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No More Hunting In Main Tract of Dufferin County Forest


Hunting is no longer allowed in the Main Tract of the Dufferin County Forest.

On July 8, 2021, Dufferin County Council resolved to forbid hunting in the Main Tract of the Dufferin County Forest, the principal entrance of which is on Airport Road, approximately 10 km north of Highway 89. Councillor and Mayor of Mulmur Janet Horner presented the motion, with Orangeville’s Mayor and Dufferin County Councillor Sandy Brown seconding. The reasons cited for disallowing hunting the main tract was the steady increase in year-round usage by horseback riders, cyclists, and hikers since the bylaw’s inception. Hunting is still allowed from October 1 to May 1 in the following tracts of the Dufferin County Forest: 

“I think our fear was we’d have a real pushback, I’ve had none,” shared Councillor Horner. “I’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the folks that are using the forest at this time for hiking, biking, equestrian. They feel this is the right move at this point.”

According to staff, 99 permits were distributed in 2020-2021 to hunt in Dufferin County Forest. A hunting permit is valid from October 1 to May 1 of the year issued. Data as to how many hunters were using the Main Tract was not available. That said, traffic counters in the Main Tract’s parking lot record approximately 38 cars per day from October to April, with hiking and cycling being the dominant use. Outside of the permitted hunting season, about 75 vehicles per day are counted at the Main Tract.

Dufferin County Councillors Bob Currie and Philip Rentsch did not align with Horner’s motion. Rentsch advocated for Dufferin County Forest users ‘to get along.’ Currie didn’t think that was possible and that hikers and other non-hunters should stay out of the portions of the applicable tracts of the forest during hunting season. Currie stated that he is not a hunter.

“If a person is in there hunting and a person is in there walking, they’re not getting along very well,” said Currie. “I wouldn’t want to see a hiker get shot.”

Councillor Horner responded to Rentsch, saying that the increasing number of visitors to the Main Tract of the Dufferin County Forest makes some of the currently permitted uses incompatible.

“We’re tempting fate if we think that this can continue forever without there being an accident,” warned Horner.

The Dufferin County Forest is a 1,066-hectare forested area consisting of fourteen tracts located throughout Dufferin County. This includes the Townships of Mulmur, Melancthon, Amaranth, East Garafraxa, and the Towns of Mono and Grand Valley. The Main Tract, where hunting is no longer allowed, is the most considerable portion and is located in Mulmur. The Dufferin County Forest is owned and operated by the county, with the first purchase of land being in 1930. Over time, more forested land was obtained through sale or donation. The stated functions of the forest are erosion and water control, natural heritage protection, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and supporting the rural economy through timber production and employment opportunities. 

The county website shows that the current fee for a hunting permit is $30.00 plus HST and any applicable mailing costs. The fees generated from hunters support the ongoing management of the forest, specifically the procurement of signs and advertisements to inform visitors when they can expect the number of hunters in the woods to be at its highest.

The tracts of the Dufferin County Forest where hunting is completely prohibited are

Sighting one’s firearm is not permitted in Dufferin County Forest. Furthermore, if one uses a tree stand or a blind, it must be portable, freestanding, and removed after every use. For more information on hunting in the Dufferin County Forest, check out the county’s website. Permits for holding events in the forest can also be obtained there.

County staff will ensure that adequate information and proper signage are posted informing hunters of the new change to the Main Tract of the Dufferin County Forest.

References – No More Hunting In Main Tract of Dufferin County Forest

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