Improved Customer Service for Hunters

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The Ontario government is providing better customer service by modernizing and streamlining its hunter education program, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today.

"We’re updating the program to keep pace with the changes in the hunting community and improvements in hunting equipment and technology," said Ramsay. "This will provide better customer service to Ontario hunters."

Under the amendments to hunting regulations, firearms training requirements in Ontario will be harmonized with the Canadian Firearms Safety course to prevent duplication. The ministry will also create two classes of Ontario Outdoors Cards - one for gun hunters and one for non-gun hunters such as bow hunters and falconers. This will improve access to recreational hunting for non-gun hunters as they will no longer need a federal firearms licence to hunt.

The changes apply only to new hunters and take effect January 2006. The Ministry of Natural Resources sets the content of the Ontario Hunter Education Program and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) administers it.

"The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters works closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources on hunter education and we are pleased to support the harmonization of the program," said Mike Reader, OFAH executive director. "The changes will enhance accessibility and promote recruitment of new hunters."

The Ontario Hunter Education Program, which is mandatory for all hunters, covers an extensive range of information including wildlife management, game identification, hunting laws and regulations, and hunter responsibilities. More than one-million people have completed the Hunter Education Program since it started in 1957. There are 430,000 licensed hunters in Ontario.