A message from OFAH Executive Director, Angelo Lombardo
As you may know by now, Chesher’s Outdoor Store in Belleville has been the subject of unwarranted social media attacks, vandalism, and threats because of a coyote hunting contest they are hosting.
This represents just the latest round of attacks that the hunting community has endured. After years of hearing these anti-hunting, anti-fur, anti-fishing, and anti-use sentiments devolve into hate-filled rhetoric, personal attacks, and threats of violence, we are no longer surprised by them anymore.
What we are surprised by, however, is that these threats and actions continue to receive little in the way of public criticism.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a patron of Chesher’s. It doesn’t matter whether you participate in hunting contests or whether you’re even a coyote hunter. Or a hunter in general. None of those things matter.
What does matter is that we must stand strongly together as a community of respectful anglers and hunters. These threats and acts are not acceptable under any circumstances.
The OFAH won’t stand for it.
This is why we pushed for laws that now protect anglers and hunters from harassment and interruptions by people who simply just don’t like what we do. This is why we pushed for the Province to create a Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act that now offers protection in legislation to hunting and fishing. And this is why the OFAH continues to promote National Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Heritage Day, while investing heavily in educational programs to help people understand the environmental role of our outdoor pastimes.
Coyote hunting is a legal activity in Ontario. If there was a program or contest that in any way compromised fish and wildlife conservation laws, anglers and hunters would have been the first to address it.
The OFAH will always wholeheartedly denounce actions like these from opponents of fishing, hunting, and trapping, and we will continue to fully and respectfully defend our fishing and hunting heritage against them. We will draw public attention to this growing and harmful trend in the social media world and we will continue to do everything we can to keep our community strong. I have personally reached out to Chesher’s to offer our support, and we are working to provide a reward through Crime Stoppers to help bring some justice to this unfortunate act of vandalism.
For more on this, please take a moment to read an article by OFAH Resources Management Specialist, Lauren Tonelli on The Truth About Coyote Hunting In Ontario.
Thank you for reading and for standing with us.
Yours in conservation,
OFAH Executive Director