Ontario is home to so much natural beauty. With millions of acres of majestic Crown land and a wide range of wildlife species, our province offers world-class hunting opportunities to Ontarians and to those from around the world.

I am extremely proud of the longstanding hunting tradition in Ontario, and am honoured to lead the ministry responsible for the sustainable management and stewardship of Ontario’s natural resources.

Hunting is a wonderful way to connect with nature and spend quality time with family and friends. It is an opportunity to share knowledge and pass along traditions. It also promotes the values of stewardship, conservation and sustainability, which are essential to ensure future generations are able to enjoy the same hunting experience that we have today.

Hunting opportunities in Ontario are world class, and we all have a role to play to make sure they remain this way. Hunting is at the core of my ministry, and we value our partnership with Ontario’s hunters. Thanks to this shared commitment in preserving our natural heritage, we have been successful in maintaining healthy wildlife populations.

In 2022, we graduated a class of 45 new Conservation Officers, fulfilling our government’s promise of hiring 25 new officers. This year, our new recruits will be gaining experience in the field along with the rest of our compliance team.

The work they do safeguards our natural heritage – work that has been ongoing in Ontario for 130 years and will help protect the province’s natural resources for generations to come.

I am pleased that this year, we are able to give hunters who take part in a controlled deer hunt season more time to plan. We’re doing this by making the application period and the results of the controlled deer hunt draw available earlier. This year, the controlled deer hunt draw will be open July 1-31 and the results will be released September 1.

In the future, my ministry will also be engaging with the hunting community to further discuss and explore better ways to support and improve black bear harvest management in the province. By using information gathered from our black bear population monitoring, we will ensure black bears continue to be managed sustainably.

Hunters play an important role in population monitoring each year. By submitting your hunter reports and a tooth from your harvested bear, you will help us support black bear management. Please remember to submit the tooth - you will receive a crest in return!

Hunter reporting provides critical information not only for bears, but all wildlife management in Ontario.

Mandatory hunter reporting has led to increased response rates and improved hunter reporting data, which has led directly to increased opportunities for Ontario’s hunters.

I would like to thank you, as always, for your co-operation in following Ontario’s hunting regulations. By working together, we can continue to ensure future generations of Ontarians are able to take part in this valuable activity.

I wish you the best of luck as you hunt and remember to be safe!

Sincerely,
Honourable Graydon Smith
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry