Moose hunting changing

by Steve Galea | February 26, 2020
Big Game Management Advisory Committee

Long-awaited changes to moose hunting regulations were announced by Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski on Feb. 25.  The changes, informed by public consultations with the Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC) and comments on the Environment Registry of Ontario, will be implemented over the next two years.

Starting this year

Starting in 2020, calf tag quotas will be set in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 37, 40, 41, 42 and 47. To hunt calf moose in those WMUs, a hunter must apply for and receive a calf tag through the draw.

Additionally, the calf season is being extended in all nine WMUs with a calf tag quota (37, 40, 41, 42, 47, 48, 55A, 55B and 57) and calf tags issued for these WMUs will be valid for the bow and gun seasons.

Autumn of 2020 will also feature new bow hunting seasons and quotas for moose in WMUs 46, 47, 49, 50, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63. The new seasons (WMUs 46-50, 53-63) will be seven days long and begin on the first Saturday in October.

In WMUs 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41 and 42, where separate bow hunting seasons already exist, separate tag quotas for bow and gun hunts will be set. These changes will ensure all WMUs with separate gun and bow seasons will have separate gun and bow quotas.

Big changes next year

In 2021, hunters will have to apply for tags as individuals, rather than as part of group applications. Bull tags, cow/calf tags, or calf tags will be available. WMU-specific calf tag quotas set across the province in all areas where moose hunting is permitted.

Bull and cow/calf tags will be season-specific (either bow or gun season), but calf tags can be used over the full length of the season within that WMU. Tag transfers will be heavily restricted under the new process.

Starting in 2021, a resident moose hunting licence will cost $35. This will not come with a tag.

To be able the hunt moose with the licence, a hunter must either successfully apply for a tag or arrange to party hunt with a successful applicant.

A moose hunting licence need not be purchased to apply for a tag.

New approach to tags

Tag allocation will be based on a new point-based approach. A $15 application fee will be required to apply to the moose tag allocation process, in which a hunter’s draw history will be used to determine the number of points they have accumulated.

a calf moose

Points will be awarded based on the total number of years a hunter has applied and been unsuccessful in the draw. Being issued a tag through the draw or receiving a tag transfer will reset a hunter’s points to zero in that year.

A detailed description of the process will be available later in 2020 at Ontario.ca/moose.

If a hunter claims a tag they are awarded through the allocation process, they would be required to purchase a licence and their tag. Calf tags will be $30, cow/calf tags $150 and bull tags $200. Non-residents will pay a higher moose licence fee and the same tag costs.

Starting in 2021, non-resident landowners and immediate relatives of Ontario residents will only be able to acquire their own tag to hunt moose by purchasing a hunt from a tourist outfitter.

A non-resident who is an immediate relative of an Ontario resident who holds a moose tag, may purchase a non-resident moose hunting licence to party hunt with their relative.

Hunter concerns heeded

Due to concerns expressed by hunters in southern Ontario regarding the timing of the hunting season since it was changed in 2017, the season will be shifted back to begin once again on the third Monday in October. Also, current party hunting rules for moose hunters remain unchanged.

Recognizing the importance of the hunt

“We’re taking a smarter approach to moose harvest management to deliver on our commitment to make moose hunting fairer and more accessible, while also ensuring the sustainability of our moose population,” said Minister Yakabuski.

“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 the MNRF, moose hunting adds more than $205 million to the province’s economy.

The OFAH take

OFAH Biologist Dr. Keith Munro said the changes were driven by moose hunters.

“They have voiced their concerns for many years and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters appreciates that the MNRF has listened. When the process began, we told the MNRF that reception to the changes would be mixed, because hunters hunt moose in different ways province-wide. In particular, restrictions on party size were the most contentious of the proposed changes and the MNRF chose not to implement changes in that aspect of the hunt.”

The OFAH will hold the MNRF to its commitment to review the changes in three years so that any concerns are addressed. As the changes are rolled out, the OFAH will continue to act as a pipeline for hunters to provide feedback to the MNRF. Our goal is to ensure that the new system is hunter-friendly, results in increased hunting opportunities and benefits to the moose population, and does not present any barriers to participation.”

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Comments

  1. Pete Turnbull wrote: I realize some of this proposal will seem positive to most,especially the outfitters ,who get preference as usual As always it's a big cash grab So you had better get Mr,Trudeau and mr Blair to back off on their proposed gun control plans And target the real offenders of crime and leave us licensed law abiding citizens alone 204 million dollars in revenue just for Moose How about all the rest of deer ,small game,waterfowl,and trapping revenues plus all the spin off business created by us sportsmen Gotta be at least mega millions and that's just ONTARIO
  2. Kevin Lawres wrote: You win. I’m done hunting.
  3. Ray wrote: Blind leading the blind
  4. Anthony.C wrote: Moving away from group allocation is a huge missing in my opinion. How many people have harvested a moose by themselves, I would say 99% are done with more than one person involved.
  5. George Ward wrote: I do agree with the way the tags will be allotted, but for the cost which has greatly increased for the single hunter I do not agree. It also appears unclear what happens if a group applies for and does not get a allotted tag. Does this mean that the group is denied the traditional opportunity because all groups of animals must have an allotted tag?
  6. Lionel Sargalis wrote: Sounds like something " Chuck Jones " came up with . (He's the guy that completely screwed up the moose management system back in 1986.)
  7. Jeff Minten wrote: Why when the ministry makes changes to help protect our moose populations does it have to be a cash grab??? There is no application fee for a controlled dear hunt.... so why for a moose??? In 2021 we will have an application fee a license fee and now to a tag fee.... This is now becoming like in Europe only a rich mans sport. I still see the denial of unrestricted harvest for natives apparently has no effect on our moose population..!! Also I still don't see any sort of mandatory reporting for natives. So how do they account for those in portent stats and why are they not accountable??? The rules for a hunter are becoming so complicated it is almost impossible to keep them in check. Soon I will have to hire a lawyer before I can go hunting, or get native status because apparently it all doesn't matter then...
  8. Daryl Martinat wrote: Does this mean that the tag receiver is the only one to pay for tag the other hunters only pay for licence? It sounds like a cash grab and still doesnt regulate the havest.
  9. Norm Raynor wrote: The system for 2021 appears to be a money grab, not a conservation move. In the Kearney (zone 50) area hunters used to shoot 100 moose every other year. When moose hunting switched to every year the moose population started going down drastically in zone 50. Probably less than 20 moose were shot in the Kearney area last season. Another thing that has caused a decline is logging roads. This has given easy access to hunters that would never walk to the same places to hunt. The mnr should gate the roads or take the culverts out.
  10. James wrote: So I do not agree with the new proposal AT ALL. It is a money grab for sure without a doubt. Who ever thought of this ..... should have their head read. This does not benefit any active moose hunter. So to all hunters out there this is just a start. Deer a d bear will be next. Shame on the government. ⁰
  11. mark forget wrote: "OK" $30 calf--$150.00 cow--$200.00 bull. it sounds like your selling moose at a auction. if moose sustainability and population is in trouble why are you increasing opportunities. cow and calfs should be protected as much as possible. where do you think the future population comes from. With Metis--harvesters--and natives, your quotas are already filled. Your system has nothing to do with sustainability and population. its all about $$$$$$$. i do not see a smarter approach. It should not be about revenue. Please protect our moose. thank you