Charette defends white-tailed deer crossbow hunting in Montérégie

Charette defends white-tailed deer crossbow hunting in Montérégie

Charette defends white-tailed deer crossbow hunting in Mont&érégie

Alexandre Shields Le Devoir Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville is one of the least 250 white-tailed deer too many, according to the most recent data available.

Quebec defends its right to open a period of crossbow hunting of white-tailed deer to control overpopulation in the national parks of Montérégie. “We are not breaking any rules,” Environment Minister Benoit Charette told lawyer Anne-France Goldwater on Thursday.

Wednesday, Me Goldwater, who is currently challenging the decision of the City of Longueuil to kill 100 white-tailed deer with crossbows in Michel-Chartrand Park, had strongly denounced the government's intention to authorize an operation of the same kind in certain national parks.

“I can only regret — and really regret — that the minister made such a decision when we are all in a courtroom,” she said, adding that “it's like making fun of the judicial process”.

Asked about this at the end of question period on Thursday, Minister Charette recalled that a draft regulation must be tabled before an operation is set in motion. So far, the elected caquist has only leaked some information about his intentions, for example that the slaughter will “probably” only be done with a crossbow.

“It's a parliamentary committee, so, no, there is no violation of the rules, “he said when questioned about Mr. Goldwater's remarks.

Judicial saga

Last year, the City of Longueuil requested authorization from the Department of Wildlife and Parks to kill a hundred white-tailed deer that had gathered in Michel-Chartrand Park, in the heart of the municipality. After obtaining the green light from Quebec, the City saw its killing operation be halted by the Court of Appeal, pending the Superior Court of Quebec to assess its validity. It is in this cause that Mr. Goldwater pleads.

However, in various sectors of the Montérégie, white-tailed deer are accumulating. In Boucherville, for example, you can observe these beasts even in the streets. Like Longueuil, it prohibits the feeding of deer on its territory, but has no power over the national parks located in the vicinity.

The Government of Quebec has known for some years now that the national park des Îles-de-Boucherville and that of Mont-Saint-Bruno are struggling with an overpopulation of white-tailed deer. According to data provided to Devoir by the Society of Outdoor Establishments of Quebec, based on an inventory conducted in 2021, there are, for example, more than 300 deer in Parc national des Îles.

This means that the density is 30 animals per square kilometer, six times the number that this ecosystem could support. To reduce this growing herd to a viable level, and thus protect the vegetation and other species of this national park, it would be necessary to eliminate 250 deer.

“Well-being of the animals

According to Benoit Charette, this “obvious” overpopulation puts the health of the herd at risk. “I know that some people may be moved by the fate of the deer, but I say to these people that they are beasts that are suffering right now. They are too numerous in a given territory. They can end up starving for food,” he said.

“So it's just for the welfare of those species,” he added.

On Wednesday, the elected official of Deux-Montagnes said that his draft regulations would be tabled “in the coming weeks”. Meat from the hunt will be donated to community organizations, he said Thursday.

With Alexandre Shields