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The Hunt & Harvest

Aboriginal Harvesting Right for Métis

The Métis have Aboriginal rights, which are protected by s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. In this case, it was established that the Powley’s have an Aboriginal right to hunt as Métis. Métis rights, as Aboriginal rights, are collective rights. The existence of the Métis right to hunt exercised by the Powley’s flows from: The hunting in the historic Métis community at Sault Ste. Marie was an integral part of that Métis community’s culture. The Métis community continued to exist in the Sault on a continuous basis; the modern day Métis community at Sault Ste. Marie is rooted in the historic Métis community.

At all times, hunting has been a critical part of the Métis community’s culture. The Powleys identified as belonging to the Métis community at Sault Ste. Marie, were connected to the historic Métis community, and were hunting within the Métis community’s traditional territory. The Métis’ right to hunt or harvest is not game or species specific.

Who is Métis and Who has a Right to Hunt?

The Court has left it open to allow the Métis Nation to define its own citizenship by recognizing that who is Métis for the purposes of exercising a Métis harvesting right may be different than who is Métis for other purposes (i.e. such as citizenship within the MNO).Powley confirms that a s. 35 Aboriginal harvesting right of a Métis community can be exercised by someone who:

  • Self-identifies as Métis; 
  • Is accepted as Métis by the Métis community. 
  • The Court recognized that there might be other individuals who legitimately claim Métis identity, but do not have a genealogical connection to the historic Métis community. 

However, whether these individuals may also exercise a Métis community’s harvesting right was not decided in this case because the facts did not warrant such a determination. Ancestors of Métis harvesting rights claimants could have taken treaty without losing their Aboriginal rights or Métis status. 

MNO Harvesting Agreement Legally Binding on Government of Ontario

OTTAWA (June 12, 2007) — The Ontario Court of Justice has ruled that the historic harvesting agreement entered into by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is legally binding on the Government of Ontario and that the laying of charges by the MNR against three Métis harvesters violated the terms of that agreement. The Hon. Justice Greg Rodgers today ordered a stay of proceedings against the three Métis harvesters involved, Marc Laurin, Shaun Lemieux and Roger Lemieux, all of the French River region of Ontario, south of Sudbury.“We have achieved another major victory in the Metis hunt for justice”, said MNO President and Chief Captain of the Hunt, Tony Belcourt. “This judgment restores our faith in the value of negotiated agreements and justifies our position that we wish to work out our issues at a negotiating table. I hope this judgment will now pave the way for us to finally establish an appropriate working relationship with the Government of Ontario that is long overdue,” Mr. Belcourt added.

Harvesting Seasons

This is for a guideline for reference purposes only.  Please check with your local authorities.  All harvesting dates are referring to the Barrie South-Simcoe area (wildlife management areas 76D, 77C, and 77B).

Deer Harvesting:  Bow - October 1st to December 31st. Within this time frame one must remember that two controlled hunts happen for shotgun use; the first week of November, and the first week of December.  During these times orange is worn to see the hunter.  It is extremely unsafe to be walking for any reason in woods or fields without wearing orange during this time.

Wild Turkey Harvesting: Shotgun or Bow - April 25th to May 31st.  It is Important to remember hens (the female Turkey) should not be harvested during this time.

Wild Turkey Harvesting: Shotgun or Bow - October 13th to October 25th. Either the tom (male) or hen (female) may be harvested. 

Wolf and Coyote Harvesting: Year round.

Grouse Harvesting: September 25th to December 31st

Partridge Harvesting: September 25th to December 31st 

Cottontail and European Hare: September 25th to February 28th

Raccoon and Opossum Harvesting: October 5th to January 31st

Red Fox and Skunk Harvesting: Year round.

Weasel Harvesting: October 25th to February 28th

Canada Geese Harvesting: September 10th to September 20th (except Sundays), September 26th to December 30th, and February 27th to March 6th (except Sundays).

Woodcock Harvesting: September 25th to December 20th

Duck, Rail, Gallinules, Coots, and Snipe Harvesting: September 26th to January 9th (except Harlequin Ducks, Yellow Rails and King Rails)

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