Former Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler wants more courtesy when the public accesses leased Crown lands this hunting season.
The province will be partnering with the beef industry on an awareness campaign, he said.
“It’s a major issue for beef producers but, as a government, that land belongs to all Manitobans, so legally I can’t stop them from going on there and neither can the leasee,” Eichler said.
Instead, Eichler says they will be putting up signage asking the public to contact their local Crown lands office and make the effort to contact the leaseholder before going onto that leased parcel.
Hunters must ask permission to hunt on private land, according to the province. Earlier this year, Manitoba Beef Producers said it would lobby the government to double down on that requirement. A resolution passed at the Manitoba Beef Producers’ annual meeting, asking the organization to lobby for written, not just verbal, permission for hunting on private land.
That informed access does not apply to publicly owned Crown land, something the beef sector has long lobbied to get changed.
Controlled access has been one of many sticking points for producers leasing Crown lands. Eichler pointed to concerns over biosecurity and the possible spread of disease brought in by visitors, while producers have also raised concerns over cattle escaping or otherwise disappearing without control or knowledge of who is on their leased land and when.
At an Oct. 15 meeting in Ste. Rose du Lac, one concerned farmer suggested that incoming rent increases should come with some guarantee of more controlled access.
Ralph Eichler was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Training on Oct. 23. Blaine Pedersen replaces Eichler as the Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development.