The OFAH has confirmed with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) that they will not be preventing hunters who failed to complete a 2020 mandatory hunter report from purchasing licences in 2021.
This is welcomed news to hunters who received non-compliance notices from the MNRF starting last spring when wild turkey and spring bear hunter reports were due, and right up until the most recent reports for deer and wolf/coyote, which were due last week. The notices said that hunters ‘may’ not be able to purchase a licence in 2021, so the uncertainty was creating understandable anxiety.
The OFAH encourages all hunters to participate in mandatory reporting. The obvious incentive for each individual hunter is so that they can continue to hunt, but it also can have a big impact on wildlife management decisions in Ontario.
“The data hunters provide tracks harvest rates and reveals crucial information about our wildlife populations. This supports responsible wildlife management that identifies and addresses conservation concerns early, but also aids in ensuring ongoing and new sustainable hunting opportunities,” says Dr. Keith Munro, OFAH Wildlife Biologist. “While the OFAH supports mandatory hunter reporting as an important tool for Ontario’s wildlife management, we applaud the MNRF for recognizing the challenges and distractions the people of Ontario faced in 2020 and continue to face in early 2021.”
People have a lot on their minds with the chaos of a pandemic as they navigate their daily lives around lockdowns, public health restrictions, and working to hold their families together with isolation, employment uncertainty, new online learning for kids, and the many other challenges it brings. The OFAH expects that the need for the mental and physical health benefits of outdoor activities like hunting will remain as important as ever in 2021, and this decision by MNRF will ensure more hunters have that option.