Under the professional guidance of our incredible Executive Committee and with the support of our Affiliates and Members, the MWF staff worked hard to navigate through another year representing the interests of hunters, anglers, trappers, sport shooters, and conservationists. 2022 granted the Federation with an extensive list of achievements, as well with unexpected battles (that although felt daunting), proved the value of our provincial voice and our strength in numbers. After 2 years of restrictions, we were happy to re-instate in-person training programs, reconnect with many supporters at the Wild at Heart fundraising event, and attend many partner meetings, conferences, and tradeshows. We would like to take this time to reflect on highlights and significant accomplishments made over the last 12 months. On behalf of our staff and Executive Committee, thank you all for your ongoing support and loyalties, we look forward to 2023 and continuing to build a stronger Federation.
OPERATIONS, FUNDRAISING, AND STAFF CHANGES
- Elizabeth Krotowich retired from the Office Manager position. We hired Lynda McKerchar as the new Office Manager.
- Overall membership was up by 4.9% since 2021.
- Staff and our Executive Committee participated in consultations with Story Point Consulting company to review potential membership campaign ideas.
- Clubs continued to enroll in the online club membership sales option. Further improvements to the system will be launched in 2023.
- The Catch the Ace online fundraising initiative concluded in March with a huge cash prize awarded to a MWF member in Brandon, MB.
- Held the most successful Wild at Heart Banquet to date on October 29th, raising over $89,000.
- The 2022 MWF AGM was held on May 1st virtually, followed by a first ever MWF Pint Night at Torque Brewing. Members congregated for live music, storytelling, and long overdue camaraderie.
- MWF continued with communications to our membership with weekly E-newsletters, an updated website, correlated magazine content, and a focus on our social media platforms.
PROGRAMS AND OUTREACH
- Held a successful Becoming an Outdoors-Woman event with instructors delivering 45 outdoor workshops to 60 participants at the Circle Square Ranch in Austin, MB.
- Partnered with Fort Whyte Alive and Cabela’s on a huge winter fishing festival at Fort Whyte Alive, that pulled in over 1200 new anglers.
- MWF also partnered with Fort Whyte Alive’s outdoor program called The Great Escape, whereMWF staff taught casting and fishing basics to new anglers.
- MWF Managing Director Carly Deacon was guest on Complete Angler podcast with Don Lamont.
- Received a donation of 60 fishing rods from Cabela’s to use in MWF’s angling recruitment programs and to distribute to clubs running angling programs.
- Partnered with the Manitoba Fly Fishers Associations on multiple Learn to Fly Fish Clinics.
- MWF partnered with the Manitoba Metis Federation to run Hunter Education Courses and angling programs.
- Launched a new video series “Learn to Fish” and delivered an event on the Red River.
- Coordinated the Recreational Fishing League with various Affiliates.
- Staff partnered with northern groups to support the Warrior Caregiver Program; the program offered a wild game cooking class that supported men’s mental health in Northern Manitoba.
- MWF staff was invited to Churchill (all expenses paid) to deliver a Hunter Education Course and to train local instructors to deliver Hunter Education and Mentored Hunts.
- Delivered a mentored Women’s Hunt for 10 new hunters with Team Lady Fowlers.
- Partnered with Delta Waterfowl on virtual workshops as well as a youth hunt.
- Partnered with St. Hubertus Game and Fish to pull off a successful 1st Shot event to train new shooters in shotgunning and rifle shooting.
- Hosted a corporate Shotgunning 101 training day with over 20 professionals from IT companies at the Selkirk Game and Fish Range.
- Managing Director, Carly Deacon participated on the Advancing Women in Conservation Summit steering committee and attended the conference in Saskatoon, SK.
- Hosted virtual presentations for the membership with staff from the Wildlife Branch, the Fisheries Branch, and the Conservation Officer Service.
- Hosted numerous virtual seminars and created educational videos throughout the year to better engage with our members and supporters and educate them on hunting/fishing and outdoor related activities/topics.
- Participated in and gave stage presentations at the Manitoba Outdoors show at the Assiniboine Downs.
- Partnered with the Arborg Rod and Gun Club at the Interlake Outdoors show in Arborg, MB.
- Participated in the annual Ice Fishing Show held at the Assiniboine Downs.
- Participated on the virtual Southwest Regional Meeting with the Brandon Wildlife Association.
- Hosted Hunting Film “Forging Friendships” virtual tour.
FISHERIES, WILDLIFE AND ENFORCEMENT MANAGEMENT/ADVOCACY
- Established the MWF Natural Resources legal defense fund in response to the Peguis First Nations court challenge against the government on the ban on the extremely dangerous practice of night lighting.
- MWF retained legal counsel and applied for intervenor status in the Peguis vs Province court proceedings.
- Executed a survey to our membership on their experiences with night lighting incidences.
- MWF wrote the province objecting to the MKO’s request to ban licensed hunting in Northern Manitoba.
- Partnered with RM’s around Lake Winnipeg to improve access for ice anglers.
- Manitoba experienced a large Avian Influenza outbreak, MWF had communications with both the Federal and Provincial government, and kept membership informed as details became available.
- As part of our advocacy efforts, the province announced 2.5 million in support of sustainability and eco-certification of Manitoba fisheries.
- MWF advocated for and was pleased to see the province create the new Department of Natural Resources and Northern Development, this brought Fish, Wildlife and Enforcement under one department and gave us a dedicated cabinet Minister.
- Government reviewed fishing regulations after years of advocating and launched the new provincial Recreational Angling Strategy that will begin for the spring 2023 fishing season.
- Province also filled over a dozen vacancies and new positions within the Fish and Wildlife Departments due to our consistent communications with government on the importance of building this team.
- MWF raised concerns with the province on their intent to sell off crown lands. The province did not continue with that direction of action.
- MWF received a FWEF grant to improve fisheries management through an Angling Assessment and Education project where we completed the first year with a comprehensive creel survey of Lake Winnipeg.
- Continued with development of a pilot project with government and other user groups on a cooperative management plan for Wildlife Management Areas. We received grant funding from the Conservation Trust Fund and Fish and Wildlife Enhancement Fund. We were pleased to see WMAs were renamed after prominent conservation driven Manitobans.
- MWF continued to advocate for the modernization of big game surveys and were pleased to see the first infrared equipped aircraft used. We also were pleased to see drones used in a big game survey pilot project (funded by FWEF).
- We have continued to advocate for a shared management approach for moose populations in closure areas on the East and West side of the province. 2022 was successful as for the first time, Government and First Nations cooperated on a limited harvest set out by game managers.
- Chronic Wasting Disease was discovered in Manitoba. MWF brought in CWD experts to speak to our membership and constantly communicated with provincial staff and outside experts. We consulted with provincial staff and CWD experts during the provinces staff led sampling program and supported government’s decision and approaches to get ahead of the spread. So far to date all CWD cases have been limited to Mule deer bucks only. We also co-operated with the province on the implementation of a new mule deer season to assist with stopping the spread of CWD.
- Zebra Mussels were detected in Lake Manitoba. MWF received grant money to develop a video series on how to thoroughly clean your watercraft, fishing, and hunting equipment. Production will begin in 2023.
- Government heard our concerns regarding communication and enforcement, which was dramatically increased to curtail poaching activities. The province again provided Conservation Officers with 300k of dedicated funding for Night Lighting Enforcement.
- Government signed a 3-year contract to ensure continued aerial surveillance with thermal imaging. The increased aerial surveillance work paired with on the ground enforcement and K9 support has been incredibly effective for officers. This coupled with regular press releases listing infractions had a major impact in decreasing the number of instances of poaching in the province.
- Conservation Officers for the first time in close to a decade, began regular patrols on Lake Winnipeg and Lake Manitoba checking commercial fishers for compliance.
- MWF membership continued to provide tips of illegal activities that staff passed along to enforcement, and that led to high-profile charges laid.
- MWF Staff Carly Deacon and Chris Heald were invited and attended the provinces fall throne speech.
- The Federal Liberal Government launched changes to firearm legislation (Bill C-21) which outraged many Federation members. The MWF wrote numerous letters to government officials, provided form letters to our membership to send to their MPs and MLAs, distributed a survey to the membership about their views around the legislation, encouraged members to join other national firearms organizations, and we distributed online petitions to our membership. MWF was a key stakeholder on the Provincial Advisory Committee established by the province to review the Federal government’s new legislation. The committee sent forth recommendations to the province for their consideration.
- MWF advocated for the province too support licensed firearm owners in opposition to C-21 and to follow the lead of Alberta and Saskatchewan and stand united against this unjust attack from the federal government.
- MWF staff and board met with the Leader of Opposition, Honorable Pierre Poilievre, to discuss C-21 in detail and the effects it will have on our members outdoor traditions and lifestyles.
There never seems to be a dull day at the Federation. The protection of our lifestyle and Manitoba’s fish and wildlife resources is ongoing, with what seems like a new battle, or need for improved management daily. It is important to pause at the end of each year to review the list of achievements and celebrate our wins. MWF’s strongest assets for policy change and advocacy is the power of our membership. The power of 15,000 people standing behind a resource, advocating for its protection and its sustainability. MWF is honored to represent our membership and fight to see positive regulation changes, favorable hunting/fishing opportunities and good management plans for the protection and sustainability of fish and wildlife. We thank you again for your continued support and encourage you to renew your membership or sign up as a new member with your local club or as a MWF supporting member.
Here is to another year of success and growth within our clubs and membership. Wishing you all the health, happiness, and many memorable days afield in 2023.