Ontario has a new Big Game Management Advisory Committee, (BGMAC.) The announcement introducing the committee, made on April 17, fulfilled a promise to the outdoors community by the Ford government.
The committee’s function is to provide advice to the Natural Resources Minister respecting policy and programs related to the management of species of big game in Ontario. BGMAC members will also review and recommend changes to the allocation of hunting opportunities for big game as may be requested by the minister. Lastly, they will provide advice on other matters requested by the minister.
The BGMAC is chaired by well-known hunter John Kaplanis of Thunder Bay. Committee members are Bradley Greaves of Ignace, E. Allen Hyde of Pembroke, Elford Wiens and Glenn Rivard of Thunder Bay, Gary Couillard of Matheson, Fern Duquette of Atikokan, and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) Wildlife Biologist Keith Munro of Peterborough.
The BGMAC consists of members with diverse knowledge and experience in moose management and quota review, moose hunting, tourist outfitter operations, and previous experience on wildlife advisory committees. Though the committee is also tasked to help improve deer, bear, and elk management in Ontario, its initial job will be to develop recommendations on moose management, with a focus on how quotas are developed, and how tags are allocated to hunters through the draw.
Focus on moose
“We have heard concerns from hunters that the current approach, specifically the moose tag draw system, is not working for hunters or ensuring sustainability,” said Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski. “We’re acting on those concerns and delivering on our promise to make life easier for Ontario’s hunters, while ensuring sustainable populations and continued hunting opportunities.”
The member and Chair have been appointed for a two-year term, with possibility of re-appointment. They will meet in person three times a year, with additional conference calls as required. The committee reports directly to the Natural Resources Minister.
“Over the next two years, our goal is to make moose hunting fairer, more accessible and simpler for hunters. Work is already underway to make immediate improvements to online resources so that we can better communicate with hunters,” said Yakabuski. “As the review unfolds, we will continue to listen and engage hunters and stakeholders to help us improve how tag quotas are developed and distributed.”
“BGMAC’s focus on reviewing the tag allocation and draw processes is an important first step to improving moose hunting in the short term. But the OFAH has been calling for a complete review of moose management for years, and we’re hopeful that the committee’s focus will expand once these short-term objectives are completed,” said Mark Ryckman, OFAH manager of policy.
Public input sought
The BGMAC will host six listening meetings in May. Locations and dates are as follows:
- St. Thomas – May 21, 2019
- Peterborough – May 22, 2019
- North Bay – May 23, 2019
- Sault Ste. Marie – May 28, 2019
- Thunder Bay – May 29, 2019
- Dryden – May 30, 2019
Hunters, organizations, and the public are encouraged to attend these sessions and contribute their ideas on how to improve moose management. Go to Ontario.ca/moose for more details on the listening sessions.
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