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.