Moose Hunting in Northern Ontario is changing

Much is being said, many different opinions from MNRF, OFAH, News Media and concerned hunters. Read on for all the different opinions and views. If you feel strongly one way or another please submit your concern to the EBRcheck out the video interview on MCTV



Description of Regulation:

Moose play an important role in Ontario’s ecosystems and are an integral component of the province’s rich biodiversity. Moose contribute economic and ecological benefits to the people of Ontario, and are highly valued by Aboriginal Peoples. Recent population surveys showed declines in moose populations in many parts of northern Ontario, a trend also being seen in other North American jurisdictions.

The Moose Project was undertaken to explore potential management actions to address or mitigate pressures on moose populations such as harvest, predation, parasites, climate and changing habitat. During the first phase of consultations, opportunities for early action to support healthy and resilient moose populations in Ontario were identified. In response, as an initial step and beginning in 2015, the following moose harvest management strategy is being proposed: limiting the calf moose hunting season across northern Ontario to a two week period.

In addition, Ontario will continue to extend opportunities to discuss new moose population objectives and, based on input received, will address the broader range of pressures on the moose population (such as climate change, diseases and interactions with other species (i.e., deer, bear and wolf populations)). There will be further opportunity to discuss and comment on additional actions in coming months.

Harvest management strategy proposed for implementation beginning in 2015:

• Establish a two-week resident and non-resident open hunting season for calf and adult moose across northern Ontario, beginning on the Saturday closest to October 22; all allowable firearms (as per existing seasons) could be used during this season. Outside of this two-week season, calf moose could not be harvested. Hunting for an adult moose would still be permitted for the remainder of the open season with a valid moose licence and in accordance with existing rules.

For implementation in 2016:

• Delay the start of resident and non-resident moose hunting seasons across much of northern Ontario by one week.

To implement the proposed changes, amendments to various regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) would be required to establish new seasons based on age or other factors, change the seasons for resident and non-resident moose hunting and make associated consequential amendments:

A) In Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 1A, 1C, 1D, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7A, 7B, 8, 9A, 9B, 11A, 11B, 12A, 12B, 13, 14, 15A, 15B, 16A, 16B, 16C, 17, 18A, 18B, 19, 21A, 21B, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, and 42
i. establish an open season for calf and adult moose which would begin the Saturday closest to October 22 and end on the second following Friday, in any year; all allowable firearms could be used during this season.

B) Beginning in 2016, change the opening date of the resident and non-resident moose hunting seasons in WMUs 5, 6, 7A, 7B, 8, 9A, 9B, 11A, 11B, 12A, 12B, 13, 14, 15A, 15B, 19, 21A, 21B, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, and 42 to begin one week later.

Purpose of Regulation:

To consult on proposed amendments to moose hunting regulations as part of the Moose Project, in order to support healthy and resilient moose populations that provide ecological, social, economic and cultural benefits to the people of Ontario.

Other Information:

The following web links provide additional (or supporting) information:

• E-Laws – O. Reg. 665/98 (Hunting). The current regulatory provisions regarding the hunting of moose and other big game species are found in O. Reg. 665/98.
• E-Laws – O. Reg. 670/98 (Open Seasons – Wildlife). The current regulatory provisions regarding open seasons for moose and other game species are found in O. Reg 670/98.
• A table of the Proposed Open Moose Hunting Seasons for 2015.
• A table of the Proposed Open Moose Hunting Seasons for 2016.

Background information available at

• Moose Resource Reports providing information on the status and health of moose populations, as well as basic information on: moose policy and management, habitat, trends in moose hunters, tag quotas and licensed harvest.
• Cervid Ecological Framework which provides strategic policy for how moose, deer and elk are managed in relation to each other, including broad population and habitat guidance.
• Moose Management Policy and Moose Harvest Management Guidelines that provide an overview of the range of harvest management actions and tools that can be employed to help meet ecologically-based moose population goals.

Public Consultation:

This proposal has been posted for a 31 day public review and comment period starting February 06, 2015. If you have any questions, or would like to submit your comments, please do so by March 09, 2015 to the individual listed under “Contact”. Additionally, you may submit your comments on-line.

All comments received prior to March 09, 2015 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of Natural Resources if they are submitted in writing or electronically using the form provided in this notice and reference EBR Registry number 012-3413.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received will become part of the public record. You will not receive a formal response to your comment, however, relevant comments received as part of the public participation process for this proposal will be considered by the decision maker for this proposal.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

The Ministry has engaged stakeholder groups, as well as members of the public with a range of interests related to moose (e.g., hunting, tourism operations, business owners) through a series of meetings in order to gather their insights and input on factors affecting moose populations and potential management actions to support healthy moose populations and provide benefits to Ontarians.

A random sample of 2,700 resident moose hunters across the province was also surveyed to help determine hunter activities and opinions towards moose populations and changes to hunting regulations, and to assess the economic aspects of moose hunting.

As part of the ongoing Moose Project, there will be further opportunities for public input as moose population objectives are considered and other potential management actions to address the pressures facing moose are considered for future implementation.

Regulatory Impact Statement:

The anticipated environmental consequences of the proposal are positive. It is intended to mitigate pressures on the moose population to ensure it remains healthy and resilient. The proposed harvest management strategy changes are consistent with Ontario’s mandate related to the sustainable management of Ontario’s natural resources.

The anticipated social consequences of the proposal are neutral. The proposed harvest management strategies are included as available tools in Ontario’s Moose Harvest Management Strategy Guidelines (2009), developed in consultation with the public.

The ministry has also recently engaged stakeholders, Aboriginal groups and communities and the public in discussions about potential management actions; in particular, the proposed shortened calf moose season was generally supported as a way to help address moose population concerns without significantly restricting overall moose hunting opportunities available. Over the longer term, the anticipated social consequences of the proposal will be positive as it is intended to mitigate pressures on the moose population to ensure it remains healthy and resilient.

The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are generally neutral. A shortened calf moose season and shortened adult moose season in parts of Ontario do not significantly restrict overall hunting opportunities available, although they may shift the timing of hunting activity by hunters or a reduction in the number of days hunted. As such, these strategies are not anticipated to significantly impact economic benefits associated with hunting activity, and are not expected to significantly impact the tourist industry. Over the longer term, the anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are expected to be positive as it is intended to mitigate pressures on the moose population to ensure it remains healthy and resilient.


Ontario’s sweeping Moose Project proposal leaves hunters reeling
After seeing unprecedented tag cuts in 2014, moose hunters face even more restrictions in 2015

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is poised once again to limit moose hunting opportunities in the province of Ontario in a manner the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) calls overly restrictive and unnecessary.

“While we are encouraged by the Ministry’s commitment to addressing Ontario’s declining moose populations and its reassurance that non-hunting factors affecting moose will be examined, we don’t agree with the specific changes being proposed,” said Mark Ryckman, OFAH senior wildlife biologist.

As part of the Moose Project, the MNRF has proposed two significant changes to moose hunting across much of northern Ontario. The first, to take effect in 2015, is a reduction in calf hunting opportunities. Currently, moose hunters can harvest a calf under the authority of their provincial moose licence. Under the new proposal, calf harvest in northern Ontario would be prohibited outside of a two-week period in October.

While the OFAH acknowledges that some Wildlife Management Units would benefit from a reduction in calf harvest, we argue a two-week calf season is overly restrictive and could result in crowding and poor hunt quality while making it difficult for hunters to accommodate fluctuations in weather, work schedules and hunting preferences. The OFAH calls for a phased-in approach to ensure hunting opportunities are not prematurely and unnecessarily restricted. This would also provide the MNRF with an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of any management changes.

The second proposal involves delaying the start of the gun hunt by one week. This change would not take effect until 2016, but the OFAH has major concerns with this proposal. The existing adult tag allocation system already allows biologists to tightly control the harvest of adult moose, which makes the season delay redundant and therefore unnecessary.

“The anticipated benefits do not outweigh the costs – it is a significant negative impact to licensed hunting, and the potential benefits are not supported by data,” Ryckman said.

The OFAH will continue to insist on good moose management that ensures sustainable moose populations while minimizing impacts on licensed moose hunters. We are calling on our 100,000 members and the hunting public to speak out on the proposed changes that could affect you this fall and into the future.

The OFAH wants moose hunters to have their voices heard by commenting on the EBR and helping us spread the message that Ontario has to stop focusing its management efforts solely on licensed moose hunters and start managing moose populations. Go to the Environmental Registry (EBR) website and search for EBR posting [#012-3413] Amendment to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act for moose hunting in northern Ontario and submit a formal comment to express your opinion.

Hunters can also help the OFAH spread the message on Twitter (@ofah) using the hashtag #ONMoose and encourage others on social media to respond to the EBR. For all the latest on this issue, visit

With more than 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 725 member clubs, the OFAH is the province’s largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter (@ofah) and like us on Facebook.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Re: EBR Registry #012-3413 – Moose Hunting Regulations


Despite the MNRF’s historical reputation of its much publicized “Public Input” scheme being more of a publicity gimmick to aid the public’s digestion of a previously decided course of action, rather than the sounding board that it was supposed to be, I nevertheless offer my thoughts on the above-noted EBR posting.

While we all agree with supporting a healthy and resilient moose population, and we all concerned about declining moose populations in some sectors of the province, the MNRF should not place their heaviest emphasis on licenced hunters.

In doing so, the MNRF is closing its eyes to the incalculable number of adult and calf moose killed by the growing number of unlicensed hunters who may harvest any and all moose at will and are not accountable to the fish and game regulations that licenced hunters are. 

Also, not enough emphasis is placed on the drastic effect of predators on the moose population.  With the cancellation of the spring bear hunt over a decade ago, the bear population has increased dramatically with a corresponding increase in their appetite for new born and young moose calves.  Wolves and coyotes are also a significant factor and this could be decreased if we were allowed to hunt coyotes and wolves on our moose, deer or bear licences.

I also cannot agree with your conjecture that a two-week season will not have significant social and economic impact on the various stakeholders.  A much shorter season will definitely impact the tourist trade and suppliers, and will cause too many hunters being in the woods at the same time, thereby raising serious questions of safety and control.

Serious consideration should also be given to reducing the tag allocations to remote tourism lodges for their paying guests and allot more of those tags to Ontario taxpayers, who should also be entitled to hunt the vast areas of Crown lands presently reserved for paying tourists.

In summary, I find your proposals illogically restrictive, discriminatory against licenced, law-abiding hunters and Ontario taxpayers, short-sighted and punitive to licenced hunters when many other factors mentioned above, which are now given secondary or no consideration, adversely impact the moose population. 


Simon R. Guillet.


Act fast to save moose

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The majestic moose it not threatened under the province’s Endangered Species Act. Not yet, but that’s what could happen unless the Ministry of Natural Resources acts quickly to stem the decline of moose in Northern Ontario.
Changes in moose management policy have to be made in time for next fall’s hunting season. Waiting to confirm existing population drops in some areas would be irresponsible.
While the ministry has begun consultations with interest groups on its Moose Project, the average hunter is still waiting to have his or her say on the proposed solutions to this serious wildlife management issue.
The Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance was invited to a two-day workshop with ministry managers to provide its input. NOSA executive director John Kaplanis was there. He said he worries the ministry is not taking the population decline seriously enough.
The moose population is already in sharp decline in the Northwest which has led the ministry to impose major reductions in hunting. Given signs like that, the ministry is “moving glacially slow on this topic in my opinion,” Kaplanis said.
We agree, and worry that further delay could lead to even fewer moose in a part of Canada that has been noted for the animals.
Hunters should have had their input by now and the MNR should have been posting solutions online for reaction.
MNR spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said Tuesday that its wildlife experts have been discussing potential actions and looking at how many moose Ontario’s habitat can sustain. Possible changes include how and when they can be hunted.
The remaining moose herds across the Northwest can’t wait for another year of mismanagement.
In 2000, the moose population around Dryden was among the highest in the province. The numbers have since gone from more than 3,000 animals to about 600 today. It’s a similar story around Kenora and now the numbers are dropping fast near Thunder Bay.
The MNR has blamed the population drop on factors such as overharvesting, predation, parasites, habitat condition and low calf numbers. The ministry has since cut the number of moose tags available to hunters but there are other things that could help. A shorter hunting season, even fewer tags for cows and calfs, predator controls and habitat enhancement are all advisable before next fall’s hunting season, or it may be too late for the moose.
Nobody, especially hunters, want moose to join woodland caribou on the Endangered Species list.

Kirk, I agree.  It doesn’t make sense to kill off the calf who is the next generation.  I had suggested before to divide the WMU areas into much smaller sections and restrict certain high traffic areas to “ALL hunters” including the natives on a rotating basis.   i.e. make certain townships in a WMU unavailable for 3 year stints so the herd could regenerate.  They did this in the 50’s and it worked.  Then they would open bulls only for a couple of years .  It is surprising that these “EDUMACATED” biologist can’t figure this out.  The MNR must wake up.
Here is another editorial on the topic of moose and their future in northern Ontario…this one from yesterday’s Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal..

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal

City News, Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hunters push for moose boost



The Ministry of Natural Resources should shorten the moose hunting season, create more moose habitat in the region and provide predator-harvest incentives for trappers.

Those are possible solutions the ministry could use to boost the number of moose in the region, the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance says.

Executive director John Kaplanis said Tuesday that NOSA has encouraged the MNR to implement those and other options in its moose project, which is looking at how to reverse a decline of moosepopulations in Northern Ontario.

In late November through December, the ministry held five moose focus workshops in Northern Ontario to gauge the level of interest and support to act quickly on the moose project in the region.

Kaplanis said he attended one of the two-day workshops which focused on three questions: what should the provincial moose population target be; what tools should be used to manage for this population target; and how fast should these tools be put in place?

On the question of the moose population target, NOSA’s response noted the region had reached a population of 120,000 moose within a short time after implementing the selective harvest system.

“We know we can achieve this level of population, therefore we need to set the bar high and work toward achieving this level again,” Kaplanis said. “Lowering the population objectives is not the way to increase hunting opportunity or encourage tourism, therefore management direction needs to reflect action items meant to encourage moose population growth.”

In response to the question of management tools, NOSA would like as many moose management tools as possible used to achieve population objectives.

“If the tool box only has one tool, for example tag allocations, then more tools need to be added to the box, he said. “This could be habitat manipulation to (enhance) moose areas with quality browse and improved habitat conditions for cow/calf health; predator management incentives for trappers; modified hunting season start dates (one week later start date to the rifle season) and lengths; and a limited cow/calf season meant to reduce the harvest of calves given that calf productivity and survival is known to be one of the major limiting factors on moose population sustainability.”

As for the MNR’s third question on timing, NOSA says improved management tools should have been put in place “yesterday.”

“Moose managers are behind the eight-ball in this and they need to pick up their socks and get these changes going now especially in WMUs (wildlife management units) where we know our moosepopulation is in sharp decline,” Kaplanis said, citing the example of WMU 13 near Thunder Bay. “(The MNR is) moving glacially slow on this topic in my opinion.”

NOSA would also like to see the establishment of a moose management task team. The committee would target moose management tools and get them implemented to effectively manage for moosepopulation growth, especially in those WMU’s that are currently experiencing significant declines.

“NOSA believes that such a task team could work quicker and recommend changes to be administered quickly at the local or WMU scale,” Kaplanis said.

“We encourage Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro to continue to implement moose management changes with transparency in mind to ensure the public’s confidence in making moose policy changes moving forward,” he said.

Ministry spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said that the MNR has been discussing potential actions with key stakeholders to gauge the level of interest and support to act quickly on the moose project.

“The ministry expects to be able to advise soon regarding opportunities for broader public outreach,” she said.



On Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 9:19 AM, wrote:

yeah they will piss around and ‘manage’ the herd to extinction.
Us locals need to go and see the Minister and explain that the local hunters all vote. A outfitter has one vote. If the Minister wants to take on the hunters he should be reminded that Bruce Hyer backed by gun owners won his seat and was then kicked out of the NDP by the leader (Montclair) because Hyer voted with the Conservatives to kill the gun bill. The same thing could happen to the Minister if the hunters gang up on him. His life could be hell….and it should be.
Hunters should insist that the outfitters have their allocations cut in proportion to what the locals have to bear. If the moose hunt gets shut down permanently outfitting is over.  If outfitter are allowed to have disproportionate numbers of tags it will lead to poaching. The locals will not tolerate an American hunting in Ontario while they are forced to sit on the sidelines. The outfitters are part of the problem not part of the solution
 I agree.  It doesn’t make sense to kill off the calf who is the next generation.  I had suggested before to divide the WMU areas into much smaller sections and restrict certain high traffic areas to “ALL hunters” including the natives on a rotating basis.   i.e. make certain townships in a WMU unavailable for 3 year stints so the herd could regenerate.  They did this in the 50’s and it worked.  Then they would open bulls only for a couple of years .  It is surprising that these “EDUMACATED” biologist can’t figure this out.  The MNR must wake up.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bill February 14, 2015, 4:41 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better. Although I gave up hunting moose several years ago I am sad to see the erding of the hunting culture by the policies of the MNR under their supposed science. They have a science of blindness caused by the lack of quality data, the blind sideness of their approach when considering the native issue and their servitude to the animal rights politics.

    From my narrow perception of the area where my cabin is located over the 40 years I have seen a serious decline in hunting groups visiting and the obvious decline in economic benefits to the communty from the lack of spending caused by this decline. I have tried to calculate the taxes and profits caused by hunters pursuing their sport but I too have not enough data. I just know that stores in my area have slowly been cutting back on their supplies to outfit hunters or just closing up. Fishing is another story. I have aslo noted the lack of serious trapping caused by the poor fur pricing. This is the result of the animal rights group actions and the reulting political fallout. Related to this is the increase in predators such as wolves, coyotes, the cats, etc. These predators are having an effect on their food sources by depleting them. I have aslo noted the native population driving the roads in August and September with high powered rifles. Add all of this up and you can see the source of the problems you have described so well. If all of this evidence is so noticeable in my small area of experience, what is it like over the whole province?
    Keep up the good work. If any of my thoughts are worthy, feel free to add them to your data.

    Happy Ice Fishing,

  • bert hydra March 2, 2015, 3:06 pm

    All the talk in the world never changes MNR STUPIDITY. Remove revenue do your hunting out of Ontario for a year —-every one in the industry who losses a dollar will scream ,this is the only way ,then have them use input from other countries and provinces that have great moose herds.
    I have never met anyone who would rather calf hunt than get a adult tag. Another MNR con job to sell the original quota draw, if no calf tags do we just pay to go in draw then sit at home when we do not get a tag ?

  • Justin March 9, 2015, 3:56 pm

    Has OntORA submitted comments on the proposed moose changes?

  • robert atkinson April 17, 2015, 11:45 am

    So after the two week period a calf may not be shot, what if the calf is with the cow and she is shot, the calf will die. Rethink your regulations. Ask the hunters, not the guy sitting at his desk.

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