The OFAH understands that the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on fishing and hunting in Ontario has raised many questions within the outdoors community. With that in mind, we have updated our original list of frequently asked questions and answers for anglers and hunters. As we all continue to try to navigate and understand the challenges posed by this unprecedented situation, further updates will be added.
See below. If you didn’t see your question answered here, then please contact us at email@example.com.
The Government of Ontario has not made any direct changes to fishing and hunting. While publicly accessible areas may be open, the Government of Ontario has stated that "Every individual shall remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving is necessary" for an essential purpose. Additionally, social gatherings with people outside of your household are limited to 5 people or fewer, outside, and physically distanced. If you’re fishing or hunting, follow social distancing guidelines. While hunting and fishing are not prohibited activities, you may be fined for breaking COVID-19 restrictions. You can find more information on closures and OFAH’s health and safety advice for anglers and hunters at ofah.org/covid19.
There is currently nothing preventing fishing from a boat, as long as you are following all public health rules and guidelines. Check with your local marina or boat launch operator prior to going out to ensure that you are following all of your local guidelines. Transport Canada has information regarding the use of pleasure craft at the following link.
Crown land camping is currently prohibited until further notice. Full details can be found here.Ontario Parks has closed all campground and backcountry campsites and roofed accommodations (cabins, yurts, etc.) for the duration of the stay-at-home order. However, Ontario Parks "remain open and continue to provide facilities and services for local and safe outdoor recreation day-use activities.
As of April 17th, 2021, marinas cannot be used for recreational boating purposes except: “repairing or servicing boats or other watercraft; placing boats or other watercraft in the water to be secured to a dock until the marina is open to the public; and any other services that may be required to enable individuals to access their place of residence or their other property, support government operations or services, or support the transportation of items by commercial barges”.
All outdoor recreational amenities, including CFO approved shooting ranges, golf courses and basketball courts will be closed until further notice.
There are no specific COVID-19 guidelines for anglers and hunters, it is prohibited to gather indoors with people outside of your household (this includes at hunt camps or in ice huts) and outdoor gatherings must be socially distant and cannot exceed 5 people. Also, the Government of Ontario is asking all Ontario residents to limit unessential travel. You can find OFAH’s health and safety advice for anglers and hunters at ofah.org/covid19.
Yes. While private businesses and retail store closures have significantly reduced the number of licence issuers available to purchase products in person, many ServiceOntario locations offer this service and remain open. Please note: the Government of Ontario is urging ‘Ontarians not to visit a ServiceOntario centre unless completely necessary’. Ontario fishing and hunting licence products can also be purchased by phone (1-800-288-1155) or online at huntandfishontario.com.
Crown land camping is currently prohibited until further notice. Day use activities (such as fishing and hunting) are still allowed. Full details can be found here.
Camping on Crown land is currently prohibited, however this does not prohibit the use of Crown land leases or Land Use Permits, such as hunt camps. Full details can be found here. However, the government has asked that no one travel for non-essential reasons. Additionally, only people in the same household may gather inside. Hotels, motels, lodges, cabins, cottages, resorts and other shared rental accommodation may continue to be open but any indoor recreational facilities will be closed. Seasonal campgrounds are permitted to stay open only for trailers and recreational vehicles used by individuals in need of housing or are permitted to be there by seasonal contract.
The OFAH is encouraging all anglers and hunters to abide by all government Orders and follow government public health guidelines to ensure the safety of themselves and others. Where anglers and hunters live in the province, the opportunities available to them, and other factors will determine whether someone should go fishing or hunting. The direction of public health officials is paramount right now and every angler and hunter needs to take an honest look at their situation and determine if they can fish and hunt within those guidelines. More details on OFAH’s advice to anglers and hunters is available here: ofah.org/safetytips.
There is an option to take the hunter education course online. Visit ohep.net for more details. Currently, the firearms course is not available.
Licences and tags can still be purchased online and printed at home. Also, select Service Ontario sites and licence issuers are still open. Visit here for a list of Service Ontario closures. Note that not all Service Ontario’s provide licensing services. If these options are not accessible to you, you can purchase your licences, tags, and apply to draws over the phone at 1-800-288-1155. Only Outdoors Cards are mailed out, you will still need to print your licences and/or tags. If you have purchased a tag over the phone, you could have a trusted individual make an account for you at huntandfishontario.com and print your licence and/or tags for you. You can learn how to make an account here.
Yes, Conservation Officers continue to perform their duties to safeguard our natural resources and protect public safety.
Yes, a Conservation Officer is considered a provincial offences officer under Provincial Offences Act and can therefore issue fines under the EMCPA.
The Emergency measures took effect on April 8th, and will be in effect for at least 28 days.
Note that some Health Units are closing certain outdoor trails due to people not following distancing and group size restrictions, check with your local Health Unit before assuming something is open.
Last modified on April 21st, 2021 at 10:19 am.
Disclaimer: Nothing stated on this page should be interpreted as legal advice. It is information-based only. Please follow provincial and local guidelines.