The Hats for Hides program will see major changes this year as a private company takes over its management due to Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) funding cuts.
BRT Provisioners, a division of the BRT Group of companies and long-time partner in the program, has agreed to administer and operate the program for the 2013 fall season.
BRT will purchase the hats and crests and supply them to the depots, and determine if the program can remain viable in the future. “We’re a natural fit to the program because it’s an industry we understand and we’ve been involved in for years,” said Barb Thompson, program coordinator for BRT.
Thompson said BRT management and staff felt it important for the program to continue. “If people don’t have somewhere to take their hides, they start throwing them in the ditches and that’s not good advertising for hunters,” she said.
“Some people are delighted they’re able to buy a hat, then you get guys who say they’ll leave [the hide] in the bush before they pay for a hat,” she continued. “The misconception is licence fees pay for the hats.”
Other changes to the program for 2013 are as follows:
- bear hides will be eliminated from the program;
- hunters will receive a crest for a deer hide less than 6 square-feet and have the option of paying a $3 fee for an orange hat or $8 for a camouflage hat;
- hunters with a large hide will receive a crest and orange hat, and have the option of upgrading to camouflage hat for $5; and
- other party members can purchase hats for $4 for orange or $10 for camouflage.
Hides collected at the Aboriginal depots are sold at powwows or turned into artisan goods. Hides collected at the other depots will be sold on the wholesale market by BRT.
In a typical year, between 10,000 to 15,000 hides go to natives and 25,000 to BRT at the 46 depots.