Haudenosaunee deer hunting in the Dundas Valley begins Monday.

The special agreement addresses the treaty right to for Haudenosaunee to hunt on Hamilton Conservation Area owned land.

“The treaty rights are valid, and the Haudenosaunee have the right to hunt as they wish,” said HCA chair and city councillor Brian McHattie. “The protocol clarifies our mutual intentions and protects both parties, as well as the public.”

This is the third year HCA and the Haudenosaunee have struck a hunting agreement. Deer hunting is a long standing tradition in Haudenosaunee life and culture. Only traditional hunting methods – using a bow and arrow – is allowed during deer harvesting.

The deer go to Haudenosaunee longhouses for ceremonies and are used for food.

“As a result of there being no other hunters, the deer population has become such that it is damaging the balance of the local ecosystem,” said Brian Skye, Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority. “We’re grateful that we are able to work with partners who share our ecological values.

HCA caps the number of deer collected at 80, but Anuja Ramgoolam, HCA project coordinator, said fewer deer were collected in the past.

The first round of hunting begins Monday and continues until Dec. 12 in the south end of the Dundas Valley, Ramgoolam told CBC Hamilton. Hunting is only permitted Monday to Thursday.

Safety, Ramgoolam said, is the first priority for HCA and the Haudenosaunee. There is proper signage up in the south valley to alert the public. Most area residents are aware and expect hunting around this time, because it has happened before, she said.

On the first day of deer hunting, Ramgoolam said not too many people were out, but it was early on a weekday.

The next scheduled deer hunt begins Jan. 7 until 17 in the north end of the Dundas Valley.