Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue officials believe someone is illegally luring and killing deer in L’Anse à l'Orme Nature Park.
“Someone has been putting bales of hay close to the road to attract the deer, then supposedly shooting them with a bow and arrow or some other weapon and then taking them away,” Paola Hawa, mayor of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue, told CBC's Daybreak.
According to the mayor, the issue came to light after a witness reported an encounter with hunters, who claimed they were culling the deer population on behalf of Quebec’s ministry of natural resources and wildlife.
However, the ministry says it is unaware of any special permits issued to anyone to hunt deer because of an overpopulation problem at L'Anse à L'Orme Nature Park.
It says hunting season in Quebec is in the fall and people need specific permits to hunt deer.
Ste-Anne-de Bellevue city council tabled a motion on Monday to amend a nuisance bylaw that prohibits any trapping activities, except those carried out by the city.
Hawa says that fine amount is outdated at $100 for first offence, and $1000 for the second.
She says she will move to change the amount at next council meeting.
“It’s a strange situation to have on the island of Montreal because you wouldn’t expect hunting on the island, but obviously some people think they can do what they wish,” said Hawa.
Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue's deer population stood at about 55 the last time an aerial survey was conducted several years ago, according to Hawa.
She said poaching is a difficult issue to tackle because, when weapons are involved, Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue city hall doesn't have the authority to prosecute.
Montreal police, Hawa said, are aware of the situation.
“There’s not much we can do besides asking residents to keep their eyes open and call the police if they do witness any of it,” said Hawa.