Ontario proposes revisions to moose management rules
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Based on the recommendations of the Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC), the Ontario government has announced proposed changes to how moose are managed in the province through a media release on August 12.
The public is being encouraged to review the proposed changes, which address moose management, tag allocation and hunting regulations, and provide their feedback by Sept. 26.
The changes would be implemented over a two-year time frame.
In 2020, the changes include new calf harvest controls along with a new bow season and quotas, which would be implemented across a variety of Wildlife Management Units in the province.
In 2021, changes include implementing a new point-based moose tag allocation approach, which would allocate tags to hunters based on the number of “preference points” a hunter has accumulated. Hunters applying for tags would gain a point for each year they have applied and been unsuccessful.
According to the proposal details, “The hunters with the most points would receive the available tags for each WMU (Wildlife Management Unit), season and moose type.”
The 2021 changes would also see the reduction of the distance members of the hunting party can be from the tag holder, which will decrease from five kilometres to three kilometres. The proposal is also reducing the party hunting size to a maximum of ten members that can hunt on a single tag.
The BGMAC was tasked with providing recommendations to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) on moose management.
The BGMAC hosted seven listening sessions throughout May and June in Ontario, which included St. Thomas, Peterborough, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Dryden, and Kapuskasing. Over 600 hunters, members of the public and organizations attended the sessions and provided feedback, and over 2000 individuals provided comments through an online survey.
The BGMAC then submitted a report to the Minister, which featured 15 recommendations for improving moose management.
The proposal details state, “The proposals presented below address aspects of moose management, tag allocation and hunting regulations and address five of BGMAC’s recommended actions. We will continue to work with BGMAC and act on their other recommendations.”
"We are listening to moose hunters across the province, and our proposal is designed to work for the hunting community. I encourage Ontario's hunters to review the proposal and consider its implications on moose populations and future hunting opportunities. I would like to thank BGMAC and the committee's Chair, John Kaplanis, for their dedication and insight on strengthening moose management in Ontario," said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, in the August 12 media release.
"Our government recognizes the importance of moose hunting to Ontario families and communities. We want to make sure Ontarians can get outdoors and enjoy the sport of hunting, and that these opportunities are available today and long into the future," said Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, in the media release.
The proposals can be reviewed, and comments can be provided, by visiting the Environmental Registry of Ontario at www.ero.ontario.ca/notice/019-0405. The deadline to provide feedback and comments is Sept. 26.