PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 17, 2014) - The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) is shocked by the decision of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to drastically reduce moose hunting opportunities for licensed hunters, which in certain Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) will result in fewer moose tags being granted and no Guaranteed Group Size this year.
For example, WMU 13 (Thunder Bay Area) will see an 87% reduction in adult moose tags available this year compared to 2013 and WMU 28 (Kirkland Lake area) will have a 93% reduction.
The OFAH is concerned about declining moose populations throughout northern Ontario, the causes of which are unknown in many WMUs, but hunters are growing increasingly frustrated with the Ministry's lack of progress on its review of moose management in Ontario.
The OFAH is calling on the MNR to look at the full suite of factors acting on moose populations, including reproductive rates, predation, poaching, disease, habitat quality (in the wake of fire suppression efforts and declining forestry activity), overlap with deer populations, and harvest by Aboriginal hunters. The OFAH recommends the MNR increase Moose Aerial Inventories and assess the impact of the above factors.
"We don't believe the MNR exhausted all its management options prior to hitting moose hunters so hard," OFAH Senior Wildlife Biologist Mark Ryckman said.
While the MNR has made recent changes to its moose tag transfer policy, hunters feel there have been too many rounds of consultation without any major progress on the real issues affecting moose management. Many hunters are tired of being the only management option the MNR relies on to manage moose populations.
"Fewer moose hunting opportunities means fewer moose licences are sold and less money is contributed to the province's Special Purpose Account (SPA)," Ryckman added. The SPA is dedicated to the management of fish and wildlife resources and cannot afford any further declines.
With more than 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 720 member clubs, the OFAH is the province's largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org and follow Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters on Facebook and Twitter (@ofah).