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Think before you post to social media, hunters urge fellow hunters

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On social media, history sometimes repeats itself.

Hunter shoots animal, hunter posts photo, photo sparks public outcry, post goes viral. 

The rest of the hunting community, meanwhile, does a collective facepalm.

The worst thing a hunter can do is to turn a non-hunter into an anti-hunter by giving them the wrong impression of hunting, writes Mark Hall on his blog, Hunter Conservationist. 

The « wrong impression » being that all hunters care about is killing and possessing trophies that feed their egos, which of course isn’t true, he says. 

« Hunters are losing control of the hunting narrative, and the way social media is being used is contributing to our demise, » says Hall. 

Speaking by phone, Hall, explains that the challenge with posting a single photo online is that it allows viewers to draw their own conclusions about the scenario, as well as the hunter’s motives and character. The public also can’t tell from one photo if the meat was used or not. 

Hall says hunters, and especially those in the public spotlight, need to realize that what they share will either enhance or hurt the reputation of other hunters.

Tim Brent faced a backlash on social media after he posted this photo on his Twitter page on Sept 10. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Twitter @Brenter37)

He says Tim Brent, the former professional hockey player who posted a picture of a grizzly he shot in the Yukon online, had to have known his post was going to « blow up like a volcano, » because of the public’s divided feelings about bear hunting (bear is the only animal in the Yukon for which harvesting the meat is not a requirement) and Brent’s online reach. 

Brent has tens of thousands of social media followers and was hunting with his father-in-law, Jim Shockey, a TV hunting star. His posts were destined to reach a large audience.

Brent’s hunt was legal, as far as we know. That’s not the problem. The problem is the damage some hunting photos — particularly those featuring a dead animal front and centre — can do to the public’s perception of hunting.  

Hunters facing an ‘image issue’

« We [hunters] have an image issue right now, there’s no hiding that fact, » said Adam Janke, ​editor of Journal of Mountain Hunting.

« Like anything else on social media, the worst gets the most attention, as opposed to the best examples. »

Janke says it’s important for the hunting community to understand that hunting is misunderstood by the general public and that it’s hard for social media to convey all the planning and effort that goes into it. 

« What goes into putting a deer, a moose, an elk, a whatever in your freezer for food for your family, is incredibly complex.

« Social media is a very challenging medium for us to engage … with the wider community on. We need to be very, very careful and intentional about what we post and what are in those posts. » 

A hunter scans the Yukon’s Donjek Valley during a late-season sheep hunt. The temperature dipped to -20 C, says Sydney van Loon. (Sydney van Loon)

Janke doesn’t think hunters have to stop posting images with the animals they have harvested (these are sometimes referred to as « trophy shots »).

Janke suggests, instead, widening the scope. 

« I think we must, must stop showing only those images, » he said. « And there’s a big difference there. »

Too many ‘macho-man’ photos

Janke and Hall say there is a movement in the hunting community to show the bigger picture of hunting: activities that take place in the days and weeks leading up to the moment when an animal is taken. 

Tell a story, says Hall. Show people gear preparation and scenery shots. 

« If you are a non-hunter, you’re seeing hunting in its larger context and you can potentially have a different appreciation for the individuals in the photos or what actually took place. »

Hunters use a spotting scope to identify legal rams. In the Yukon, rams must have full-curl horns to be legally hunted. (Sydney van Loon)

When it comes to taking that final photo of the hunter and the animal, ethical hunters are guided by one of the main tenets of hunting: showing respect to the animal. Of course, that can mean different things to different people.

For some, it means not taking a photo of the harvested animal. For others, it means doing it in a dignified way. 

Larry Leigh doesn’t post hunting photos to social media but, as a retired hunter education coordinator for the government of Yukon, he knows how it should be done. He says hunters should take the time to position the animal in a natural position and wipe away any blood. 

‘For every trophy shot [posted online], we probably have 50 landscapes,’ says Karl Blattmann, right. (Instagram/@gregmchaleswildyukon)

He says the photos or video should be devoid of any « high fives » or whooping.

« It’s an exciting moment but it’s also a moment of reverence because an animal has just died, » Leigh said.

« There are too many macho man photos out there and those are the ones that get us all in trouble. » 

Some photos ‘make you happy’

Robby Dick, a 27-year-old hunter in Ross River, Yukon, says he doesn’t post that much to social media, but draws inspiration from others who do. He gives the example of a post he saw from man who was on a solo hunt in the Northwest Territories. 

« The way he talked about his struggles and how he overcame getting his first moose after two years of hunting… It makes you happy. When people share stories like that, it’s great. »

‘We think it’s important for hunters to take pride in their hunt,’ says Roxanne Stasyszyn, with Yukon’s Department of Environment. If you were respectful to the animal, that will come across in a photo, hopefully.’ The department used this photo in its 2016 Hunting Regulations Summary booklet. (Yukon Environment)

Other people enjoy seeing young people in images, out hunting with their parents. 

« It shows its a hand-me-down thing, a traditional thing throughout our history. I think that that can show a great deal of respect, » said Larry Leigh. 

He says it’s also a good idea to show how the meat is being used. 

« Making it obvious in a photo or video section that the meat is the precious part of the whole thing. » 

After the animal is shot, it’s field dressed and the meat is packed out. It’s illegal to waste meat in the Yukon. Bear is the exception to that rule. (Instagram/@gregmchaleswildyukon)

Come over for a roast

After an animal is shot, all edible meat is harvested. A bison, such as pictured here, can yield 240 kilograms worth of meat. (Sydney van Loon)

Roxanne Stasyszyn, who speaks for Yukon’s Department of Environment, says social media is a hot topic in its Hunter Education and Ethics Development courses, which are a requirement for any aspiring hunter in the territory born after 1987. 

She says it’s understandable for hunters to want to share their experiences and be proud of their hunting success. But she says they are reminded to consider their audience. 

« Take into consideration the varying value of the individuals viewing their images. »

That’s something Adam Janke implores of hunters.

« Ask yourself: Is what I want to post or about to post going to be a net-positive for our entire community, or not? »

He says hunters who disregard that risk hurting the image of all hunters. 

Sydney van Loon, a Yukon hunter, says she is very conscious about what she posts to social media and how it will be received.

« How can I show that I’m am ethical hunter and that I appreciate the animal and that I value the animal, » she considers. 

Van Loon posts a variety of hunting photos on social media including trophy shots, or « tribute » shots, as she call them. 

She says she sometimes gets negative reactions from people in her social circle, but they usually have a change of heart. 

« When they come over to my house for a roast dinner … they get why I do it. »

Some of the meat harvested from a male sheep. (Sydney van Loon)

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‘Business as usual’ for Dorel Industries after terminating go-private deal

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MONTREAL — Dorel Industries Inc. says it will continue to pursue its business strategy going forward after terminating an agreement to go private after discussions with shareholders.

« Moving ahead. Business as usual, » a spokesman for the company said in an email on Monday.

A group led by Cerberus Capital Management had previously agreed to buy outstanding shares of Dorel for $16 apiece, except for shares owned by the family that controls the company’s multiple-voting shares.

But Dorel chief executive Martin Schwartz said the Montreal-based maker of car seats, strollers, bicycles and home furniture pulled the plug on a deal on the eve of Tuesday’s special meeting after reviewing votes from shareholders.

“Independent shareholders have clearly expressed their confidence in Dorel’s future and the greater potential for Dorel as a public entity, » he said in a news release.

Dorel’s board of directors, with Martin Schwartz, Alan Schwartz, Jeffrey Schwartz and Jeff Segel recused, unanimously approved the deal’s termination upon the recommendation of a special committee.

The transaction required approval by two-thirds of the votes cast, and more than 50 per cent of the votes cast by non-family shareholders.

Schwartz said enhancing shareholder value remains a top priority while it stays focused on growing its brands, which include Schwinn and Mongoose bikes, Safety 1st-brand car seats and DHP Furniture.

Dorel said the move to end the go-private deal was mutual, despite the funds’ increased purchase price offer earlier this year.

It said there is no break fee applicable in this case.

Montreal-based investment firm Letko, Brosseau & Associates Inc. and San Diego’s Brandes Investment Partners LP, which together control more than 19 per cent of Dorel’s outstanding class B subordinate shares voiced their opposition to the amended offer, which was increased from the initial Nov. 2 offer of $14.50 per share.

« We believe that several minority shareholders shared our opinion, » said Letko vice-president Stephane Lebrun, during a phone interview.

« We are confident of the long-term potential of the company and we have confidence in the managers in place.”

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Anglais

Pandemic funds helping Montreal businesses build for a better tomorrow

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Many entrepreneurs have had to tap into government loans during the pandemic, at first just to survive, but now some are using the money to better prepare their businesses for the post-COVID future.

One of those businesses is Del Friscos, a popular family restaurant in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that, like many Montreal-area restaurants, has had to adapt from a sit-down establishment to one that takes orders online for takeout or delivery.

“It was hard going from totally in-house seating,” said Del Friscos co-owner Terry Konstas. “We didn’t have an in-house delivery system, which we quickly added. There were so many of our employees that were laid off that wanted to work so we adapted to a delivery system and added platforms like Uber and DoorDash.”

Helping them through the transition were emergency grants and low-interest loans from the federal and provincial governments, some of which are directly administered by PME MTL, a non-profit business-development organization established to assist the island’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Konstas said he had never even heard of PME MTL until a customer told him about them and when he got in touch, he discovered there were many government programs available to help his business get through the downturn and build for the future. “They’ve been very helpful right from day one,” said Konstas.

“We used some of the funds to catch up on our suppliers and our rents, the part that wasn’t covered from the federal side, and we used some of it for our new virtual concepts,” he said, referring to a virtual kitchen model which the restaurant has since adopted.

The virtual kitchen lets them create completely different menu items from the casual American Italian dishes that Del Friscos is known for and market them under different restaurant brand names. Under the Prasinó Soup & Salad banner, they sell healthy Greek options and their Stallone’s Sub Shop brand offers hearty sandwiches, yet the food from both is created in the same Del Friscos kitchen.

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Anglais

Downtown Montreal office, retail vacancies continue to rise

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Some of downtown Montreal’s key economic indicators are heading in the wrong direction.

Office and retail vacancies in the city’s central core continued to climb in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a quarterly report released Thursday by the Urban Development Institute of Quebec and the Montréal Centre-Ville merchants association. The report, whose first edition was published in October, aims to paint a socio-economic picture of the downtown area.

The survey also found office space available for sublet had increased during the fourth quarter, which may foreshadow even more vacancies when leases expire. On the residential front, condo sales fell as new listings soared — a sign that the downtown area may be losing some of its appeal to homeowners.

“It’s impossible not to be preoccupied by the rapid increase in office vacancies,” Jean-Marc Fournier, the former Quebec politician who now heads the UDI, said Thursday in an interview.

Still, with COVID-19 vaccinations set to accelerate in the coming months, “the economic picture is bound to improve,” he said. “People will start returning downtown. It’s much too early to say the office market is going to disappear.”

Public health measures implemented since the start of the pandemic almost a year ago — such as caps on office capacity — have deprived downtown Montreal of more than 500,000 workers and students. A mere 4,163 university and CEGEP students attended in-person classes in the second quarter, the most recent period for which figures are available. Border closures and travel restrictions have also brought tourism to a standstill, hurting hotels and thousands of local businesses.

Seventy per cent of downtown workers carried out their professional activities at home more than three days a week during the fourth quarter, the report said, citing an online survey of 1,000 Montreal-area residents conducted last month.

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