The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) calls the Province’s new scheme for preferential treatment of northern residents in the provincial moose tag lottery “unproductive and divisive.”
Those were the words that the Federation used in attempts to dissuade the Liberal government from following through with its election promise to give moose tags exclusively to northern Ontario residents. The O.F.A.H. wrote to the Minister of Natural Resources urging him not to proceed with his party’s election promise.
The O.F.A.H. elected Board of Directors, made up of northern and southern Ontario residents, rejected, in principle, any change to the moose tag lottery system that would not treat all Ontario resident hunters equitably.
“Wildlife is a provincial resource that belongs to all residents of Ontario equally,” says O.F.A.H. Executive Director Mike Reader. “We urged the Minister not to treat some Ontario residents preferentially over others, because it would not accomplish anything for improved moose conservation; it would only divide northern and southern hunters.”
Neil Wiens, O.F.A.H. past president and resident of Thunder Bay, Ontario noted, “As a founding principle of conservation, the O.F.A.H. has always supported the fair and equitable treatment of resident moose hunters, regardless of age, residency within Ontario, land ownership and wealth, in the moose draw.”
The proposal will not have any impact on moose conservation – Ontario’s 110,000 moose hunters already participate in a provincial lottery for the limited number of tags available (16,000). The proposal should not result in more moose being harvested.
Ontario’s moose population has grown from 85,000 to approximately 125,000 over the last 20 years. The O.F.A.H. would like to see it grow to its potential of 150,000.
“To really please both northern and southern Ontario moose hunters, the Minister should focus on more improvements in moose management – get more local moose populations to where they should be in all areas of the province. This would be the preferred way to increase tags and equitable hunting opportunities – not creating two classes of Ontario citizenry,” added Wiens.
|Ed Reid |
O.F.A.H. Wildlife Biologist