By Dianne Cornish • REVIEW STAFF
Charlie Bois doesn’t believe that allowing Sunday gun hunting in Hamilton will have a big impact. For deer hunting, it means just two extra days of hunting a year, he points out. And for turkey hunting, the other most popular hunt in the area, it means another seven days in the hunting season.
The former New Brunswick resident, now living in west Flamborough, hopes Hamilton city council can be convinced to allow Sunday gun hunting in areas where firearm discharge is permitted. Neighbouring municipalities to the north and south–Brant County and North Dumfries Township–already allow it, as do 149 other municipalities in southern Ontario.
Bois says concerns voiced by councilors at a planning committee meeting Nov. 20 about the safety of hikers along trails, if the extra day of hunting is allowed, are “completely unfounded.” Firearm discharge areas “pretty well protect” people walking in forested areas within the city’s boundaries, as most existing trails are in zones where firearm discharge is forbidden, he said. Also, hunters are trained to “see what (wild game) they are hitting” and to scan the landscape beyond their target, he added.
“Allowing Sunday gun hunting doesn’t mean a lot of hunters will go out there and start shooting,” he said. As the regulations stand now, they can go out and target shoot all day Sunday, if they want to, he noted.
While Bois says there’s “definitely an interest” among Hamilton hunters to open up Sundays to gun hunting, Flamborough councilor Robert Pasuta isn’t convinced. “I see no interest in hunting on Sundays (in Ward 14),” said the councilor, who represents the biggest part of Hamilton’s rural area.
Pasuta, who has granted permission to some of his friends to hunt on his farm in the Mountsberg area for the past few years, said none of them has ever voiced a desire for Sunday gun hunting and no one in his ward, during his six years in office, has ever asked for it. Bois, he said, is the first.
Many of Flamborough’s rural dwellers are former city residents, he noted, and they like to go hiking with their families on weekends. “They sometimes go across private property when they’re hiking” and often go off the trails, which could put their safety at risk, he said.
As for hunters who target shoot with guns on Sundays, Pasuta said they do their practice shooting “in contained areas.” Bois, however counters, that hunting is also done in a contained area. “Hunters don’t do a lot of roaming; they stick to one area.”