Hunting on Wolfe Island
Since the time of aboriginal hunting for food, Wolfe Island has been famous for its bountiful and varied species of waterfowl. Its location at the Eastern end of Lake Ontario and the start of the mighty St. Lawrence River and in the middle of the Mississippi flyway migration and staging of waterfowl makes this a waterfowl Mecca. Wolfe Island's natural terrain of bays and wetlands are unique and an agricultural base provides field feeding and habitat for waterfowl including Canada Geese.
Ducks Unlimited Canada and the local wildlife association have worked together to improve and enhance wetlands on Wolfe Island and this has increased both the local population of waterfowl and and migratory staging. This superb natural habitat attracts thousands of waterfowl both in the spring and during the fall migration. Before you reach for your hunting gear and pack the dog in the S.U.V. Wolfe Island has no public hunting areas and landowner permission must be obtained to hunt. All of the waterfowl hunting opportunities are either on leased land, by guided hunt, or written permission obtained from the landowner. Layout boat hunting was popular and traditional around the Island but recent changes in the migratory hunting act have stopped layout boat use.
Wild turkey were introduced by the Wolfe Island Wildlife Association in 1997 and in 2002 the first Wild turkey season was opened. Over the last 20 years farming practices on Wolfe Island have changed resulting in an increased number of hedgerows and large round bales in the fields affording habitats to support both wild turkey and white-tailed deer. The white-tailed deer population has prospered with the changed habitat and there are opportunities for bow hunting only. Landowner permission or land lease/rental is required for white-tail deer hunting and turkey hunting.
Rabbits, both cotton-tail and jack rabbit are present, but go through natural cycles of plentiful to rare and in 2003 the Island is currently in a rare cycle. At one time there was a large population of Hungarian partridge (red partridge) but for the last 10 years for some unknown reason that natural population has disappeared.
Wolfe Island is well known as a venue for dog trials. The fox hunting trials have resumed in the last two years and have been quite successful. There is an association of fox hunters on the Island who can be contacted for more information regarding the availability of the trials. Field dog trials and hunter retriever clubs avail themselves of the natural terrain and the wetlands to test and train their dogs in the most natural of habitat
There are commercial hunting opportunities on Wolfe Island through guiding services and Licensed Ontario Game Farms. There are also hunting lodge inns that provide pay as you hunt programs. Upland pheasant hunting and clay shooting facilities are available on the Island. To contact these facilities see advertisements in the Wolfe Island Business and Tourism brochure.
For the non-hunter this bountiful population of birds and mammals afford the bird watcher and the field naturalist golden opportunities to participate in their outdoor endeavors. Winter populations of snowy owls are famous.
Wolfe Island has an age old reputation of being gracious hosts for these outdoor activities but please remember to have landowner's permission before participating in hunting activities.
Written by Dr. George Merry. Many thanks to him for his contribution.