Moose management review
We are improving how moose are managed to ensure sustainable populations, while making moose hunting fairer and more consistent.
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During the moose management review in 2019, hunters across Ontario told us they wanted:
- management changes that would benefit moose populations
- a fairer system for allocating moose tags
We are improving how tags are distributed and making changes to ensure sustainable moose populations.
Improvements started in 2020 with more changes coming in 2021. Learn about these changes and how they impact you.
Additional areas with calf tag quotas
- Calf tag quotas were implemented in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 37, 40, 41, 42, and 47. A hunter must have applied for and received a calf tag through the draw to hunt a calf in one of these WMUs.
- The hunting season for calf moose was extended in all nine WMUs with a calf tag quota (37, 40, 41, 42, 47, 48, 55A, 55B and 57). All calf tags for these nine WMUs were issued through the draw and were valid for the full length of both the bow and gun seasons.
New bow hunting seasons and quotas for moose
- New bow hunting seasons and quotas were created in WMUs 46, 47, 49, 50, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 and 63.
- The southern Ontario bow season is now seven days long and begins the first Saturday in October (WMUs 46-50, 53-63).
- Separate bow quotas were created in WMUs 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41 and 42 where separate bow hunting seasons already existed.
- All WMUs with separate bow and gun seasons now have separate bow and gun quotas.
Starting in 2021, moose tags will be distributed to Ontario residents using a points-based tag allocation process.
How the points process will work
- All hunters will apply as individuals. There will be no group applications.
- Hunters will start with one point for each year they applied for the moose draw since last receiving an adult tag. This is the case whether the tag was received directly through the draw or by tag transfer.
- For example, if you applied for the draw for five years but didn’t receive an adult tag, you will have five points beginning in 2021.
- Your previous draw applications do not need to be consecutive for you to receive points. For example, if you applied for the draw four times in the past eight years, you will receive four points.
- Initially, points will be calculated based on a hunter’s draw history from 1993 through 2020. Your draw history and points are available through your Fish and Wildlife Services account. Learn how to view your:
- draw entry and results
- moose points from your online account
- Hunters will have gained a point in 2020 if they:
- received a calf tag through the 2020 draw
- were unsuccessful applicants
- applied to “WMU 99Z” because they did not wish to be issued a tag
- received a surplus tag
- made a tag transfer
Tags will be allocated in a two-stage process.
- In general, the applicants with the most points will be awarded the available tags for each WMU, season and moose type. Hunters awarded a tag will choose whether to claim it by purchasing the tag and a licence. If a hunter claims a tag awarded based on points, their points will reset to zero.
- In the second chance allocation stage, if a hunter claims a tag awarded randomly, the hunter will keep their points and gain a point.
Under the new process moose tag transfers are no longer permitted. In exceptional circumstances such as injury, illness or death of the tag holder or an immediate family member; or redeployment by the Canadian Armed Forces, a tag transfer may be considered with written request and documentation.
Changes to tag types and harvest management
- Tag types will be:
- bull tags valid only for harvest of a bull moose
- cow/calf tags valid for either a cow or a calf moose
- calf tags valid only for the harvest of a calf moose
- Calf tag quotas will be implemented in all WMUs with a moose season and the calf season will be extended to the full length of the moose hunting seasons.
- Calf tags will no longer be issued with a moose licence, but WMU-specific calf tags can be applied for through the allocation process.
- Calf tags will be valid for the full length of all moose hunting seasons in each WMU (regardless of firearm types allowed).
Licensing and fee changes
The fees related to moose hunting are becoming fairer in 2021. Hunters will only pay for the products they require, depending on their success in the allocation process.
- Hunters will pay a fee of $15.00 to apply for a tag instead of being required to buy a moose licence before applying.
- The cost of a resident moose licence will be reduced to $35.29.
- A hunter can purchase a moose hunting licence if they wish to party hunt with another tag holder without ever applying to the allocation process.
- If a hunter claims a tag, they are awarded through the allocation process, they would be required to purchase a licence and their tag.
- Moose tags will cost $30.00 for calf tags, $150.00 for cow/calf tags and $200.00 for bull tags. These prices reflect hunter demand and ensure continued support for the management of this valuable resource.
- Non-residents will pay a higher moose licence fee ($469.86) and the same tag costs.
- Most non-residents will have the additional cost of purchasing a moose hunt from a tourist outfitter (see below).
Benefits of licensing and fee changes
The new fees are expected to cost most resident moose hunters about the same as they currently pay when averaged over time (approximately $50.29 per year).
These changes address hunters’ concerns about fairness by shifting costs from unsuccessful applicants to hunters who are awarded and claim a tag.
A hunter’s average cost per year will be lowered by:
- claiming less expensive tag types
- sharing tag costs in a larger party
- purchasing tags and licenses less frequently
In 2020 the cost of a resident moose license was about $50.29.
In 2021, hunters will no longer be required to purchase a moose license before applying to the tag allocation process. The application fee for a tag will be $15.00. If a hunter is unsuccessful in the allocation process and elects not to purchase a moose hunting licence to party hunt with another tag holder, they will save $35.29 per year.
If a hunter prefers not to apply to the allocation process they can save $15.00 and still purchase a $35.29 moose hunting licence to party hunt.
Earlier timing of moose gun hunting season in Southern Ontario
- In 2021 the gun hunting season for adult and calf moose in Southern Ontario (WMUs 46-50, 53-63) will shift earlier to begin the third Monday in October, as it did before 2017.
- Starting in 2021, all WMUs will have calf tag quotas to control calf harvest. This means we no longer need to align the start dates of the calf seasons in Southern and Northern Ontario to limit calf harvest.
- Reverting to the earlier moose gun season timing addresses concerns we heard from hunters about the moose and deer gun hunting seasons being too close together.
Elimination of special non-resident moose hunting opportunities
- Non-resident landowners and immediate relatives of Ontario residents can now only acquire their own tag to hunt moose by purchasing a hunt from a tourist outfitter.
- A non-resident who is an immediate relative of an Ontario resident who holds a moose tag may purchase a non-resident moose hunting licence to party hunt with their relative during an open non-resident season.
Moose management review
The Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC) was created in 2019 to provide recommendations on how Ontario manages big game species.
Ontario and BGMAC worked together on the Moose Management Review to:
- examine ways to make the draw fairer
- maintain healthy moose populations
- maintain sustainable hunting for years to come
The review included seven listening sessions across Ontario as well as an online survey, and all input helped to inform BGMAC’s recommendations.
Ontario created a proposal on improvements to moose management in response to BGMAC’s report.
On the Environmental Registry of Ontario, you can find the:
- original proposal
- comments received
- resulting decision notice
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry reviewed all comments and considered them in the changes for 2020 and 2021. Thank you for participating.