When I came to this district in 1948, the Pipestone game reserve was in place. It started just north of Finland and ended on the south shore of Crow Lake.
All the area east of Highway 71 to Clearwater Lake was banned to hunting and trapping. At that time, camp owners found the hunting season profitable.
Many wanted the ban removed. My brother insisted that as long as the reserve was there, there would be good hunting. The nucleus of the herd would be safe and breed; the surplus would move out and be available for the hunters.
Others said the herd was too strong and should be thinned.
When the middle of October approached, the camp filled up with males. We were pressed to find a guide (as non-resident hunters had to have guides). The atmosphere in the camp changed. There was a lot of kidding but also an aggressive feeling against the deer.
Even before daylight on the 15th, the guests and their guides were leaving the dock. By mid-morning, the first successful hunters had returned and already checking out.
Almost all visited the gift shop to purchase a “peace offering” for their ladies.
By the end of the week, most had left–many proud of their deer. I am sure most of Nestor Falls camps did as well.
Under pressure, the government gave way and removed the game reserve. Hunting was even better for the first year but then rapidly declined.
Last October, I asked my nephew how the camp was doing. He said he still had some guests.
I said ‘hunters?’ He said they have not had more than an odd hunter for years. His present guests were all trout anglers.
Last week, I heard the minister of Natural Resources said they would allow the local people to have a say on opening the parks to hunters. I would plead with our local hunters to use their brains.
As long as Quetico Park stays a reserve, you will always have deer available in the surrounding area.
Think of your sons, and grandsons. Do you want them to haul deer from Alberta to start a new herd in Ontario? As we have just done with elk?