Cormorant hunt proposal in final stages

by Steve Galea | November 28, 2019

One more obstacle preventing a cormorant hunt was addressed on November 7 when the provincial government updated the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) proposal regarding the hunt.

The update noted that the “proposed amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA), 1997, received First Reading On November 6, 2019 in the Ontario Legislature.”

Those amendments as listed in ERO post – 013-4124 would add provisions to the FWCA so hunters could allow cormorants to spoil.

The update says that “If the proposed legislative amendments are passed by the legislature, the ministry would have to advance regulatory amendments before a double-crested cormorant hunting season could be created.”

If passed the proposal would:

  • List the double-crested cormorant as a game bird.
  • Require hunters to have an outdoors card and small game licence to hunt them.
  • Create an open hunting season for double-crested cormorant from March 15 to December 31 each year across the province.
  • Create an exemption allowing small game licences to be valid for double-crested cormorant hunting in central and northern Ontario from June 16 to August 31 each year.
  • Establish a bag limit of 50 cormorants per day with no possession limit.
  • Prescribe shotgun and shot size/type requirements consistent with migratory bird hunting regulations outlined in the federal Migratory Birds Regulations.
  • Allow hunting from a stationary motorboat.

Should the hunt be approved, the MNRF will also monitor and assess cormorant populations and trends to assess the impact of hunting seasons and to address concerns of population sustainability.

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  1. Frank Agostino wrote: Hurry up and pass this law these birds are out of control.
  2. JEFFREY GILLARD wrote: They showed up in the early 80's on the St Lawrence River by Cornwall and now have pretty much taken over most of the islands that other birds used for nesting and all the vegetation has been killed off. They gather in big rafts dive bombing the perch and white perch along with other species. This hunt needs to be approved to control their numbers as now they are even flying back off the rivers and hitting ponds and smaller bodies of water. They have no natural Predators to help control their numbers and a step needs to be taken.
  3. Ben pearse wrote: Get rid of the things
  4. Dylan Stuckless wrote: Yes open a season
  5. Archie Anderson wrote: A season is a must ! I have seen on several bodies of water in Southeastern Ontario the devistation these birds are causing to not only the trees and other vegitation on shore as well entire islands decimated and dead. Also the water around these areas are so toxic fish is absent in the waters surrounding the islands. There are so many birds they are depleting the small fish to the point that dish populations are not recovering from the overfeeding of these birds. Their population must be controlled to reduce the Major impact on not only our fish sticks but the environmental disaster they are causing. I want a hunting season on these birds with a no bag limit NOT to be included in your waterfowl limits.
  6. James McKane wrote: BUT the site shows it CLOSED on 3 Jan 2019??? Jim
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thank you for bringing this to our attention, James. We've corrected the story and apologize for the inconvenience.
  7. tom allen wrote: this is awesome great job CA MNR
  8. Amy Gregorio wrote: We need to have this approved. They are destroying so much habitat and fish populations
  9. Tony Degasperis wrote: They must be controlled or eliminated. Cormorants have no productive use.
  10. Kaye Hayes wrote: As I understand it, these double-crested cormorants do not eat dogs or cats or children, but they will now be hunted and killed. So, why are these birds being culled but the coyotes in cities, that present a danger to dogs, cats and children, even adult humans, are being protected by the same government. Yes, I know, coyotes are neither a protected nor endangered species, but if the government wants hunters to kill birds that do not present a threat to humans or their pets, then they should also encourage hunters and trappers to hunt, trap and kill coyotes.
  11. Steve wrote: These bird are nasty ...even a day after i fill my ponds with bait as a bait harvester my holding pens where loaded with these birds ....ive watched them eat every kind of fish going from pike walleye crappies bass with not a problem ...i say Shot them all ....Tree killing birds
  12. Matt Yablonsky wrote: Good job OMNR these birds are eating a lot small fish that the water systems need. They need to go! Kill them all!
  13. Rick Blanchard wrote: Up to 50 cormorants in our small harbour at roddickton nl at a time,, it’s about time to get rid of those birds ,,
  14. Keith Brown wrote: In the last five years I have seen cormorants in some of the ponds I fish on the Avalon peninsula In Newfoundland and years ago I would never see a cormorant. I suspect they are causing havoc with our sea trout and salmon numbers. Good for you Ontario these populations need control !
  15. J g craven wrote: please allow the culling of the destructive birds, before the destruction they cause can't be reversed
  16. Don Viau wrote: Need to cull them i agree
  17. Brad wrote: This needs to happen
  18. Gregory Marchand wrote: I would like to be able to use small calibre rifles ie: 17 HMR. 22 Magnum and others for this hunt. Long range high velocity rounds would allow the possibility of not disturbing a group and maximize the bag limit taken
  19. Stu Paterson wrote: your story said we have until Jan 3,2020 to comment further on the ebr to the province on this hunt proposal..we presented this info to our club meeting Thursday night...please issue a news release clarifying...I will circulate your correction...thanks !! Stu Paterson Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen’s Association
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thank you, Stu. The story was updated Friday. You can copy/paste the following link:
  20. Bruce Bayles wrote: Long time overdue !!!!!!! Typical, let something get out of control before a solution is developed . What is next? Wait for the wild pig population to explode!!!!!
  21. Maxine Gundermann wrote: Get rid of them
  22. Richard Derouin wrote: This as far as I'm concerned is an invasive species that is decimating the fish populations all along the St. Lawrence. This is a sea bird not a fresh water bird.
  23. Jordan Donaldson wrote: We need a season for Illinois, especially for carlyle lake! We have lost 4 to 5 islands allready from these birds, something needs to happen before it is way to late everyone in the surrounding counties of carlyle lake will say the same thing. Thank you for the time
  24. Joey Curro wrote: Cormorants are an overpopulated pest that are destroying the islands they nest on and small fish populations
  25. Anthony Capuano wrote: As a professional wildlife controller I’m not sure how effective a hunting season will be in reducing numbers. Most cormorant flocks are concentrated near populated areas or major shipping routes. Hunting without attracting negative attention will be difficult, especially over the summer. Taking a few birds out of a flock at a time will just make them wary and harder to hunt. Egg oiling, trapping and long range sniping are better alternatives for decimating a large colony. Also as much as everyone complains about cormorants, I’ll be curious to see how many people will actually hunt them, aside from taking birds opportunistically while duck hunting. Lots of deer hunters complain about about coyotes, but relatively few actually make a point of pursuing them during the off season, despite having a year round season in southern Ontario with no limits.
  26. Brian wrote: When the MNR allows the cormorants to take more fish than the people who pay their wages, there is something wrong. Like most government jobs I think being stupid is a prerecqusition. A 2 year old would know how to fix this problem. To let this problem get to this point is dispicable.
  27. Terry Teasdale wrote: I own a island on the Ottawa river in Pembroke Ontario. These birds have killed the small island beside me and now coming to mine last year. I got rid of them with lots of steel pellets and now there back again this year. Last year I put up scarecrows with orange on them when I wasn’t there and they never came back. Have to do the same this year it’s time to do something about these birds I can’t even catch a fish in front of my place the birds have eaten them all for fn sacks. I need this done there laying eggs again as we speak