Author Archives: Dan Slater

Conservation Officers Encourage Safe Wild Turkey Hunting

Posted on April 23, 2014.

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all of Ontario’s wild turkey hunters a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt. The 2014 spring wild turkey season in most of Ontario opens on April 25th and is a result of the reintroduction of wild turkeys to Ontario in the late 1980’s. The subsequent growth of turkey populations allowed for a limited hunt that has expanded over the years as the number of birds continues to grow.

The spring wild turkey hunt has become very popular over the years, so does the potential for abuse of both the resource and the private land upon which most hunting takes place. Fortunately, a combination of mandatory turkey hunter education program, responsible hunters, and active enforcement efforts by Conservation Officers (CO’s) has resulted in many seasons of safe hunts.

“Even though the vast majority of hunters obey the law, CO’s continue to find a small percentage of individuals who disregard the regulations while turkey hunting”, says OCOA President Joe McCambridge, himself a field CO in Pembroke and active turkey hunter. “We will continue to actively enforce the law and ensure that the sport of turkey hunting continues to be a safe sport”, adds McCambridge.

Hunters are reminded that permission is required to hunt on private land, where most turkey hunting occurs.  It is illegal in most of southern Ontario to hunt on or from public road right of ways between tracts of private land. In addition, it is illegal to hunt turkeys within 400 metres of where bait has been deposited.

“Conservation Officers will always investigate reports of trespassing and road hunting, and we encourage responsible hunters to report illegal hunting immediately. This will help keep both hunters and members of the public safe during the hunt”, said McCambridge.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related violation is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources violation reporting line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667), contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.

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Joe McCambridge, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 732-2242
jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

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Conservation Officers Treat York Region Kids To Wilderness Adventure

Posted on September 12, 2013.

For 18 kids from across York region, it was a chance to escape from the city life and experience nature first hand. For a group of 13 OCOA members, it was chance to give back to the community and teach kids how to fish.

For the 7th year, the OCOA organized the Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure, which sees youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada sent on an all-expenses paid trip to a wilderness camp, where they spend 4 days fishing, exploring, learning – and just being kids. This year from August 24 – 27, the kids were hosted at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre north of Kingston, which was provided free of charge by Queen’s University and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

Greyhound Canada and the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU) Local 310 in Newmarket provided free round trip transportation. While at the camp, Linda Bates of A Phone Call Away Personal Services, supported by generous donations from Resource Integrated Ltd. and The Orillia Fish and Game Conservation Club, ensured that the kids had all the hearty camp food needed to keep their energy levels up as they tried to catch the big one.

“My parents say we don’t have enough money to go on these trips”, said one kid – but the following sponsors ensured that not only could the kids go on the trip, they returned home with enough free fishing and camping equipment to create their own adventures closer to home:

OPSEU Region 6 and Locals 224, 232, 310,313, 319, 362, 434, 447, Safari Club International, Bass Pro Shops, SAIL, McDonald’s Restaurant in Kingston, Guardian Windows and Doors – Sudbury, Fishergirl Inc., Wal-Mart Kingston, David Chung, X-Zone Lures, Culligan Water – Kingston, Atkinson Home Building Centres, Asselstine Hardware, Trousdale Home Hardware, The Watson Family, Don Bates, Doug and Karen Young, Sand Hill Farm Produce, Clarence Young, Loblaws – Kingston, Reids Foodland – Verona, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ministry of Natural Resources Enforcement Branch.

This year’s event was held in honour of Kirk Silver, an active OCOA member who passed away suddenly in April of this year. At his family’s request, donations from his memorial service were used to help fund the event.

“It was an honour to recognize Kirk in this way”, says OCOA President Joe McCambridge, who helped organize and participated as a fishing guide on the trip. “Supporting and promoting children’s education with regard to Ontario’s natural resources is one of the objectives of the OCOA, and a part of our mandate that Kirk strongly supported.”

While at the camp – and in between spectacular catch and release bass fishing trips – the kids were taught canoeing skills, learned about Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) forest fire fighting, went on a nature hike guided by NCC staff, and got to see MNR’s canine units in action.

“Putting smiles on kids’ faces is what this trip is all about”, adds McCambridge, “And our members are always willing to contribute their time to make this trip such a success.”

For more information on the OCOA and our activities, visit www.ocoa.ca – or contact your local Conservation Officer.

For more information contact:
Joe McCambridge
President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 732-2242
jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

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2013 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on August 20, 2013.

Aurora – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Dan VanExan has been selected as the 2013 Conservation Officer of the Year. Dan currently works for Peterborough Enforcement Unit and is based out of Belleville.

Dan was presented the OCOA award Saturday night at the annual OCOA banquet. “Dan has been a Conservation Officer almost 30 years and has had many great accomplishments during his career. He has been very involved in training Conservation Officers and has always considered teaching new and seasoned officers one of the most satisfying things he does every year” said OCOA President Joe McCambridge.

Dan VanExan has worked around the Province and some of his career highlights include:

  • A member of the Initial Use of Force Instructors group in 1986 that assisted with the development of the Use of Force training within the Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • Spent 2 weeks as part of an undercover operation investigating the commercialization of wildlife and night hunting.
  • Actively involved with the Ontario Conservation Officers Association since 1982 and Dan is the only person to hold the President position in two separate terms in the Association’s history.
  • Active member within his community holding positions on school councils, and different councils within his church.

While accepting the award Dan indicated “I have been fortunate throughout my career to work with many experienced officers and my involvement with the training program is something I always considered very gratifying. I always wanted to make sure that officers got home at the end of their shift and hope that some of the training we have provided over the years helped to ensure that”.

On Friday Dan was also presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Officer of the Year award by Lois Deacon, Director MNR Enforcement Branch and Assistant Deputy Minister, Provincial Services Division Tracey Mill. Lois Deacon said, “over the years Dan has been a great influence over both new officers and seasoned and experienced officers through the training program”.

There were three other officers that were nominated for the 2013 Conservation Officer of the Year award:  Matt Brooks from Kenora, Mitch Phinney from Aurora and Bruce Tomlinson from Sault Ste. Marie. Officers are nominated for the award by their peers. The selection is done by a committee that consists of representatives of the OCOA and staff from MNR’s Enforcement Branch.

In addition, Dan also received the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award and the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (part of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies) Officer of the Year Award.

For further information visit www.ocoa.ca or contact:

Joe McCambridge, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 732-2242
jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

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OCOA To Provide York Region Kids With Trip of a Lifetime

Posted on August 19, 2013.

On the morning of Saturday, August 24, twenty youth from the York Region Boys and Girls Club will be climbing onto a Greyhound bus for 4 days of fishing, canoeing, nature hikes, campfires, and more – and it’s all being provided to them free of charge!

For the seventh consecutive year, the Ontario Conservation Officers Association – with the support of numerous partners – is organizing the Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure. This year kids from the York Region Boys and Girls Club will get probably their first experience enjoying the great outdoors in Ontario. This year’s event will be at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) camp at Elbow Lake north of Kingston. Members of the Ontario Conservation Officers Association will provide an opportunity to these young people to enjoy fishing and spending time at a summer camp.

“This event is often the highlight of the summer for these kids”, say OCOA President Joe McCambridge. “Over the past six years this has also been a highlight for our members, who are thrilled to be able to introduce kids from an urban environment to the wonders of the great outdoors.”

While at the camp, the children will be guided by OCOA members as they fish for bass and crappie. In between fishing trips, they will experience demonstrations by a Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) forest fire fighting crew (guaranteed to result in an epic water fight!), the MNR canine unit, instruction in canoeing by certified instructors, a nature hike guided by NCC staff, and much more.

Thanks to the amazing support of our sponsors, each child will receive all the equipment needed to fully enjoy the trip: sleeping bag, rain suit, fishing rod and reel, a fully stocked tackle box – and all of this goes home with them at the end of the trip!

The OCOA is a non-profit Association of active and retired Ontario Conservation Officers and other natural resources law enforcement officers who are dedicated to supporting and promoting children’s education with regard to Ontario’s natural resources.

For more information about the OCOA or this Adventure, or to get involved, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca.

For more information contact:
Joe McCambridge
President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(613) 732-2242
jmccambridge@ocoa.ca

 

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