Wellington North approves Sunday gun hunting

Wellington North is the first municipality in Wellington County to approve gun hunting on Sundays.

It was a close 3-2 vote on Jan. 11, with councillor Steve McCabe, who first raised and supported the idea, councillor Lisa Hern and Mayor Andy Lennox voting in favour of allowing an extra day of gun hunting, and  councillors Sherry Burke and Dan Yake opposed.

“The municipalities should not have the right to tell landowners what they can or cannot do on their own land,” said McCabe.

Hern, who said she had problems with hunters trespassing on her property, didn’t like that her son, who can make a lot of noise on a Sunday, cannot hunt on their own property the same day.

Burke, however, said it’s a balance.

“For me it comes down to a balance for residents and an additional day for recreational hunting for few becomes a disruption for many others and their various Sunday activities,” she said. “For this reason, I oppose the opening of the Sunday gun hunt and I don’t believe it enhances or benefits our community.”

Yake echoed Burke’s comments, saying, “It’s been another emotional issue over the last few months. I’ve heard from both supporters and opponents and I think after weighing both sides over the last few months, I don’t think I’m going to support it.”

Lennox, who said earlier in the meeting he was on the fence about the issue, finally voted in favour.

“I struggle with this myself because on one hand I see councillor McCabe’s side of the argument, freedom of choice … but then also as a landowner I feel some concern with some of the issues that have been associated with hunters,” said Lennox.

He added he had bad encounters with hunters in the past, but he recognizes “this is unfortunately another one of those cases where a few people who are bad actors spoil it for the majority.”

Council also directed staff to draft letters to the Ministry of Natural Resources in support of Bill 36, which seeks to amend the Trespass to Property Act; to all municipalities that allow Sunday gun hunting, asking them to voice their opinion on Bill 36; and to the Federation of Anglers and Hunters to encourage better practices for its members.