The Current

Manitoba wildlife group raises concerns over night hunting of big game

Night hunting is supposed to end fatally for animals. But it's not supposed to kill livestock — and especially not people. In Manitoba, there are concerns hunting at night is becoming too dangerous.
President of the Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand says Metis and Indigenous hunters are being unfairly blamed in the night hunting debate. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Read story transcript

The Manitoba Wildlife Federation is raising alarms about night hunting saying farmers and rural property owners in the province have seen an increase in spotlighting in recent years which has led to a spike in accidental shootings of cattle and even people. 

Spotlighting is a hunting tool used in night hunting. The use of a powerful artificial light  stops animals such as moose, elk or deer cold in their tracks — is a practice banned in many parts of Canada, including N.L., B.C, Alta., Sask. and Man. 

Rob Olson, the federation's managing director tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that even though the practice has been banned for some time, he has some great concerns since "it seems to be getting worse."

"About three years ago we started getting phone calls from farmers, cattle producers from many parts of Manitoba saying that they hadn't seen the intensity that they were seeing," says Olson.

People just kind of couldn't take it anymore, living in a kind of a constant state of fear.- Manitoba Wildlife Federation's Rob Olson on night hunting

He says this week he's received five phone calls from different parts of Manitoba and tells Tremonti the"stories are constant."

"It just started getting to a point where people just kind of couldn't take it anymore, living in a kind of a constant state of fear, hearing shots around the farmhouse," says Olsen.

"I think it's dire out there."

Olson says that night hunting accidents have taken the lives of people and says the discussion has to include improving safety when it comes to hunting.

"You got to respect Indigenous rights. There has to be a conversation here. And what we're talking about is defining where does it not make sense. And I think that's Agro-Manitoba."

Olson adds where night hunting could make sense from a First Nations or Metis perspective is in remote areas.

''There seems to be a portrayal that Indigenous people are the bad guys."- Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand

President of the Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand tells Tremonti it's unfortunate listening to the conversation with Olson that "there seems to be a portrayal that Indigenous people are the bad guys and doing all these things."

Chartrand says Metis in the province have all kinds of stipulations to follow to ensure conservation, safety, enforced harvesting laws and "support it very strongly."

"We've always been very proactive when it comes to conservation and safety and protection," Chartrand tells Tremonti. "But somehow it's being portrayed that we're the ones out there doing all this killing, all the shooting and I hope that's going to end."

"If you have facts bring them to the table . If you don't have facts, don't inspire that Indigenous people doing this."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this web post.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Karin Marley.