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Regulation Proposal Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   012-6075
Title:
Amendment to moose hunting regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to enhance and streamline the moose hunting season in southern Ontario.
 
Ministry:
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
January 18, 2016
 
 

This notice was republished on January 18, 2016 to extend the comment period due to technical difficulties.

 
Keyword(s):   Fish and Wildlife
The comment period for this proposal is now over.
 
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. While recent population surveys showed declines in moose populations in many parts of northern Ontario, populations in the southern portion of the range in Ontario have done relatively well overall.

The Moose Project is further implementing Ontario’s moose management policies that were approved in 2009, including developing new moose population objectives and exploring potential management actions to address concerns about moose populations.

Phase 1: Completed in early 2015 and resulted in the approval of two regulation changes intended to reduce calf harvest and push the start of the gun moose hunting season further from the key moose breeding period in late September and early October.

Phase 2: Initiated in summer 2015 with the posting of an Information Notice to gather further insights on moose population objectives and other potential management actions to address the broader range of factors affecting moose.

This ER proposal notice, along with two related proposals currently posted on the Environmental Registry, marks the final phase of consultation on the Moose Project.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has considered the input received to date and is now seeking comments on a proposed regulation amendment to streamline the firearm moose hunting season (i.e., rifles, shotguns, bows and muzzle-loading guns) in southern Ontario.

Under this proposal, the moose hunting season in southern Ontario would be extended by one day (i.e., from the current six days to seven days), to begin at the same time as the calf hunting season in northern Ontario, resulting in increased consistency. This proposed change is intended to improve hunter distribution across the landscape by reducing the possibility hunters will hunt adult moose in one area and calves in another.

These changes are consistent with direction in Ontario’s Moose Harvest Management Guidelines, and will continue to support healthy and resilient moose populations that provide ecological, social, economic and cultural benefits to the people of Ontario.

The proposed changes would require an amendment to Ontario Regulation 670/98 (Open Seasons – Wildlife) made under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, specifically to change the firearm moose hunting season length and timing for Wildlife Management Units 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 53, 54, 55A, 55B, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63. The proposed new firearm season dates would be from the Saturday closest to October 22 to the following Friday, in any year.

Purpose of Regulation:

To consult on a proposed amendment to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to better align the moose hunting season in southern Ontario with the hunting season for calf moose in northern Ontario.

Other Information:

The following web links provide additional information.
• E-Laws – O. Reg. 670/98 (Open Seasons – Wildlife). The current regulatory provisions regarding open seasons for moose are found in O. Reg 670/98.
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_980670_e.htm

This regulation proposal is related to two other Moose Project proposals concurrently posted for comment:
• policy proposal #012-6074 seeking input on new moose population objectives.
• regulation proposal #012-6073 on changes to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Northern Ontario.

Background information available at www.ontario.ca/moose:
• 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
• Factors that Affect Moose Survival – https://www.ontario.ca/page/factors-affect-moose-survival
• Ontario’s moose management policies – www.ontario.ca/moose
• Moose Project Phase 1 decision notice – www.ontario/ca/environmentalregistry and search 012-3413
• Moose Project Phase 2 information notice – www.ontario/ca/environmentalregistry and search 012-4587

Public Consultation:

This proposal was posted for a 7 day public review and comment period starting January 18, 2016. Comments were to be received by January 25, 2016.

All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.

Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.

Other Public Consultation Opportunities:

This proposal has been posted for 32 days for public review and comment period beginning December 17, 2015. Please submit comments by January 18, 2016 online, by email at mooseproject@ontario.ca, by phone or fax at the numbers listed to the right. Please note, all comments submitted during the consultation period will be reviewed and considered in the decision-making process.

The Ministry has engaged stakeholder organizations, tourist outfitters, Aboriginal groups and communities through a range of outreach efforts to gather their insights and input on factors affecting moose and potential management actions to support healthy moose populations. MNRF consulted on moose hunting season changes for northern Ontario in early 2015 and sought further input on other actions that could be taken to address moose population concerns through an Information Notice posted in summer 2015.

The ministry may conduct additional consultation through focused meetings with interested parties.

MNRF continues to welcome input on moose management at any time at mooseproject@ontario.ca

Regulatory Impact Statement:

The anticipated environmental consequences of the proposal are neutral. The minor addition of one day and streamlining of the southern firearm moose hunting season aligns with moose and broader natural resource policies outlined in Ontario’s Moose Management Policy, Moose Harvest Management Guidelines and Taking a Broader Landscape Approach.

The anticipated overall social consequences of the proposal are slightly positive. Some moose hunters may welcome an additional hunting day.

The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are expected to be slightly positive. The addition of a day to the moose season in southern Ontario provides for an additional day of hunting.

 
Contact:

Wildlife Section
PUBLIC INPUT COORDINATOR
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Policy Division
Species Conservation Policy Branch
Wildlife Section
300 Water Street
Peterborough Ontario
K9J 8M5
Phone: (705) 755-1940
Fax: (705) 755-2901