Short Hills Provincial Park is situated in the Regional Municipality of Niagara. It is 735 hectares in size, making it the smallest provincial park in Ontario. Its features include part of the Niagara Escarpment, representative northern Carolinian forests and the Fonthill Kame Moraine.
The park used to provide sanctuary from hunters who kill deer in areas surrounding the park. Sadly in 2013, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry allowed the first ever deer hunt in Short Hills. Deer mothers lost their young and dependent fawns were orphaned.
In 2015 we submitted a report to the Minister. Click here for an excerpt of our report.
Five hunts have occurred in Short Hills Hunt since 2013, with the number of hunters reaching an all time high of 100 on the first day of the most recent hunt. The chart below provides hunt statistics that were collected by the Ministry.
|Hunt Date||Total # Deer Killed||# Does with Dependent Fawns||# Fawns|
Orphaned fawns and wounded deer highlight the cruelty of the Short Hills hunt. Dependent fawns who were still nursing, were orphaned when their mothers were shot and killed. No-one knows what happened to these young animals. Did they survive or did they die from predation or starvation?
In 2015, two of the three deer who were wounded during the hunt were never recovered. They were left to suffer and likely die from their wounds. The length of time to their death is unknown.
Ecological and other issues
During the hunt days, the hunters were allowed to drive their vehicles into vehicle-prohibited area of the park. The road into the park and the weigh–in station showed substantial damage from truck tires. In addition Ministry staff used ATVs to transport dead deer to the weigh in station that caused considerable damage to fragile trails and off trail areas. Damage includes deep ruts, tree root exposure, and damage to vegetation abutting the trail, which remain today.
Short Hills, being the smallest provincial park, has a tiny annual operating budget of $25,800 with virtually no funds for even limited protection of the park’s wildlife or the inappropriate use of ATVs, dirt bikes or other motorized vehicles on the park trails.
The Ministry staff allow a six day hunt that damages wildlife and the park ecology and costs the Ministry substantially more than the entire Short Hills annual operating budget. The first hunt in January 2013 cost $24,600. The second hunt in November and December 2013 cost $58,900. The third in November and December 2014 cost $61,970. The fourth in November/December 2015, $34,000. And the fifth hunt in November/December 2016, $39,900. The total cost for 5 hunts: $219,370.
Three things result from the hunt: 1) other Ministry programmes will pay the price in reduced resources and park maintenance compromised; 2) Short Hills will remain in disrepair; and 3) few resources will be allocated to investigate poaching in the park.
The sad fact remains that Short Hills Provincial Park is no longer an oasis of protection for wildlife in the Niagara Region.
How You Can Help
Join us to stop this cruel hunt. Help us fight to protect the deer.
Also please contact Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry and tell them provincial parks should be free from hunting.
Premier Kathleen Wynne
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Minister Kathryn McGarry
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W3
If you live in the electoral district of St. Cathrines or Niagara West – Glanbrook, please also contact your Member of Provincial Parliament, James Bradley and Sam Oosterhoff respectively: