Are fishing and hunting seasons closed?

by Editorial Staff | April 8, 2020
closed sign on a walking trail
A sign in Carew Park in Lindsay. (Photo by Jason Bain)

Outdoor enthusiasts have good reason to wonder if the COVID-19 crisis is going to impact fishing and hunting seasons in Ontario.

At this point, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has not made any decisions to restrict, delay or cancel provincial fishing and hunting seasons or restrict access to Crown land.

Access restricted

“However, some municipalities and Conservation Authorities have already restricted access to their lands, and many retailers that usually offer fishing and hunting licences are no longer open to the public,” the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) stated on Monday, April 6.

The OFAH is compiling a list of closures here.

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  1. Maureen Williamson wrote: Hi Any idea if boat ramps are going to be a problem. THX Mark Williamson.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi there, Maureen/Mark, We recently posted a story involving boat ramp closures. Please find it here:
  2. Tom Fisher wrote: Can I fish alone ? Can I turkey hunt alone ? dam that is as good as it gets for social distancing.
  3. william desjarlais wrote: I think that all fishing and hunting should be band for now in all ontario with the spring turkey hunt around the corner hunters and fisherman travel all over the province to fish and hunt therefore spreading the covid 19 virus even more. This is a no brainer close it all for now, or the backlash for hunters and fisherman spreading the virus will be hard to come back from.
  5. Shawn Belanger wrote: Why would the fishing and hunting season be closed?!? Aren’t they the truest form of social distancing?!?!
  6. OSCAR A FERNANDEZ wrote: In my opinion, hunting and fishing should stay open. There's people that have there own land, and would like to enjoy the spring turkey hunt and spring trout opener.
  7. Gene Chambers wrote: I really wish that the OFAH could get the MNRF to come out with a public statement on whether or not it will be okay for hunters to actually go out and hunt during the spring turkey season! I’m getting criticism on one online forum just for saying that I want to hunt this spring...being accused of unnecessary travel!
  8. DUTCHMAN wrote: I agree with Oscar. Alot of people who hunt have there own land and like myself my land is literally 2min down the road from my house .also like a few other people mentioned hunting ALONE is most definitely the best of social distancing!!! But I also agree with William on the fact that alot of people who hunt/fish will need to travel long distances to get to those places and on that note if you do have to travel a long distance to do so then your right they shouldn't be doing so. But to close the seasons for everyone is just down right ridiculous. Everyone needs to use there own judgement on what's right and what's wrong when it comes to travel Thanx THE DUTCHMAN
  9. Robert Smuck wrote: I think fishing should be ban till this outbreak is over with. I'm a very active fisherman that loves the outdoors, but I also enjoy life as well. So why not shut it down for now. The fishing will be better if we leave them alone for awhile.
  10. Mitch wrote: This might be a way for hunters and fishers to do so in their own area instead of going to other areas
  11. Sam wrote: How about people that already live in the country? They can maintain social distance requirements with short or non-existent travel. Less contact than going grocery shopping? Hunting and fishing are self isolating activities. Licences can be purchased online. Haven't seen anything on the MNR website regarding season closures? As it is the online licensing is still a source of revenue for the government?
  12. aldo r falconi wrote: what is good for one should be good for all the ontario government must decide as ice out is upon us and the first sport fishinf for perch is ready to start or started and trout is the end of the month i hunt and i fish but there is a time and place to gine up the right so all can enjoy asap
  13. Bob Olmstead wrote: Hoping Walleye will open Mid May as usual .Own the land and have private access to the lake and will social distance if necessary no one is around. Its a large lake and will not be fishing near anyone. Very safe. Please keep it open .
  14. Wayne Morrison wrote: Camping on crownland has been banned but I’m not sure if that includes Hunt Camp’s that are actual structures. Does anybody have information on this
    • Jason Bain wrote: If the structures are on Crown land, I believe they would be part of the ban.
  15. Brian Giffin wrote: This going to be a long summer folks, get used to it!
  16. Robert wrote: What I cannot get used too is having our civil liberties trampled over. We can be responsible adults and don’t need the government to keep holding our hands !!
  17. mark wrote: I'm son doesn't have a fishing license so if we are fishing for trout in our local river will he get a ticket for not having 1 as the stores are closed that sell them
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Mark, How old is your boy? Is he's under 18 years of age he'll be fine using any government issued ID in lieu.
  18. Smith wrote: Why would it get banned I only hunt private property 90% of my fishing it within a 15min walk( river I live on) it's ridiculous to say I can't do that I can get to my familys farm by walking to it and I choose who's allowed to hunt there, stop stripping us of things that are perfectly fine to do in a pandemic, a ban on leaving a certain distance from your home makes more sense. The people making these decisions have probably never went or are against it in general, when will people see there stripping rights from us that is unnecessary, if you can go to Walmart why can't I go fishing or hunt alone.
  19. Smith wrote: Especially when there's literally thousands of cottagers coming to our towns from Toronto
  20. Bob wrote: Doug Ford said fishing seasons will be open. Ramps and parks are closed. If your fortunate enough to have your own launch then go fishing and enjoy the solitude. Seems like many northern forget that we all pay taxes and if we own land that we pay taxes on then we can use it. Also to the hospital whiners. They aren’t your hospitals. They are all of ours. Self distance and what better way then fishing. I won’t see a soul and maybe keep my sanity.
  21. Hannu wrote: I live outside of Thunder Bay with many lakes in close proximity, with great fishing and hunting. I think that people should be allowed to fish/ hunt as long as social distancing rules are followed. We live in a sparsely populated area here with a totally different situation from heavily populated places like Eastern Ontario where social distancing could be harder to maintain, but could still be done with cooperation between fishermen and hunters. I believe that it’s important for people to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and physical activities while maintaining safe practices. It’s good for your physical and mental health to stay active in a safe manner in these troubled times.
  22. Greyfox wrote: They can't ban fishing or hunting, jus access to boat launches and marinas, make friends with someone on the water. There is no fine for fishing or hunting, Especially alone, just don't travel all over, stay local, don't abuse our rights and they won't be considered privileges.
  23. Claude Guevremont wrote: Ok, I am an avid hunter and fisherman. Just love it, and, I go out often. However, controlling this pandemic is far more important than hunting and fishing. We now have 35,708 cases of covid 19, along with 1,647 deaths here in Ontario .Think about it people, if we don't get this under control now maybe we will not be able get out at all this year or next year. Everyone should just do what they are told . Stay home and stay safe. And more importantly, keep others safe. And , how can you stay 6 feet away from others when you are 2 or 3 people in a boat? Time to wake up people.
  24. Smith wrote: ^ Not saying your wrong but alot more people die from influenza every year and we do never hear about it, but this is the new thing and were actually seeing the numbers 2.56 million people died last year. You clearly don't get where alot of people are coming from its a right not a privilege and closing boat launches isn't helping just forcing more people to fish on shore closer together I don't know about you but here you never touch anyone else stuff or go near them unless it's by choice you'll get yelled at and maybe punched if you start touching other people's things at the launch just for the reason that you look like a theif. But we can stand right beside eachother in a line outside a store, use your head just don't be near eachother.
  25. JOSEPH Camilleri wrote: I can't understand can I hunt on crownland with out camping just for the day .
  26. Brsfhrd wrote: ^ Don't get me wrong it's terrible people are dying but there are alot of measures that should be taken that wont, why is it that something tons of people do that is already isolation and it was even a thought or that people were pushing for it. People were strongly recommend not to go to there cottage in the country it is not spreading were only near people by choice and if someone gets it it doesn't get passed on nearly as much, but people are coming from Toronto stopping at every LCBO and grocery store, we know you don't know when your infected and contagious it's not that we hate them or think they don't have a right to come you do but did they even stop to think about it no I've had multiple people ask me to come meet them as soon as they came from Toronto not a chance between it and Ottawa that's the majority of cases we all love the cottagers it's what keeps everything turning north don't take this the wrong way just look at it as the view of someone it one of those towns
  27. JOSEPH CAMILLERI wrote: If you want every one to stay home then close fishing and hunting for everyone. Don't open for people who has property and close the entrance for others this what drive people nuts . You can put new rules one person per boat one person per blind but crownland and lunching are open.
  28. Claude Guevremont wrote: Well maybe you are right. We should not distinguish between people who have the pleasure of hunting and fishing on their own land and those who have to do it on public land. I think all fishing and hunting should be closed until we get a handle on all of this. It's just the right thing to do. Stay home and stay safe. Period.
  29. Gloria Briden wrote: May 4, 2020 Haven’t seen any new updates on crownland camping other than until April 23rd. Is there anything new as far as lifting the ban soon. Etc. Look forward to your response.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Gloria, we'll be providing updates as they become available, but in the interim, this may be a useful resource for you:
  30. Raul Garcia wrote: Hi all, please have a look at this link from the Ontario gov't website This specific regulation about Crown Land camping should be revoked today unless it is extended. I understand that hunting/fishing isn't restricted, but I hunt crownland and need to camp on crownland to hunt. That is the info I want to get confirmation on...if it's revoked today or to be extended. I hope this helps as I'm looking forward to bearhunting this spring (now).
    • Jason Bain wrote: Morning and thanks for sharing, Raul. Elsewhere on the province's website, it says camping on Crown land is prohibited until further notice. Fingers crossed for you!
  31. Karl Baker wrote: To go fishing in the boat can you have a friend with you thank you
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Karl, it is still recommended you observe physical distancing parameters with anyone not within your immediate household. This would mean fishing in a canoe with someone would be in defiance of that recommendation. However, fishing along a riverbank with two metres between you two would be acceptable.
  32. PIERRE GAUTHIER wrote: We have a community hunt camp. None of us live together. Can we spend time at the camp and overnight stay if we respect the physical distancing? Wondering if the risk is worth it.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Pierre, we're still being advised to maintain physical distancing with anyone outside one's household, as well as avoid non-essential travel. What you're proposing could be done carefully, but you may still be at risk of being fined.
  33. Dzemal K wrote: To whom it may concern I am just inquiring to see if it is allowed to fish in Binbrook Conservation offshore, no boat and if so where else in area of Hamilton are you allowed to fish offshore. Thank you
  34. Patrick wrote: Government says hunting is still allowed and the start of hunting season will be unaffected, but they have cancelled all hunting courses, so there is no way to get a hunting license if you didn't have one a few months ago... so no new hunters, no kids coming of age, no ability for people hard hit financially to supplement their ability to feed their family with a large amount of clean, natural food. No teaching youngsters how to fend for themselves and survive without chemical laden grocery store food... no alternative for people who cannot medically wear masks and are told they will not be able to enter a grocery store...
  35. Tracy wrote: In September my husband has duck season. He goes to a cabin and spends time with 7 guys in a camp. Are they ok to do this? I don’t like the idea myself. Because of how many people there will be. So please let me know if he will be safe. Thank you.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Tracy, at this time the provincial recommendation is to keep your social circle to ten people outside your household. Provided your husband is maintaining hygiene standards and engaging in physical distancing when possible, there's no reason why he shouldn't still enjoy duck season.
  36. Donald A. Russell wrote: So if i turkey by my self i can go on private land.which i have permission to be on.i can turkey hunt .
    • Alesha Howran wrote: Anglers and hunters wanting more information on how new restrictions may impact fishing and hunting can visit for a list of closures and FAQs.