MNRF changes Moose hunting rules to ensure population sustainability

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Muskoka Post Staff

The Ontario government announced today that it will be taking action to improve the system for moose harvest management.

"We're taking a smarter approach to moose harvest management to deliver on our commitment to make moose hunting fairer and more accessible while ensuring the sustainability of our moose population," said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry "Our government recognizes the importance of moose hunting to Ontario families and communities, and we want to ensure Ontarians have opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy our natural resources today and long into the future."

According to provincial stats hunting contributes more than $560 million to Ontario’s economy annually and creates jobs in rural and northern communities; moose hunting accounts for more than $205 million of that total.

The Big Game Management And Committee hosted seven listening sessions and heard from more than 600 interested hunters, members of Indigenous communities, the public, and organizations. In addition, over 2,000 individuals provided comments through a survey on hunting habits and options to address their concerns on this issue.

The changes were informed through consultation with the Big Game and Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC) and include:

Further restrictions on calf hunting so more calves have a better chance of reaching adulthood

Moving from a draw to a points-based system that will give preference to applicants who have been unsuccessful in getting a tag for the greatest number of years

Fee restructuring for licences and tags

The moose hunting licence will change to a product that allows hunting of moose but does not come with a tag that would allow the harvest of a moose. The resident moose hunting licence fee will be reduced to $35. A hunter can purchase a moose hunting licence to party hunt with another tag holder but won't be required to purchase a moose hunting licence to apply for a tag.

The province will continue to conduct moose aerial inventory surveys in specific areas each winter, which will help estimate moose population status and trends to ensure continued sustainability of moose in Ontario.

"We know a healthy and sustainable moose population is critical to support continued hunting opportunities for generations to come," said Mike Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "Decisions on moose hunting are based on what we know of the current population numbers to ensure sustainability across the province."

"We are pleased to see the government moving forward with changes to Ontario's moose management program," said John Kaplanis, Chair of BGMAC. "We feel the changes will strengthen moose harvest management in Ontario and provide latitude to adapt to the variety of challenges that are inherent in moose management. We look forward to continuing our work with the government and providing valuable advice to the Minister on the management of big game in Ontario."

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