Ontario Increases Hunting Opportunities

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The Ontario government is increasing hunting opportunities and making it easier for hunters to report wild turkey harvests, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced.

"Growing populations of deer and wild turkeys allow us to increase hunting opportunities and, in the case of wild turkeys, permit hunters to report their harvest by phone, rather than taking the birds to a check station," said Ramsay.

The following changes have been made to hunting regulations:

  • For the 2007 hunting season, an open spring turkey season will be offered for the first time in Wildlife Management Units 82C in the ministry's Midhurst District and 94A in the Aylmer District.
  • Effective with the opening of the spring turkey season on April 25, 2007, hunters must report their wild turkey harvest by calling 1-800-288-1155 toll-free no later than 12:00 noon the day after a bird is harvested and answering a few recorded questions. Previously wild turkey hunters were required to take all harvested birds to locations where data about the birds were collected. Details about the harvest information required are available at www.ontario.ca/hunting.
  • Sunday gun hunting is now permitted in an additional ten municipalities. The change provides an extra one to three days of gun hunting for deer, 12 to 15 days for small game during the fall season, and five days during the season for wild turkey in the spring. A total of 110 municipalities and 18 unorganized townships in southern Ontario now allow Sunday gun hunting.

The hunting regulation changes are consistent with the ministry's ecological approach to managing wildlife in Ontario. The expansion of Sunday gun hunting will also help manage the growing deer population in parts of Ontario, and the resulting increase in crop damage and car accidents involving deer. In addition, experience in other jurisdictions has shown that telephone reporting allows turkey harvest data to be collected more efficiently and at less cost than other reporting methods.

Other ways the McGuinty government is working to protect and sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations and habitats include:

  • Working with partners to restore Atlantic salmon to its traditional habitat in Lake Ontario
  • Providing tools to encourage voluntary efforts to conserve and restore natural areas on private land through the Natural Spaces program
  • Expanding the ongoing provincial rabies vaccine program by testing a new vaccine and bait designed for skunks.