Mi’kmaw youth learn traditional hunting skills through deer cull in Nova Scotia

Latest annoying deer hunting in Truro, NS, saw hundreds of pounds of meat shared with those in need and provided learning opportunities for youth in the neighboring Mi’kmaw community.

The town’s second hunt saw a total of 39 animals harvested around Truro and the Millbrook First Nation through November and December, including 14 captured at the community site. Mi’kmaw coin.

Gerald Gloade, Millbrook’s director of consulting, said Truro Town approached them with the idea for them to run their own website.

“This was done in a safe and ethical manner and we were able to put about 700 pounds … of free lean meat on everyone’s table,” Gloade said.

“I know some people, they really appreciate it.”

A camouflage deer blind tent lay on the forest floor beneath a large tree, where the second blind tent was hidden by branches.
The two deer screens at the Millbrook site were used in Truro’s second city culling to manage the giraffe population in the area. (CBC)

Gloade said Millbrook’s meat is mainly distributed among the elderly and those on welfare, while Truro’s meat is donated to Feed Nova Scotia.

Gloade said young people in the area were also brought to the site to learn from the hunters and they were “excited” to participate. Gloade said hunters often leave offerings of sacred tobacco after killing a deer, and young people are taught how to dress a deer – removing the animal’s organs shortly after death – to strip. skin and butcher it.

The project has also given First Nation some inspiration around how treaty harvest rights and food security can overlap, says Gloade, which is timely as they build their strategy. Food Strategy for Millbrook.

A family of three deer cross an empty grassland.
A female deer and two fawns cross some lawns in 2020. (Paul Palmer/CBC)

“As soon as we did this, we had a lot of older people contact us and say, ‘Hey, that would be great if you could get me a rabbit,'” Gloade said with a laugh.

“I think it’s like a really good learning experience for everyone.”

Millbrook craftsmen also use all deer skin to make moccasins and drums, while researchers from the province’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy and Dalhousie University are working on it. study organs and heads for diseases or traces of COVID-19.

Truro’s chief administrative officer, Michael Dolter, said that besides controlling deer populations, one of their main goals when hunting is to benefit the community “as much as possible”.

A man in a blue jacket stands outside Truro .'s Town Hall
Michael Dolter is Truro’s chief administrative officer. (CBC)

There are eight sites used for the second culling run by the town, yielding almost double the number of deer harvested during the first hunt last February, when 14 were captured. Hunters in all locations used crossbows or bows.

The town has been working for years to find a way to deal with a population of deer that they believe has become out of control. In October 2020, 53% of residents voted in favor of controlled hunting in a referendum.

Dolter says while they don’t have an exact figure for how many deer they’re dealing with, pellets and roadside studies put the numbers in the hundreds. He said their research shows they have up to six deer per square kilometer, compared with the provincial average of three per square kilometer.

“We’ve had a lot of car accidents involving deer. We’ve had a lot of landscaping problems and we’ve had aggressive deer in people’s yards,” Dolter said. so we’re trying to solve that.” .

Signs in Truro discourage people from feeding deer. (CBC)

Truro’s next selection is scheduled to take place in October.

The people of Yarmouth were closely watching the hunt for Truro as they tackled the same issue.

A new working group is gathering research on best practices across North America to ultimately come up with their own deer management strategy.

District. Gil Dares, the group’s president, said that while Truro’s approach is being considered, they have also found evidence from another community that has had a similar harvest for 17 years – but the population has not decreased.

Dares said communities across North America are debating how to deal with urban wildlife.

“This is an issue with strong opinions on both sides and I’m just not sure how it will turn out in the end.”

Dares said it will soon launch a public survey to see what residents think is best for Yarmouth, and plan to conduct their own research to get specific numbers. about their own deer populations.


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