Hunters starting Ducks Unlimited chapter

Brodie Thomas
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For Eric King, the crisp fall air and the changing leaves are not so much a sign of fall as they are a sign of hunting season.

The Burnt Islands resident has been travelling to the Codroy Valley to hunt geese and ducks for years.

Brodie Thomas photo

For Eric King, the crisp fall air and the changing leaves are not so much a sign of fall as they are a sign of hunting season.

The Burnt Islands resident has been travelling to the Codroy Valley to hunt geese and ducks for years.

Now he and a group of over 30 local duck and geese hunters are hoping to re-start a chapter of Ducks Unlimited in Port aux Basques.

About 25 hunters met at the Bruce II Sports Centre on Thursday to vote on whether or not to form a hunting group, and then whether or not that group should be affiliated with Ducks Unlimited.

All hunters at the meeting agreed they would be willing to pay dues of $40 to get a chapter of the conservation-minded hunting association going again in the southwest coast region.

They selected five people to serve as the groups executive. Bob Hinks was named president. Eric King is vice president, while Nelson Miles, Joel Hinks and Andy Francis will all sit as chairs on the executive.

They will be meeting again at the Curling Club Viewing Room on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss further details. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to attend, or to contact President Bob Hinks.

The hunters decided to come together in the wake of changes to hunting practices in the Codroy Valley.

Valley farmer Danny Cormier has begun charging $20 a day for hunters to access parcels of land used by West Valley Farms.

Mr. Cormier said he and other family members decided to implement the fees after finding garbage and shells left behind in the fields of the Cormier family farm. There were also occasional problems with hunters feuding over territory.

"I decided to go with a controlled hunt. The idea is to give the avid hunters a better day's hunt," said Mr. Cormier.

He said 90 per cent of the hunters are responsible and leave no garbage behind, but something had to be done about the few who were abusing the privilege.

Reaction to the land fees has been mixed, according to Mr. Cormier. Some hunters like it because their hunting area is clearly defined. Others have complained about the price.

He said depending on how things go this year, he may lower the cost next year.

Hunters at the Thursday night meeting agreed a few bad apples are spoiling it for the rest of them. That is why they want to band together to show they too want a responsible hunt.

President Bob Hinks said he often encounters shell casings on the fields and once found a pizza box some hunters had left behind.

Most said they understand Mr. Cormier's position, and they want to work with him and other land owners in the valley rather than see hunting grounds shut down all together.

Mr. King said he sees the formation of a Ducks Unlimited chapter to be a win-win for everyone involved. He stressed the many educational and conservation programs the club has. If and when the group forms, they would probably re-instate the annual dinner and auction as a fundraiser. The event has been held in Port aux Basques in the past.

The hunters will begin solely as a chapter of Ducks Unlimited, but depending on interest they may form a rod and gun club that will be associated with Ducks Unlimited.

Mr. King was told by Ducks Unlimited officials that money raised in the area stays in the area, so hunters can expect to see results locally in the form of conservation and education.

Joel Hinks said he formed a rod and gun club in Kingston, Ont. that was associated with Ducks Unlimited. He said the organization did a lot of positive work with his club the two years they remained active. He said the club would have likely grown except it was mostly military personnel who were transferred to other bases. He sees the potential for this group to last longer.

Local hunter Tim Savoury attended the meeting and is excited about the formation of the group.

"I think it a lovely idea if it works out and everything gets organized," he said.

reporter@gulfnews.ca

Organizations: Ducks Unlimited, Bruce II Sports Centre, Curling Club Viewing Room

Geographic location: Codroy Valley, Port aux Basques, Burnt Islands Kingston

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Recent comments

  • wayne
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    Curious? If i don't hunt,can i still join this group? I so support the whole idea with the education and conservation thing.

  • Kelly
    June 28, 2010 - 14:29

    Wayne, DU Canada is proud of its waterfowling roots but it is not limited to hunters. It is actually an organization that conserves wetlands for the benefit of waterfowl, wildlife and people. There are many educational and recreational uses for wetlands from bird watching and hiking to hunting (and much more) and we are proud to conserve them for these traditional purposes. We are very happy to have a presence again in Port aux Basques and would be more than happy to have you help us out! You can learn more about DU Canada at www.ducks.ca.

    Kelly Sandoval
    DU Canada Fundraising Manager NL