Moose management review
We improved the way we manage moose in Ontario to ensure populations are sustainable, and to make 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
In response to this feedback, we improved the way tags are distributed and made changes to ensure sustainable moose populations.
Learn about the changes made in 2020 and 2021 and how they impact you.
Additional areas with calf tag quotas
- In 2020, we added calf tag quotas in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 37, 40, 41, 42, and 47. To hunt a calf in one of those WMUs, hunters must successfully apply for a calf tag through the draw.
- 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
- We added new bow hunting seasons and created additional quotas 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).
- We established separate bow quotas 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.
Beginning in 2021, moose tags are distributed to Ontario residents using a points-based tag allocation process.
Changes to tag types and harvest management
- Tag types include:
- 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 are 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 are no longer issued with a moose licence, but hunters may apply for calf tags for specific WMUs through the allocation process.
- Calf tags are valid for the full length of all moose hunting seasons in each WMU (regardless of firearm types allowed).
Licensing and fee changes
Hunters only pay for the products they require, depending on their success in the allocation process.
- Hunters 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 was reduced to $35.29.
- If a hunter claims a tag they were awarded through the allocation process, they are required to purchase a licence and their tag.
- After purchasing a moose licence, hunters can party hunt with a tag holder.
- Moose tag fees reflect hunter demand and ensure continued support for the management of this valuable resource.
- Non-residents will pay a higher moose licence fee 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 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 licences less frequently
In 2020 the cost of a resident moose license was $50.29.
Hunters are no longer required to purchase a moose license before applying to the tag allocation process. The application fee for a tag is $15. If a hunter is unsuccessful in the allocation process and chooses 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 and still purchase a $35.29 moose hunting licence to party hunt.
Earlier timing of moose gun hunting season in Southern Ontario
- As of 2021, the gun hunting season for adult and calf moose in Southern Ontario (WMUs 46–50 and 53–63) begins earlier, on the third Monday in October, as it did before 2017.
- As of 2021, all WMUs have calf tag quotas to control calf harvest. As a result, it is no longer necessary to align the start dates of the calf seasons in Southern and Northern Ontario to limit calf harvest.
- Starting the moose gun season earlier addressed 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 may only acquire their own tag to hunt moose by purchasing a hunt from a tourist outfitter.
- If a non-resident is an immediate relative of an Ontario resident who holds a moose tag, they may purchase a non-resident moose hunting licence to party hunt with their relative during an open non-resident season. The non-resident may only hunt on the valid tag of their immediate relative.
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.