Moose are an integral part of Ontario’s biodiversity. Moose hold strong social, ecological and economic importance for many Ontarians and generate millions of dollars in economic activity through hunting, viewing and tourism each year. Recent population surveys have shown declines in moose populations in many parts of northern Ontario, a trend also being seen in other North American jurisdictions.
In 2014, Ontario’s Moose Project was initiated to explore potential management actions to address or mitigate pressures on moose populations such as harvest, predation, parasites, climate and changing habitat.
Phase 1 of the Moose Project included early engagement with stakeholders, tourist outfitters and Aboriginal groups and communities, who provided valuable insights on initial actions to support healthy and resilient moose populations. Phase 1 is now complete and regulatory changes regarding moose harvest management are being implemented to limit the calf moose hunting season (beginning in 2015) and delay the start of the moose hunting season (beginning in 2016) across much of northern Ontario.
Phase 2 of the Moose Project is now being initiated to develop new moose population objectives and possible actions to address the broader range of factors and pressures potentially affecting moose populations. Supporting information on these topics is provided in the Other Information section below.
Moose population objectives are critically important in the management of moose populations and maintaining a strong, ecologically sustainable population. A moose population objective defines the number of moose desired in a broader area – the Cervid Ecological Zone – and the distribution of that number across Wildlife Management Units. These objectives are set by examining ecological and socioeconomic considerations (e.g. habitat, Aboriginal and treaty rights, cultural values and traditions).
In addition to the development of new moose populations, and in response to input during Phase 1 engagement efforts and consultation, a broad range of factors potentially affecting moose populations will be reviewed, including: Habitat, Predation, Parasites, Harvest, and Climate Change. Actions which may be considered for future proposal could include a range of items such as changes to wolf/coyote seal requirements and reducing hunting pressure to protect moose by limiting access or closing some areas to hunting.
MNRF is interested in working together, in a manner that is respectful of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights, to ensure a healthy and resilient moose population in Ontario. There will be further opportunities for Aboriginal peoples to be informed and engaged as Moose Project discussions continue, and MNRF is committed to meeting any obligations to consult and accommodate that may arise.
MNRF invites those interested in providing preliminary input on the development of new moose population objectives and potential management actions related to the five topic areas above, or any other factors of concern to the contact listed in this notice or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: MNRF is not advancing any specific policy proposals at this time. Any policy or regulatory changes will be subject to subsequent proposal postings on the Environmental Registry for comment at a later date.