Submitted by Stu Paterson for Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association
Wiarton, Ontario: It was a full house on January 15, 2023 as the 250-member Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association (BPSA) hosted the winter meeting of Zone H of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH). This zone covers a wide area with delegates attending from as far away as Orillia, Shelburne, Barrie, Wasaga Beach and Kincardine. Zone H has over 11-thousand members. Zone Chair Mike Evers says these meetings give federation members a chance to meet with like minded individuals and provide opinions that are passed on to OFAH directors who decide federation policy.
Dozens of subjects were discussed by more than sixty delegates including:
-the threat of the spread of wild pigs and the “wild pig watch” by Ontario government agencies
-the advantages of using net pens to transition hatchery fish into the wild resulting in larger fish stocked and increasing their survival rate when released
-regional co-operation between volunteer-based fish stocking clubs
-OFAH zone grants to college and university students studying biology and other fields related to hunting and fishing
Delegates discussed federal government moves to ban a number of firearms, including some hunting rifles. Via a live audio-video feed from Ottawa, Grey-Bruce-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff joined us to discuss the issue.
Ruff is totally familiar with firearms having spent 25 years in the Canadian Military. The MP attacked Ottawa’s firearms proposals as “doing nothing to reduce or prevent firearms crime in Canada.” He reported “legally licensed firearms owners are the least likely to commit firearms crimes,” and asked “why are they being unfairly targeted by the government” ?
During a question & answer session with Ruff OFAH members accused Ottawa of “banning some weapons trying to steal legally acquired firearms that hunters, collectors and target shooters have used for years.”
Alex Ruff reminded us that he interjected at the Public Safety committee over the last minute amendments to Bill C-21 (Handgun freeze) to now include banning the majority of semi-auto hunting rifles.
Ruff urged every Canadian firearms owner to write protest letters to all MP’s, the Prime Minister, and other Ministers involved in the controversy, to express outrage on the federal firearms moves.
At the Wiarton meeting OFAH Directors reminded us that our federation recently presented a suite of strong recommendations on firearms to Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino.
Another speaker was Natalie Mechalko one of fifteen OFAH NEXT GENERATION AMBASSADORS. She lives in Grey-Bruce and is the Forestry and Trails Coordinator with Grey County. Mechalko explained that AMBASSADORS are anglers and hunters who bring fresh younger views to the table to determine the future direction of OFAH.
Zone H chair Mike Evers congratulated BPSA for hosting the event which he called “well organized”. Draw prizes were handed out including a $75.00 Zone H attendance incentive prize. Fifty BPSA prizes were presented to attendees including two $50.00 cash prizes. Sponsors of this event included OFAH Zone H, Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association, Charlie Robertson, The Lake Huron Fishing Club, Lyman Lures, TNT Fishing Lures, Silver Fox Tackle, Outback Sports Hunting & Fishing Supplies, Junction 4&19 Tackle Shop, Lucky Strike Baitworks, and Ram Trophies.
The next BPSA club meeting is on Thursday January 26, 2023 at 7:30 pm. If you feel you might want to get involved in club that stocks fish, does stream rehabilitation, promotes invasive species awareness, has youth and adult firearms, archery and tree planting programs, check us out on January 26th.