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.