Native small game and furbearer species are a significant part of Ontario's wildlife heritage and are an important component of the provinces biodiversity. These species have long held cultural significance for Indigenous peoples and continue to be important to the people of Ontario today. Small game hunting is a recreational activity that can appeal to both new and experienced hunters. Trapping has been and continues to be an important traditional and commercial activity. The ministry is committed to ensuring that small game and furbearer species continue to be managed sustainably for the long term benefit of all Ontarians.
Ontario has developed a draft Small Game and Furbearer Management Framework; a document that is intended to fill a policy gap for a group of recreationally hunted and commercially trapped wildlife species. The framework will provide policy to guide decision-making related to the management of small game and furbearer species. This framework will support government’s direction (described in Taking a Broader Landscape Approach: A Policy Framework for Modernizing Ontario’s Approach to Natural Resource Management, 2013) towards the use of a landscape approach to wildlife management in Ontario. The framework will help to ensure sustainable populations, maintenance of ecological integrity, and consideration for socio-economic benefits and habitat.
Small game and furbearers are a group of small to medium-sized wildlife species which may be harvested under the authority of a small game hunting licence, a trapping licence and in the case of a game reptile and amphibian, (i.e., Snapping Turtle and Bullfrog) under a fishing licence. Examples include Cottontail (Rabbit), Varying (Snowshoe) Hare, Gray/Black Squirrel, Ruffed Grouse, Spruce Grouse, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Woodchuck, Beaver, Red Fox and Marten.