Overview

As a moose tourist outfitter or black bear operator, you need to apply to, and be authorized or licenced by, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) to participate in the Ontario Moose-Bear Tourism Industry Program. This allows you to provide either or both:

  • moose hunting services to residents and non-residents
  • black bear hunting services to non-residents

The program:

  • economically benefits the tourism industry and the province by providing hunting opportunities through tourist outfitters
  • ensures outfitters are aware of and follow rules
  • tracks tourism hunting activities
  • helps ensure provincially licensed moose and bear harvests are managed sustainably

Tourist outfitter’s role

There are different qualifications, rules and procedures for providing moose and black bear hunting services to clients.

As an authorized moose outfitter or licenced black bear operator, you must:

  • obtain moose tags or black bear validation certificates for your clients, as appropriate, through your local NDMNRF district office
  • issue the tag or validation certificate to your client, along with the required mandatory hunter report form — only after they have purchased an Outdoors Card, hunting licence and associated moose tag
  • provide registered guest forms to all moose hunters who are issued a tourist outfitter moose tag or who will party hunt on the tag
  • return the completed mandatory hunter reports to your local NDMNRF district office by the required deadline

Become a tourist outfitter

If you want to become an authorized moose outfitter or licensed black bear operator, you must meet eligibility requirements.

Moose outfitters

An eligible moose outfitter must acquire moose tag shares from an authorized moose outfitter currently in the program that is willing to transfer their shares. The transfer of shares must be approved by NDMNRF.

Becoming an authorized moose outfitter does not guarantee that you will receive any moose tags to offer hunting packages for clients. This depends on multiple factors including the number of:

  • other outfitters operating in a wildlife management unit
  • harvest opportunities available to outfitters based on what moose populations in the area can sustain

Black bear operators

A person or business wishing to become a licensed black bear operator to provide bear hunting services to non-resident clients must either:

  • acquire a bear management area (BMA)
  • have written landowner permission to provide those services on private land

A BMA may be acquired either through:

  • a business transfer
  • obtaining a vacant or new BMA

The transfer of a BMA with the sale of a business is not automatic. There may be very limited opportunities to acquire new or vacant BMAs.  

Black bear operators wishing to provide bear hunting services to resident clients within a BMA must be licensed for that BMA.  There can only be one licence holder per BMA

Contact your local NDMNRF district office to find out how to become an authorized moose outfitter or black bear operator, or if you have questions about the Ontario Moose-Bear Tourism Industry Program.

Moose outfitter requirements

Outdoors Cards and moose licence

All moose hunters in Ontario must have a valid Outdoors Card, and a resident or non-resident moose licence.

Moose tags

A tag is a component of a valid hunting licence for the tag holder.  A valid tag is required by at least one hunter in a party to allow other hunters in the party to hunt with their moose licences.

To apply for and receive moose tag(s) for your clients, you need to:

  • be an eligible tourist outfitter, including being open to the travelling public for at least four months of the year and having full management control of your client’s accommodations
  • submit appropriate documentation to the ministry upon request to confirm eligibility requirements are being met
  • possess enough moose tag shares in a wildlife management unit to acquire available moose tag(s)
  • sign an agreement with the ministry each year if moose tag(s) are allocated to you

Authorized moose outfitters with enough moose tag shares in the program will be notified a year in advance if a moose tag(s) is available to provide to clients in a hunting package for the moose hunting season. Direct sale of moose tags is prohibited.

When you submit your agreement to the ministry, you must identify the Crown land authorization and eligible private land facilities where you will provide moose hunting services to your clients. Your client must return to these facilities every night of their hunt.

Moose tags cannot be issued to the:

  • tourist outfitter
  • director
  • officer
  • partner of the tourist outfitter
  • the tourist outfitter’s immediate relatives (spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild)
  • persons employed by their business within the past year or otherwise authorized to act on the tourist outfitter’s behalf

Hunters who will receive a tag as part of their hunt must pay for their tag at the same time or after they purchase their moose licence. Once the hunter has paid for the tag, it will be reflected on the hunter’s licence summary.

Once the hunter arrives for the hunt, the outfitter provides the tag only after the hunter produces their valid Outdoors Card and licence summary listing the tag information as proof of purchase.

Moose hunting licences

Any client wishing to hunt in Ontario must have a valid Outdoors Card and appropriate hunter accreditation to buy a moose hunting licence.

Before your client can buy a hunting licence, their hunter accreditation must be on file with the Fish and Wildlife Licensing Service.

  • Ontario residents must provide proof of successfully completing Ontario’s Hunter Education Program requirement (or an Ontario-recognized equivalent) to a participating ServiceOntario location.
  • Non-residents must plan ahead and submit their hunting accreditation in advance. To do so, advise your clients to call the Natural Resources Information and Support Centre at 1-800-387-7011 prior to visiting Ontario.

To get a moose hunting licence, you can advise your client to do one of the following:

  1. submit their hunter accreditation directly to NDMNRF to approve and enter into their account. This allows the client to buy a moose licence and other hunting products online prior to arriving in Ontario. Or they can stop at a licence issuer or participating ServiceOntario location in Ontario to buy their licence and tag, if applicable.
  2. stop at a licence issuer or participating ServiceOntario location in Ontario to submit their hunter accreditation and buy a moose licence and tag, if applicable, or any other hunting-related products

Registered guest form

All moose hunters who receive a tag from a tourist outfitter or are party hunting on an outfitter moose tag must be registered guests of the outfitter who provided the tag.

NDMNRF will provide outfitters a package of materials in the late summer with the registered guest form and annual agreement. The tourist outfitter must complete this form and provide it to each of their registered guests. Further details will be provided with the outfitter agreement in late summer.

Black bear operator requirements

Validation certificates

To apply for and receive black bear validation certificates for your non-resident clients, you need to:

Your licence identifies the bear management area located on Crown land and any private land areas where you can provide bear hunting services to your clients.

To use private land listed on your licence, you will need to have the landowner’s written permission. You cannot provide hunting services on private land located in a bear management area that is licenced to another bear operator.

Mandatory hunter reporting

At the end of the hunt, you will need to ensure all non-resident bear and moose hunters and resident hunters issued a moose tag complete their mandatory hunter report on the proper form provided by the ministry.

Key dates

You must return the pertinent copies of issued, unissued, cancelled and void validation certificates for bear and completed moose or black bear hunter reports, to the local NDMNRF district office that gave you the moose tags or black bear validation certificates by:

  • June 29 for spring black bear hunting
  • December 14 for fall black bear hunting
  • December 29 for moose hunting

If you do not return the reports by the required deadlines. you are subject to penalties, including not receiving tags or validation certificates for your guests for the following year’s hunt.