The comments were generally supportive of the proposal. The majority of comments acknowledged the need for additional tools to help farmers better manage conflicts with coyotes/wolf and avoid inadvertently capturing or killing non-target species.
A number of comments suggested the need for specific training on the use of relaxing cable restraints (RCRs) to help ensure efficient and effective use by both licensed trappers and farmers. As a result of these comments, Ontario will be adding an RCR training component to the mandatory Fur Harvest, Fur Management and Conservation Course required for all new licensed trappers. Ontario will also develop a best management practice document to provide additional information on the effective use of RCRs.
Specific reasons cited for not supporting the proposed regulation included: concerns regarding potential impacts to dogs used for the purpose of hunting, being inadvertently captured in southern Ontario, concern that farmers would be permitted to use relaxing cable restraints without specific training, general opposition to wolf/coyote trapping, and preference for other non-lethal and preventative conflict management by farmers.
Concerns have been addressed by: prohibiting general RCR use during deer seasons in southern, central and parts of northern Ontario where dogs are generally permitted for use while hunting deer, clarifying that farmers may only use RCRs on their private property, and identifying that the Ministry will provide training materials to farmers and licensed trappers who wish to use RCRs. Hunters using dogs will continue to be required to obtain landowner permission to hunt and use dogs on private land, which should alleviate some broader concerns with respect to RCR use on private lands.
In addition, a few comments reflected a need to better promote awareness of existing preventative information and compensation programs to assist with managing conflicts with coyote/wolf. The Ministry will continue to make such information available, as noted below for reference.
• Preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes and wolves:
• Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/predation.htm
It is anticipated that this decision will have a positive impact on the agricultural community to help better manage conflicts with coyotes and help avoid inadvertently capturing or killing non-target species.