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.
Yes. The Reopening Ontario Act states that you may rent out an ice fishing hut if: (a) the ice fishing hut will only be used by members of the same household, and (b) the ice fishing hut will not be used overnight.
While there is nothing restricting Crown land camping at this time, 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 winter recreation day-use activities."
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.
The MNRF has said “We are planning to go ahead with fall hunts as scheduled. In the event that big game hunting seasons are closed due to public health restrictions, the ministry is considering options for reimbursement or credits for purchased big game licences and draw applications (elk). The ministry will provide detailed communications to hunters in the event of hunting season closures.”. In order to ensure you receive the most up to date information, we recommend signing up for OFAH e-news here: ofah.org/enews.
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.
Yes, there are no COVID-19 related restrictions on the use of Crown land, for more information and to stay up to date, please visit ofah.org/covid19closures.
There are currently no restrictions on the use of Crown land leases or Land Use Permits, such as hunt camps. 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.
The Ontario Government is requesting that people do not travel for non-essential purposes. The safest way to go fishing is if you can fish locally without making any stops to and from your fishing spot. When outside you can gather in a group of 5 people if you can maintain the 2m social distancing. You can not gather inside with individuals who are not a part of your household (this includes in an ice hut).
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 will take effect on Thursday, January 14th, but it is not clear on how long they will be in effect.
Snowmobile, cross country, dogsledding, ice-skating and snow-shoe trails are permitted to remain open. 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. Outdoor shooting ranges, including those operated by rod and gun clubs, are permitted to remain open as long as visitors can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from any other person who is using the facility.
Last modified on January 21st, 2021 at 10:18 am.