PETERBOROUGH, ON--(Marketwired - September 29, 2016) - The following is a statement from the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH):
Turkey hunting in Ontario may look a little different in 2017 as the provincial government has proposed some significant management changes.
The proposal, which would come into effect next year, is currently up for comment on the Environmental Registry and includes the elimination of the separate wild turkey hunter education course, new seasons in two Wildlife Management Units, a bows-only season in the fall and standardization of spring season opening dates.
"The OFAH has long been asking hunters for their perspectives on wild turkey management in Ontario," says Dawn Sucee, fish and wildlife biologist for the OFAH. "More than 1,300 turkey hunters responded to an OFAH survey in April, providing great feedback that clearly showed a high level of satisfaction with turkey management in Ontario, while also identifying some opportunities for improvements."
New seasons would open in WMU 36 (spring) and WMU 94 (fall), while a bows-only season would run Oct. 1-31 in all WMUs that have a fall wild turkey hunt.
"Being able to harvest a turkey ahead of Thanksgiving is a great way to bring together family and celebrate our hunting heritage in Ontario," Sucee adds.
Other proposed changes include the merging of the wild turkey hunter education course into the curriculum for the Ontario Hunter Education Program (OHEP). Adding wild turkey content to the OHEP course eliminates the need for a separate wild turkey course, though many questions remain regarding exactly how this will be implemented.
The MNRF is also proposing to make April 25 the universal opening day of the spring season, regardless of which day of the week it falls on and giving consideration to allowing shot size number 7 for wild turkey -- in addition to 4, 5 and 6. The will also clarify minimum bow requirements for hunting wild turkey in the hunting regulations.
"The OFAH is happy to see some of the opportunities identified by hunters reflected in the current proposal, but we believe there are many other sustainable enhancements that can be made to wild turkey management beyond the current proposal," says Sucee. "We will continue to pursue other important topics including youth hunting opportunities, licence fees, sealing requirements, reporting improvements, and habitat."
Members of the public have until Nov. 3 to comment on the proposal. Visit www.ofah.org/wildturkeyregs to submit your comments.
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 735 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 us online at www.ofah.org, follow us on Twitter @ofah and on Facebook and Instagram @theofah.