Deer and Wildlife Management

The agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the City of Hamilton affirms the treaty rights of the Haudenosaunee, and then provides that those rights will be exercised in the Valley subject to rules made by the Board for conservation and safety. As such, the Joint Stewardship Board began discussions on the hunting protocol for the Valley in November 2011. The intent of the protocol was to provide a guideline that agrees with the Haudenosaunees right to exercise the 1701 Albany Treaty, as well as respect the municipal by-laws and safety of the visitors to the Red Hill Valley. It also provides a template for other municipalities in their efforts in managing over-populations of urban wildlife.

Prior to these discussions, there was consideration given to the population of the deer in the valley. There were reports of deer being fed irregular diets from the Hamilton residence backyard, this was cause for concern to initiate a deer count to justify any hunts should any need to take place. Concerns, such as, an over-population may destroy the understory of the valley, and undermine any efforts at ecological restoration. Similarities were drawn from Dundas Valley Conservation area and Navy Island who were experiencing an over population of deer. Therefore, the Joint Stewardship Board set out to determine the population of deer, the biological and ecological context of hunting urban deer, and the safety and potential for hunting in the Valley from a Haudenosaunee perspective.

Further to these discussions, there is also other wildlife in the Valley that may need to be either hunted or protected. Most recently, the City of Hamilton has mentioned the removal of beavers from the creek by way of a Cree trapper, as they pose a problem to damming the creek and causing flooding. The valley is also home to a small population of Southern Flying Squirrels. These small animals are rare to the area, and require protection. Moreover, with the ecological restoration efforts in the Valley, there have been reports of coyote and other such animals moving back into the region. This has yet to become a problem in the Valley, however other regions are experiencing issues with an increase in non-domestic animals. A focus on educating the public on Haudenosaunee hunting would also be a key component to the success of this program.