Proposed moose management changes

by Steve Galea | September 9, 2019
Big Game Management Advisory Committee

A proposal that aims to improve the management of Ontario’s moose herd and create a fairer and more sustainable tag process is up for public comment on Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) until September 26, 2019.

ERO proposal 019-0405 is based on 15 recommendations provided to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry by the Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC), which focused on sustainability, making tag allocation simpler, fairer and more consistent, and addressing a range of hunter concerns.

The BGMAC engaged the public in seven open house listening sessions across Ontario in May and June, and worked with the MNRF to review input from Moose Management Review surveys.

Highlights of proposals for 2020

• Calf harvest controls in wildlife management units (WMUs) 37, 40, 41, 42, and 47 and extending those calf seasons to the full length of the moose season

• New early bow seasons and quotas

• Separate tag quotas for gun and bow seasons

• Extend the current 6-day bowhunting season in southern Ontario by one day and shift the season to begin the first Saturday in October

Highlights of proposals for 2021

• A new selective harvest approach, utilizing bull tags, cow/calf tags, and calf tags, with WMU-specific calf tag quotas across the province

• Make a moose hunting licence a product that allows hunting of moose but does not come with a tag (This would allow applicants who are unsuccessful in, or who do not apply to, the tag allocation process to party hunt for moose on another hunter’s tag.)

• No calf tag included with a moose licence

• Hunters have to apply for bull, cow/calf, or calf tags through a proposed new allocation process

• Implement a point system for distributing tags, so that, generally speaking, a hunter gets awarded one point for every year they have not been awarded a tag. Available tags in WMUs go to the applicants with the most points.

• Once a hunter receives a tag, they forfeit all points and begin accumulation process again.

• Eliminate group applications; each hunter applies for a moose tag based on their history.

• Reduce the distance members of a hunting party can be from the tag holder from 5 km to 3 km.

• Reduce party hunting size that can hunt a single tag to max 10 members.

• Vary tag prices with bull highest, calf lowest, and cow/calf tags in between.

For a full picture of the ERO proposal and to provide comment, click here.

Deadline for comment is Sept. 26, 2019.

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  1. Kirk strachan wrote: I do like most of the changes. however this will help in the future but doesn't change the fact that I have applied for ten year in wmu65 for bull tag and been unsuccessful. If I got ten points to start it would make sence.
  2. Dave Cote wrote: As moose hunting season is just around the corner, the government or moose count management has brought our family moose hunting trip too an end. As i have been hunting in the same area for 24 years, we no longer have group tags.. After bulding a camp, maintaining , building tree stands, trails and so much more. , Their are no more tags in our area, for NO reason.. it doesnt make sense. This is so wrong, We Live too hunt in northern ontario! I am a NORTHERN RESIDENT, and for the first year ever we have No tag.. How encouraging is this? In the north we live for these sports!! . THIS IS WHY WE LIVE HERE .. The government is taking all the goods away from us.. Too me it is UNFAIR.. who decideS all these things? Something went wrong somewhere..
  3. Frd Potvin wrote: Why not make it so a Bull would be 5 tags a cow could be more skip a year for calves. When your group harvest you must report and then you are done hunting. The system you suggest is not bad but some guys will still hunt with multiple groups. Once you are successful you are, out of the bush!
  4. Jim Hughes wrote: I have always believed that if a hunter gets a cow tag the group should also receive a calf tag........and calf tag allocation would be the same number as as cow tags issued. I also believe the ministry should be taking a closer look at predator control..... the decline in the calf population went hand in hand with the cancellation of the spring bear hunt and the protection of wolves/coyotes in some WMU's
  5. Jason Bain wrote: The OFAH is encouraging everyone to read the proposal and will be submitting comments. Individual comments and opinions, however, should be submitted through the Environmental Registry via the link in the story.
  6. Doug Kyle wrote: No calf tags for 5 years and monitor the population then make a decision. You just can’t oh let’s try this The system is broke
  7. Cliff Kincaid wrote: I am against the point system. To many people complaining, that refuse to travel to WMU's that you can draw a tag in every year. Also the group application works just fine. It ensures a large group only gets one tag.
  8. Dominic Palermo wrote: There can never be Moose management of any kind unless the Native harvest ,which is unknown,is factored in. It would be like trying to manage a bank account while controlling the use of only one of two debit cards associated with the account.
  9. James Beaton wrote: When party hunting and an animal is taken all tags involved in the party hunt should be void, no more moose hunting for that season...Should be no season for cows and calves for at least five years.. improve the bear hunt especially the spring hunt..they take a large number of calfs. Get control of the native impact on the moose herd, 1 per household and it must be registered, where and when the animal was taken......stop the night hunting or allow everyone to do it.
  10. James wrote: I agree with the native hunt. I have hunt moose for 30 years in Ontario. The mnrf has to do a GOOD winter survey in each wmu .Not just a guess. Reduce the cow tags in the low populated wmu and increase the bulls a little . The group hunt with numbers is good 15 guys 1 adult tag it works. The point system will not due to the fact that no one will manage it .( another cost ) contuine with the spring bear hunt across the province. We see lots of moose each year where we hunt. But honestly will THEY listen to the people who are out in the woods every season . Tag or no tag.
  11. James wrote: I agree with the native hunt has to be under control. I have hunt moose for 30 years in Ontario. The mnrf has to do a GOOD winter survey in each wmu .Not just a guess. Reduce the cow tags in the low populated wmu and increase the bulls a little . The group hunt with numbers is good 15 guys 1 adult tag it works. The point system will not due to the fact that no one will manage it .( another cost ) contuine with the spring bear hunt across the province. We see lots of moose each year where we hunt. But honestly will THEY listen to the people who are out in the woods every season . Tag or no tag.
  12. Peter Corcoran wrote: First off, I have read the 37 page Moose Management Review cover to cover and it appears that large groups (like mine) are being targeted. For the most part it is not so much about the amount of meat you get anymore, but rather the opportunity to enjoy a week out with your besties (15 buddies in my case). One of the proposed changes is to limit the size of parties to 10 or even 8, although allow a hunter to hunt in three separate groups (doesn't make sense to me). I agree that once your group of say (15) is successful, you and all in your group are done. I agree that a modest fee be charged to get in the draw and if successful, pay a premium to purchase that specific adult tag. Successful cow moose group applicants must be allowed to harvest a calf. Calves will not survive without their Mom. I agree that if 15 cow moose tags are issued, only 15 calf moose tags should be issued. I understand that some cows have twin calves, but this is somewhat rare and not the norm. Our group of 15 hunters have amassed close to $250,000 in equipment over the years and we are constantly upgrading, so to deprive us of continuing to hunt within a large group will be detrimental to the economy. If the "point system" is adopted and there are only 10 bull tags in a W.M.U. and there were 600 pool one applicants it may take 60 years before I get one of those 10 tags. I understand that many hunters are frustrated with the current system, but the premise has always been "Satisfy as many hunters as possible", and large sized groups do just that. "Ghost Hunters" are not really a problem, since once they are selected they have to attend the hunt and then they go back to the bottom. There is no clear solution and I applaud the hunters who have undertaken this arduous task of suggesting ways to improve the system. This is all just "Food for Thought", prior to the rolling out of something new early in 2020.
  13. Marcel wrote: Why would the Ministry allocate a Cow tag without a calf tag? Do they not realize that the calf will die without the cow - what a waste of a resource? Why should applicants pay more to apply for a bull? Does the ministry not want the population to grow? Most hunters will apply for the cheaper tags ( cow/calf) in turn causing more to be harvested, creating a decline in the herd. C'mon man!
  14. Chris wrote: Native harvest has to be accounted for no question. That is a huge number of animals that are unknown. Second if the point system is based on si gle applicants no more groups. How do you control tag allocation? Eg. 8 individuals apply with points. They all hunt together. Another 8 apply with less points. They all hunt together. So does the first group pull all the tags? System seems to have a lot of grey areas that need to be set out before it is implemented.
  15. Dan rivard wrote: I will be done hunting if I have to apply for calf after 30 years only was successful once I’m in 42 we se 6to 10 adults every year
  16. Andy Schardt wrote: I wonder what happens if my wife and I (who hunt together) both get a tag in one year...that would be a shame....could you pass on a tag and not lose your points? If not, it would probably be 10 years before we accumulate enough points to hunt. Imagine your typical group if all your members got a tag in one year...
  17. Perry rienguette wrote: Wmu 41 is to big should be split in at least two . I am happy to see some changes happening
  18. Terry Milton wrote: This is one of the best ideas I have heard in a long time!
  19. Archie Kingma wrote: Why would you give the opportunity to the bow hunter to hunt the first week of the season rather than the majority of hunters who are gun hunters There are a lot of gun hunters who belong to camps who hunt in groups We do not need to have people ( bow hunters) in these areas prior to the primary moose hunt. This situation happens primarily in central Ontario Please review and reconsider Economically 8-10 hunters in a camp of gun hunters spend more money than 1-2 hunters bow hunting
  20. Scott Gaw wrote: Calf seasons for the full Adult Hunt is more reasonable. Buying a licence, not getting a tag so having zero hunting opportunity is ridiculous. If there are possibilities where a hunter buys a licence and does not get a tag, they should get 100% refund. Permanent camp owners should get an increased chance for a tag. They pay land taxes in that area, support the local economy and cannot easily move to hunt in a different WMU. I like the point system for Tag allocation, although It will still take a lifetime to get a tag in our Area WMU 41. Two tags for the whole area is ridiculous.
  21. Kevin Haegeman wrote: The points system has been in use in many of the states as I hunted elk in Colorado in 2000 and my father was drawn for a cow elk permit as a direct result of points. It at least proves that they are keeping track of each individual and that should make the system more equal.
  22. John Legate wrote: As I read it,all hunters in your regular party will apply for tags.If you have 10 hunters and 5 receive tags 3 or 4 of them can refuse the tags and keep there points for the next draw.
  23. George wrote: Without a group application system there is no means of assigning a transferred tag randomly to the group....there is no group. I think transfers should be a thing of the past. Just have the one who gets drawn either hunt or return the tag for the second draw. We need to take the gaming out of the system as it debases the draw and creates cynics if not outright people who are "careless with the truth". What is also required is harvest registration not reporting. Require tag holder to physically register the animal carcass with a local service provider who gets paid atleast $25 of the income the province gets from the tag to make it worth their while. License issuers made cents on each license (Fishing or Hunting) which is one reason why they have been getting out of it for the last 10 yrs. Mandatory reporting just means you have to provide information, information that is not verifiable. Mandatory reporting just feels good. Finally, the bow hunts in Southern Units will remove gun tags from the southern units that are highly subscribed. The bow hunt may attract hunters from the south who presently drive to Atikokan or Upsala meaning it doesn't add "opportunties" it just moves them geographically 12 hrs less driving each way. This disrupts the social structure of the present gun hunts in southern units. The advent of quality crossbows that function like single shot shotguns means many gun hunters will take up bow hunting instead if gun tags drop precipitously.
  24. Bruce Bayles wrote: Close calf hunting for 2-3 years No cows in company with a calf can be taken during this period... Native harvests must abide as per the moose hunting regulations.... If all hunters work at this, it will work!!!!!!!