries Advisory Committee, and is an O.F.A.H. Provincial Director at Large.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Smallest O.F.A.H. Zone wins big

O.F.A.H. recognizes increased membership in conservation organization

The Bob Pope Memorial Award is presented to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) Zone that shows the largest percentage in membership growth over the past year. The award is named in honour of a long time active O.F.A.H. member who knew the importance of strong membership to the Federation.

O.F.A.H. Zone G is the recipient of the 2007 Bob Pope Memorial Award. The zone was recognized by O.F.A.H. President Jack Hedman at the recent 80th O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga.

"It is our members and member clubs that keep the O.F.A.H. strong and growing," said Hedman,"Through their hard work and exemplary behaviour, the members of O.F.A.H. Zone G have set a high standard for us to follow."

Zone G, which borders the northern shore of Lake Ontario, is the smallest of the nine O.F.A.H. zones across the province. Despite its small geographical territory, the zone managed to achieve the greatest membership growth, with an almost seven percent increase over 2007.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Conservation partners recognized by O.F.A.H.

Partners contribute hundreds of thousands in innovative business relationship

Every year the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) celebrates the contributions of two of its conservation partners at the O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference. This year, the Bank of Montreal, and Angler & Hunter Insurance were the recipients of the O.F.A.H. Industry Awards.

"BMO Mosaik MasterCard is the Federation's longest standing partner, through the O.F.A.H. Affinity program," said Executive Director Mike Reader, "For 22 years now, our members have been contributing to conservation every time they use their O.F.A.H. customized credit card. That initiative has earned the O.F.A.H. hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation programming, and we are delighted at the strong support the BMO has shown the O.F.A.H. over that time."

Angler and Hunter Insurance Brokers has been a valued conservation partner since 1997. For over a decade, O.F.A.H. members and clubs have benefited from affordable insurance through a special O.F.A.H. program, one that Angler and Hunter had confidence in when others in the insurance industry did not. The relationship is still working today, with Angler and Hunter Insurance Brokers contributing tens of thousands of dollars for conservation projects.

"Partnerships with organizations like Angler and Hunter Insurance Brokers enable both our members and the environment to benefit. Without the financial assistance our partnership with them has provided, we would not have had the means to take on the many conservation fish and wildlife initiatives across the province that we are so passionate about," commented Reader during the award presentation.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Local youth recognized at provincial conference

Innisfil teen Michael John Evers Jr. takes O.F.A.H. Heritage Junior Award

With youth spending more and more time at their computers, it is refreshing to meet a teenager who is still connected to the outdoors, and actively engaged in conservation activities. In recognition of his efforts and leadership, Michael John Evers Jr. of Innisfil was the recipient of a provincial award by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.).

Michael was presented with the O.F.A.H. Heritage Junior Award at the 80th O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference, held recently in Mississauga. O.F.A.H. President Jack Hedman made the presentation during the O.F.A.H. Awards Banquet and praised Michael's commitment to the environment.

"Michael's list of conservation work and outdoor accomplishments is a winning formula for other youth to follow," says Hedman. "He enjoys the outdoors and at the same time, works to protect and conserve our fish and wildlife. He is already an inspiration and a steward of our resources."

Michael was the very first member of the Barrie and District Hunters and Anglers Conservation Club's Get Outdoors program and remains active in the club today. The O.F.A.H. Get Outdoors program supports youth conservation clubs across the province in encouraging respect for individual outdoor interests and promoting team participation in local environmental projects. Michael has worked on reforestation projects, stream improvement, Chinook salmon stocking, and conservation education. He also enjoys target shooting, hunting, fishing, and camping with his family.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

Youth conservation award goes to local club

Fort Frances Get Outdoors Club receives provincial honour

Last week's March Break was extra special for the Fort Frances Get Outdoors Club. They were presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources Junior Conservation Award on Friday morning at the 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga.

The Honourable Donna Cansfield, Minister of Natural Resources presented the award following her presentation to the O.F.A.H. Conference. Several hundred people were on hand for the occasion.

"It is truly inspiring to see these young citizens working on conservation projects for their community," said Minister Cansfield in addressing the audience. "It is my great pleasure to personally convey the pride and appreciation of the government of Ontario to the Fort Frances Get Outdoors Club."

This is the third time the Fort Frances Get Outdoors Club has received this honour. They first took home the award in 1998, as an earlier version of the club (the O.F.A.H. Get Outdoors program began in 2001) and again in 2003.

The Get Outdoors Club, who refer to themselves as "junior members" of the Fort Frances Sportsmen's Club, completed a variety of conservation projects in 2007, including building birdhouses and monitoring bluebird lines, building beaver bafflers, helping with walleye spawning, aiding in invasive species awareness of purple loosestrife, community garbage clean up, and firearm safety. It wasn't all work though; they also enjoyed winter and summer wilderness hikes, cookouts, and archery practice.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 20, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. applauds club's conservation achievements

Sydenham Sportsmen's Association takes Mary Pickford Trophy home again

The Mary Pickford Trophy recognizes the most outstanding conservation achievements by an Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) club. Named after the late actress and avid angler, Mary Pickford, this award recognizes the spirit, determination and deeply caring nature of O.F.A.H. conservationists in Ontario.

The 2007 winner of this prestigious award is the Sydenham Sportsmen's Association of Owen Sound. This club has a sixty-year history of successful conservation, restoration, education and outreach projects in their region. The dedicated club members took on a wide range of projects over the year, including Chinook salmon, brown and rainbow trout fish stocking through the club's hatchery; stream improvement; establishment of a demonstration wildlife enhancement area; reforestation; a youth Get Outdoors conservation club; hunter education courses and conservation outreach.

"The judges were most impressed by the sheer number of conservation projects taken on by the Sydenham Sportsmen's Association," says O.F.A.H. President, Jack Hedman, who made the presentation at the recent O.F.A.H. 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga. "Over the past thirty years, the Sydenham Sportsmen's Association has taken this well-deserved award home on ten previous occasions, a true testament to their commitment to our precious fish and wildlife resources."

Also nominated and highly commended for their conservation work were O.F.A.H. member clubs, the Brant Rod & Gun Club and the Little Current Fish & Game Club.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. supports fish and wildlife research

Three research grants awarded at O.F.A.H. Fish and Wildlife Conference

Three postgraduate university students will receive a total of $6,000 toward their conservation research efforts, thanks to grants from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and partners such as the Toronto Sportsmen's Show. The students received their awards at the recent 80th O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga.

"The O.F.A.H. is pleased to be able to financially support the work of these students," said Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services. "It is conservation research like this that will help us continue the optimal sustainable management of our fish and wildlife."

Leah James is a Queens University Master of Science candidate studying the impact of the invasive species Bythotrephes (spiny water flea), on fish communities in Ontario's shield lakes. The predatory invertebrate arrived in the Great Lakes in the mid 1980's and originates from northern Europe. It can consume as much as 40% of the total zooplankton production in a lake, leaving little food available to native species. The O.F.A.H./Toronto Sportsmen's Show Fisheries Research Grant will assist Leah's research.

David Messmer, a Master of Science candidate from the University of Western Ontario, is the winner of the O.F.A.H./O.F.A.H. Zone G Wildlife Research Grant. He will study the affects of wetland density, particularly small wetlands, on waterfowl breeding pair densities. The results will help waterfowl managers and conservation organizations, such as the O.F.A.H. effectively target conservation efforts in southern Ontario. David brings his field experience in the eastern United States and Alaska to this research project.

Michelle Palmer, a PhD candidate at York University, is the recipient of the O.F.A.H./Oakville & District Rod & Gun Club Conservation Research Grant. Michelle is studying the response to fresh-water stressors on aquatic ecosystems and the feasibility of developing a model to predict the impact of multiple stressors. This area of research has been understudied and has great potential to assist in fisheries management.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers take top award for second year

At the recent Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference, the Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers once again took home the Bert Austin Trophy for their fundraising success in 2007. They sold an incredible 696 books of tickets for the 33rd Annual O.F.A.H./Conservation Lottery, more than any other O.F.A.H. member club.

"The lottery is one of our major fundraisers, generating funds to pay for conservation work across the province," said O.F.A.H. President Jack Hedman, who presented the award to the club. "The Georgian Bay Hunters and Anglers have put long hours into this effort, as have many other O.F.A.H. member clubs. It demonstrates the passion and commitment that anglers and hunters have for our fish and wildlife."

The O.F.A.H. is currently running its 34th O.F.A.H./Conservation Lottery. Over the years, the lottery has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for conservation programming. The 2007 line up of prizes totalled almost $300,000 thanks to the support of major sponsors Dodge, Lund, and Yamaha.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. thanks hunter education supporter

John Mock of Stoeger wins Ontario Hunter Heritage Award

John Mock of Stoeger Canada was recently recognized for his long time support of the Ontario Hunter Education Program with the Ontario Hunting Heritage Award. He was honoured at the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference, held in Mississauga.

John, through Stoeger Canada, a maker of sporting firearms, has donated used and disabled firearms to help instructors and examiners deliver an improved hunter education program. As a former Canadian Firearms instructor/examiner and a current Hunter Education instructor/examiner, John understands the value of good teaching tools to both the prospective hunter and the instructor. In all, the donations total $40,000.

"Good hunter education is key to safe hunting," said Bill Blackwell, O.F.A.H. 2nd Vice-President, who made the award presentation. "John Mock's generosity goes a long way to ensuring that Ontario continues to have among the best hunter safety records anywhere."

John has been involved with many conservation organizations including the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited and the Delta Waterfowl Foundation. He comes from a hunting background and continues this heritage with his family.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Sportsman, conservationist honoured by O.F.A.H.

Canadian National Sportsmen's Show's Walter Oster recognized for contribution to Ontario's fisheries, youth recreation

Every year, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) recognizes an individual who, in their professional role, makes a significant contribution to conservation. Walter Oster, Chairman, C.E.O. of the Canadian National Sportsmen's Shows (C.N.S.S.), is the 2007 recipient of the R.G. Morgan Professional Conservation Award.

"Those who enjoy fishing in Canada owe a great deal to Walter Oster," said O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader, who presented the award to Oster at the recent O.F.A.H. 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga. "I have had the pleasure of working with Walter on a number of initiatives, including the rescue of Ringwood Fish Culture Station. He is truly a driving force behind the conservation and recreational use of Canada's fisheries resources, and a great supporter of youth and family fishing opportunities."

With Oster at the helm, the nonprofit C.N.S.S. has contributed millions to conservation projects and campaigns in Canada. He also serves as Chair of the Toronto Sportsmen's Show/Toronto Sun Great Ontario Salmon Derby held on Lake Ontario, and was instrumental in partnering with the O.F.A.H. to save the Ringwood Fish Culture Station. Ringwood now acts as a centre for the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program, and provides a significant proportion of Lake Ontario's allocation of Chinook and coho salmon, and rainbow and brown trout.

Oster's passion for fishing extends to providing youth with fishing opportunities. He is the key organizer of the Greater Toronto Recreational Fishing Committee that offers youth, who wouldn't otherwise have the chance, the means to fish during the summer and on special licence-free Ontario Family Fishing Weekends.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Sudbury club wins conservation fundraising award

The Sudbury Game and Fish Protective Association were the winners of the Windsor Sportsmen's Trophy for their fundraising success in 2007. They sold an impressive 685 books of tickets for the 33rd Annual O.F.A.H. /Conservation Lottery, 185 more than the previous year. They were presented with the trophy at the recent 80th O.F.A.H. Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference in Mississauga.

Fundraising for conservation projects is a challenging task that often falls to individuals and sports clubs. For over 30 years, the O.F.A.H. has run the O.F.A.H./Conservation lottery that has raised tens of thousands of dollars for conservation programming. To motivate and add some fun to the fundraising process, the O.F.A.H. rewards clubs the top ticket sellers.

"Fundraising is essential to O.F.A.H. conservation programming," said O.F.A.H. President Jack Hedman, who together with Bruno Vanden Berghe of the O.F.A.H. Zone J Executive, made the presentation to the club. "The long running success of the O.F.A.H./Conservation lottery comes down to the members and clubs like the Sudbury Game and Fish Protective Association, who through fundraising, demonstrate their dedication to Ontario's fish and wildlife."

The Windsor Sportsmen's Club initiated the trophy in a show of true sportsmanship to recognize clubs other than the top ticket selling club. The trophy is awarded to the club that sells the second greatest number of O.F.A.H./Conservation Lottery tickets.

The 2007 line up of prizes for the 33rd Annual O.F.A.H. Conservation Lottery totalled almost $300,0000, thanks to the support of major sponsors Dodge, Lund, and Yamaha.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Fifty years of conservation work recognized

Doug Elliott winner of Gord Blake Memorial Conservation Award

At the recent Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference, Doug Elliott of the Port Colborne Conservation Club was honoured for his contribution to conservation with the Gord Blake Memorial Conservation Award.

Named after an O.F.A.H. Past President and long time member of the Oakville Rod & Gun Club, the Gord Blake Memorial Conservation Award is given to the individual O.F.A.H. member whose efforts have done the most for conservation. Doug was nominated for his willingness to help whenever and wherever needed. He has been an O.F.A.H. member for fifty years, beginning as a junior member of the Welland Anglers Association.

"Doug Elliott has spent a lifetime working to better the outdoors in his community," said O.F.A.H. Vice President Rob Hare, who presented the award. "He is tireless in his dedication and enthusiasm for anything involving conservation, and is an inspiration to us all."

Doug's many contributions have included terms as chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority; the Association of Welland Conservation clubs; and O.F.A.H. Zone J. He helped the Port Colborne Conservation Club rear and stock 20,000 walleye fry into the Welland River, and helped secure the Wainfleet Bog as a conservation reserve and hunting area. He is also actively involved in youth outreach.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 17, 2008

For Immediate Release

Ensuring the future of conservation

Scarborough's Bruce Schneller wins conservation mentor award

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) presents the Larry Wallace Memorial Volunteer Award to the O.F.A.H. member who has best ensured the future of conservation by sharing their knowledge and love of the great outdoors with today's youth. The 2007 recipient of this important award is Bruce Schneller of Scarborough.

"Bruce Schneller makes a difference every time he shares his passion for the outdoors with a young person," said Bill Blackwell, O.F.A.H. 2nd Vice-President, who made the award presentation at the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) 80th Annual General Meeting and Fish and Wildlife Conference, held recently in Mississauga. "Through outdoor experience, he teaches team building, positive relationships, and shared success."

Larry Wallace, for whom the award is named, was a conservationist and long time member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) who had a keen interest in introducing youth to the wonders of the outdoors. He believed that the future of angling and hunting rested with our youth.

Bruce was nominated for the Larry Wallace Memorial Volunteer Award for his many contributions to youth, including education through archery, his first love. He sees archery as a means to learn patience, discipline, concentration skills and confidence. He is also involved in the award winning O.F.A.H. Get Outdoors youth leadership program.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information visit www.ofah.org.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations and Communications

705 748-6324 ext 236

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 10, 2008

For Immediate Release

The Angler & Hunter goes High Definition!

Fishing and hunting action will be bigger and sharper than ever

ahtv.jpg

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), producer of The Angler & Hunter television show, is proud to announce the show's move to High Definition. Working closely with their production partners and staff, the O.F.A.H. made the decision to stay ahead of the technical norm and move into the realm of High Definition (HD).

"We are very excited to be going HD," says Cam Brownson, Host/Executive Producer of the popular TV show. "We will be able to show you even more great hunting and fishing action – with incredible detail and picture quality. Hunting and fishing will never have been so clear!"

High Definition is the best quality currently available, and ultimately the future of television. An HD image offers a much bigger picture and a much sharper image than current "Standard Definition." Picture resolution to the viewer is at least twice as good as the previous standard, and there is added viewing area, almost three times the size of regular TV.

With consumers moving to flat panel TV's, and more and more broadcasters and networks offering available HD programming, the O.F.A.H. has made the committment to bring the very best to its viewers with the decision to provide The Angler & Hunter in HD.

In the coming months, The Angler & Hunter will begin production in true High Definition and will subsequently be broadcast to its loyal viewers via Global HD. HD will be appreciated by the more than 150,000 viewers each weekend and it is anticipated that the show's audience will grow substantially as a a result of the investment in state of the art video technology.

The Angler & Hunter is sponsored by Yamaha ATV's, Mercury, Lund, Ontario OUT OF DOORS, Winchester Ammunition, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information visit www.ofah.org and www.ahtv.com.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Cam Brownson

The Angler & Hunter, Host/Executive Producer

705 748-6324 ext 257

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OFAH FILE: 842

March 10, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. applauds proposed amendments to firearms regulations

Renewal of Possession Only Licences (POLs) major step forward

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), applauds proposed amendments to firearms regulations recently announced by the Harper government.

The proposed regulatory changes include 1) Extension of the fee waiver associated with renewing or upgrading existing licences; 2) Renewal of the amnesty which protects non-restricted firearms owners from criminal prosecution while seeking to come into compliance by obtaining a licence and/or registration certificate; and most importantly, 3) Opportunity for firearms owners who hold a Possession Only Licence (POL) to renew these licences, even after they have expired.

"The Conservative government has clearly listened to the firearms community," said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. "Up to one hundred and eight thousand owners whose POLs may have expired were faced with having to upgrade their licences or lose their firearms. The large majority are seniors who have no interest in purchasing new firearms, but want to retain the firearms they have and comply with the law. Allowing them to renew expired POLs, many of which expired because of flaws in the system, is a huge step forward that will ensure compliance with the law and allow them to legally keep their firearms. The government should be congratulated for recognizing this need and acting to rectify a problem which benefits both lawful firearms owners and public safety."

With the coming into effect of these proposed regulations, any firearms owner who previously held a POL and who remain in possession of registered or previously registered non-restricted or restricted firearms may apply for a new POL up to and including May 16, 2009, rather than having to upgrade to a Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). This is a significant change in policy since POLs were previously not renewable upon expiry.

The proposed regulations are intended to come into effect on March 28, 2008.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information visit www.ofah.org.

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Contact

Greg Farrant

O.F.A.H. Government Relations & Communications Manager

(705) 748-6324

Cell: (705) 875-0274

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OFAH FILE: 842

April 30, 2008

For Immediate Release

FEDERAL COURT BACKS CORMORANT CULL

O.F.A.H. Applauds dismissal of injunction application to prevent Middle Island cull

A federal court decision denying a request for an injunction to halt the proposed cull of cormorants on Middle Island in Lake Erie south of Pelee Island will allow Parks Canada to proceed with controls to reduce the negative impact of cormorants on the local ecosystem. The cull, which had been challenged by some animal rights activists, is part of a carefully developed and scientifically sound management plan by Parks Canada to address the overpopulation of cormorants on Middle Island.

"The ecosystems of the Great Lakes and inland lakes cannot continue to sustain the damage that has been created by a decade of cormorant population growth that has been allowed to go unchecked," said Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife. "Parks Canada, both through evidence presented in court and through an environmental assessment, has clearly demonstrated that unless there is both a short and longer term decrease in the cormorant population on Middle Island, the ecological integrity of the Carolinian ecosystem is threatened and may be lost completely over the next decade."

Cormorant populations have exploded in many areas of Ontario, including the Great Lakes, and inland lakes like Simcoe, Couchiching, Rice and Opeongo Lake in Algonquin Park. Concerns around the cormorant overpopulation are based on both their habits and consumption of fish species. Cormorants consume vast quantities of smaller bait fish and immature fish species and their guano (droppings) are highly toxic, resulting in the destruction of nearby vegetation and nesting areas for other birds.

"Despite what some animal rights organizations suggest, this has nothing to do with the eradication of a species, and everything to do with the careful and scientific control of one species whose population is out of sync with the surrounding area and negatively impacting upon other species. There is compelling science to support the use of a managed cull as part of a management strategy," said Dr. Quinney.

In ruling against the application for an injunction, the court found that Parks Canada had presented strong evidence to suggest that real harm to ecosystem of Middle Island would occur if the cull did not proceed by the end of April. Parks Canada argued that if immediate action is not taken to reduce the number of cormorants, the island's unique ecosystem could be damaged beyond the point of recovery. Parks officials also noted that if they allowed this to happen, the service would be guilty of not living up to its mandate to maintain ecological integrity under the Canada National Parks Act.

While the move to control the cormorant population on Middle Island is seen as a positive step, the O.F.A.H. is concerned over the lack of action in other areas of the province under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.). The province's decision to halt the cull of cormorants at Presqu'ile Provincial Park because of pressure from animal rights groups, and the lack of a coherent cormorant management strategy flies in the face of the M.N.R.'s responsibility and stated commitment to the conservation of biodiversity. The province has also recently come under fire from bordering U.S. states who have introduced cormorant controls that are threatened by Ontario's inaction.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest non-profit conservation organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For further information, visit www.ofah.org.

Contact

Greg Farrant

Manager of Government

Relations & Communications

(705) 748-6324 ext. 236

(705) 875-0274 (cell) Dr. Terry Quinney

Provincial Manager, Fish & Wildlife

(705) 748-6324 ext. 242 Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270

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OFAH FILE: 842

April 14, 2008

For Immediate Release

Izumis to pitch in for Earth Day event

Celebrity anglers, area schools and college students onboard for conservation work in Cobourg

BACKGROUND:

The Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program, the Community Stream Steward Program and their partners are celebrating the successful wrap-up of the second year of the "Bring Back the Salmon program" with help from well-known anglers Bob and Wayne Izumi. Both programs are initiatives of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), Ontario's largest conservation-based organization.

This second annual Earth Day event takes place Friday, April 18, and includes a stream clean-up and the release of 1,000 Atlantic salmon yearling into Cobourg Brook.

"This is going to be a great day, one that typifies what the Fishing Forever Foundation is about—engaged communities improving fish habitat, diverse partners working together in conservation, and giving hands-on education and experiences to young people and future fisheries professionals," says Bob Izumi, Chairman of the Fishing Forever Foundation and host of Bob Izumi's Real Fishing. "Wayne and I can't wait to help release the yearling Atlantic salmon the staff and students at Fleming College have been raising with Foundation support."

Students from Cobourg District Collegiate Institutes East and West, Holy Cross Secondary School (Peterborough), and Fleming College will work with staff from the O.F.A.H., Ganaraska Conservation, the Northumberland County Stewardship Council, the Town of Cobourg, and the charitable Fishing Forever Foundation which was established by the Izumis in 2000, and sponsors Fleming College's contribution to the Atlantic salmon restoration program.

Volunteers will congregate at Peace Park and move northward along Cobourg Brook, for stream clean-up. Lunch will be at the Cobourg Conservation Area, then volunteers will be bussed to the salmon release site in the early afternoon. The best media opportunities will occur between 10:30 and 2:00 PM.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Friday, April 18, 2008 Time: 9:00 AM until mid-afternoon Locations:

  • All events take place on Cobourg Brook, just east of Toronto, off Highway 401
  • 9 AM Peace Park, Cobourg, (volunteers move northward along streambank)
  • LUNCH at Cobourg Conservation Area (Elgin Street off Burnham Street)
  • 1 PM Danforth Street (north of Hwy 401, west of County Road 45
    (Cty. Rd. 45/Baltimore exit off Highway 401)

Directions: pdf.gifPeace Park Cobourg Conservation Area Map || pdf.gifDanforth Street map

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Media Invited to cover this rain or shine environmental event, offering fantastic photo and interview opportunities. BBQ lunch at Cobourg Conservation Area.

Contact

Derrick Luetchford

Community Stream Steward Program Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 249

Onsite cell: 705-761-1276 Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270

Onsite cell: 705 872-8053

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OFAH FILE: 842

April 10, 2008

For Immediate Release

O.F.A.H. Applauds Passage of Animal Cruelty Bill

Strong Parliamentary majority supports groundbreaking legislation

The long and often acrimonious debate over amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to animal cruelty overcame a major hurdle yesterday in the House of Commons, with a large majority of Members of Parliament voting in support of Bill S-203, introduced by Liberal Senator John Bryden of New Brunswick.

The bill, which represents the first advances on this issue in over one hundred years, will provide for substantially increased fines and penalties in cases of animal abuse and provide the courts with additional tools to deal with abuse cases, without impacting negatively on millions of Canadians in the outdoor, agricultural and medical research communities.

"The debate over changes to the law regarding animal abuse has dragged on for over ten years. Senator Bryden's bill, which was supported by a large number of Conservative, Liberal and Bloc M.P.'s, provides for increased fines and penalties, something a majority of Canadians supported. It removes the current two-year cap on ownership allowing the courts to ban ownership for life and provides the courts with the power to make restitution orders, similar to previous proposed government bills," said O.F.A.H. Manager of Government Relations and Communications, Greg Farrant. "The bill enjoyed cross party support from the government and members of both the Liberals and the Bloc. The Members of Parliament who voted in favor of the legislation should be commended, as should Senator Bryden who worked tirelessly over the past three years to bring this to fruition. It's unfortunate that animal rights activists and animal protection groups who were seeking more onerous legislation chose not to support a bill which offers an increased ability to go after animal abusers. The fact that they opposed the bill really calls into question their agenda, since the inclusion of increased fines and penalties addressed one of their original concerns."

Bill S-203 is a simple and straightforward response to the demand by Canadians that the penalties for anyone convicted of abusing an animal be increased, which the O.F.A.H. and wildlife federations across the country strongly support. While the existing defences will continue to apply, as will the body of case law that has been developed over the years for interpreting the provisions of the law, enforcement officers and the courts will now be able to apply increased penalties that are more in line with the severity of the crime.

"We hope that the changes brought forward in Bill S-203 will act as a substantial deterrent to potential offenders who would otherwise engage in animal abuse with little fear of reprisal. The fact that the bill provides for changes to the law without penalizing legal, lawful, heavily regulated animal use industries is a testament to the balanced approach taken by the Senator. The passage of legislation is often a balancing act between competing interests, and in this case, we think the Senator and Parliamentarians who supported the bill got it right," said Farrant.

With 83,000 members and 655 member clubs across Ontario, the O.F.A.H. is the largest non-profit conservation organization in Ontario and the Voice of Anglers and Hunters on issues affecting the outdoor community.

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Contact

Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations & Communications

705 748-6324

(705) 875-0274 (cell) Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270

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OFAH FILE: 842

April 10, 2008

For Immediate Release

Proposal to ban handguns off target

Toronto Mayor long on rhetoric, short on fact

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), representing 83,000 members and 655 member clubs across Ontario, condemns Toronto Mayor David Miller's proposal to ban handguns because it flies in the face of hard evidence that bans don't work and focus on the wrong target. His insistence on pursuing this optically enticing but factually challenged policy ignores the fact that handgun bans in several other jurisdictions has resulted in increased gun violence. His proposal also misses the point that the overwhelming majority of handguns used to commit crimes in Canada belong not to trained, licenced and law abiding firearms owners, but rather, are smuggled in from the United States or other countries.

"The Mayor is either ignoring or is blithely unaware of the fact that handguns are already subject to extremely onerous provisions, and except for a few legitimate purposes, have already been banned in Canada. He also conveniently ignores the fact that there has been a handgun registry in Canada since the mid-1930's, which has failed to stop the proliferation of guns on our streets, because criminals don't register guns and don't acquire them in the normal manner. In fact, in 2005, only 4 of 129 homicides were committed with a registered firearm, and 6 of 108 in 2006," said O.F.A.H. President Jack Hedman. "Mayor Miller is determined to ignore evidence from countries like England, Wales, Australia and Jamaica who have already gone down this road, and experienced firsthand that handgun bans do not reduce crime. In fact, twelve months after the Government of Australia introduced a new law which resulted in the destruction of almost 650,000 firearms, homicides, assaults and armed robberies involving guns increased dramatically, leaving Australian politicians at a loss to explain how public safety decreased after the implementing a costly ban."

The O.F.A.H. believes that the approach being pursued by the federal government has a better chance of success in fighting crime. The recently passed Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, which was supported by both Mayor Miller and Premier McGuinty, addressed a number of crime related issues, and includes minimum mandatory sentences for serious firearms offences; bail hearings for offences involving firearms; and tougher mandatory jail time for serious gun crimes, particularly those that involve gangs and criminal organizations. The provision of funding to provinces to hire more police officers, the hiring of 1,000 additional RCMP officers and increased funding for border enforcement are tangible contributions to the fight against illegal guns and their use to commit crime.

"It defies belief as to why the Mayor of Toronto and other politicians try to score cheap political points with their constituents by pushing the idea of a firearms ban, when the idea has been tried in several other jurisdictions and failed. People who use handguns to commit crime use illegal firearms so banning them outright would be redundant. Guns, and lawful gun owners make a convenient target," said Hedman. "Given that Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair admitted before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice that the vast majority of firearms seized by his officers have been smuggled across the border, and that Vancouver Police have previously noted that over 90% of the illegal firearms seized were smuggled in from south of the border, it is naïve to suggest that targeting legal, law abiding firearms owners, who undergo rigorous screening and abide by stringent storage and transportation laws will solve the problem. Only by focusing on the root causes of crime and preventing criminals from accessing firearms smuggled into Canada through various means will the issue of gun crime be rationally addressed. It's easy for politicians to deflect attention away from the fact that they have no new answers, by looking for a scapegoat and an easy fix by calling for a ban that is ultimately less about solving the problem and more about public relations."

The fact that gun bans don't work is supported by extensive research undertaken by Dr. Gary Mauser, Professor of Business Administration and the Institute for Urban Canadian Research Studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, who has conclusively demonstrated that a review of gun laws in a variety of Commonwealth countries has proven banning firearms has not reduced homicide in any jurisdictions where it has been attempted. Dr. Mauser, who has extensive experience in firearms legislation and public policy, has written a number of articles on the issue that have appeared in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and other scholarly publications and has lectured on the topic both nationally and internationally.

Homicide Trendsgunban_th.jpg

England & Wales gunban1_th.jpg

Homicide Trends

Republic of Ireland Mr. Hedman also noted that despite the Mayor's claim that several thousand people had signed onto his online petition asking the federal government to ban handguns, the result of two other recent polls appeared to be a vote of non-confidence in the Mayor's proposal. In response to an April 9, 2008 poll by the Toronto Sun, which asked the question, 'Are you in favour of a complete ban on handguns'? an astounding 39,130 people voted, with 91% opposed to a ban. An informal poll on whether or not to ban guns taken during a Tuesday lunch hour debate on CITY TV news resulted in 1,110 calling in support, 1,890 against.

As the largest non-profit conservation based organization in Ontario, the O.F.A.H. has spent the past decade educating politicians and the public about the level of safe and responsible use of firearms that exists in the lawful firearms community and seeking to focus the argument on the real causes of gun crime. Legal, lawful, trained, licensed and heavily regulated firearms users are extremely conscious of their role as safe, responsible users of firearms, and the education of all firearms owners and users of the need for safe storage and transportation of firearms. The illegal importation of handguns into Canada and the use of these firearms to commit crimes is an issue that threatens the public safety and firearms users themselves have helped lead the fight to ensure that smuggling of firearms and their use in crimes is eradicated.

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Contact

Greg Farrant

Manager, Government Relations & Communications

705 748-6324

(705) 875-0274 (cell) Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270

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OFAH FILE: 842

April 9, 2008

For Immediate Release

Cormorant control needed now

Healthy Great Lakes is the goal of cormorant plan

In the Great Lakes basin, St. Lawrence River, and several inland lakes in southern Ontario, April means the return of the double-crested cormorant, and the continuation of its ecological destruction and devastation. For years, cormorant overpopulation has been killing off huge tracts of precious Carolinian forest, decimating shorelines, threatening species at-risk, and raiding fisheries.

Cormorant populations have exploded over the past fifteen years, and are now spreading to inland lakes, such as Simcoe, Couchiching, Rice, and Algonquin Park's Opeongo Lake, as well as the Muskoka Lakes, the Kawartha Lakes and others. The concern over cormorant overpopulation is two fold, and involves the bird's consumption habits and habitat. The first issue is the cormorant's voracious appetite for small and immature fish; with each bird consuming a minimum of a pound of fish daily, large populations can seriously degrade fisheries. The second ecological issue is the cormorant's highly toxic guano (droppings), which kills nesting trees and underlying vegetation within three to ten years. The altered ecosystem also threatens other birds, reptiles and insects.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters strongly supports conservation management plans that include a controlled cull in areas where the cormorant has become dangerously overabundant, such as in Parks Canada's Point Pelee National Park, on Middle Island in Lake Erie. Parks Canada is proposing to reduce cormorant nests over the next four years to fewer than one thousand in order to help protect the island's nine species listed under the federal Species at Risk Act, and thirty-three other species listed as provincially rare. The proposed conservation plan is backed by ten years of research and monitoring.

"The ecosystems of the Great Lakes and inland lakes of Ontario cannot continue to sustain the damage of a decade of cormorant overpopulation," says Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services.

According to Parks Canada, unless there is an immediate and maintained decrease in cormorant populations on Middle Island, there will be an almost complete loss of ecological integrity of the Carolinian ecosystem in less than a decade. Information about the proposed implementation of the Middle Island Conservation Plan is posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at www.ceaa.gc.ca, reference # 37777.

Despite compelling science that supports a cull as the only effective means of reducing current cormorant numbers, animal rights activists continue to block any such action. They recently succeeded in forcing a temporary delay to the planned Point Pelee spring cull, and in 2004, convinced the provincial government to cut short a five-year program to reduce cormorant overpopulation at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Worse, the province has done nothing to address the crisis since then, leaving the O.F.A.H. to question the Ministry of Natural Resources' stated commitment to the conservation of biological diversity, and to the wise use of our natural resources.

"The O.F.A.H. remains concerned that, by not managing the cormorant population, the super abundance of this bird will continue to damage other species and ecosystems," added Quinney.

With over 83,000 members and 655 member clubs, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is the leading fishing, hunting and conservation organization in Ontario, and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information visit www.ofah.org.

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Contact

Lezlie Goodwin

Communications Coordinator

705 748-6324 ext 270 Terry Quinney

Provincial Manager, Fish and Wildlife Services

705 748-6324 ext 242

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