Big changes are coming for hunters who participate in Ontario’s controlled deer hunt program.
In 2023, the provincial government has committed to a host of changes that include new timelines around the application period and draw results, along with new dates for when additional tags and farmer and landowner validations will be available.
According to a letter sent to OFAH from the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Graydon Smith, the changes will result in:
- the controlled deer draw application period being open from July 1-31
- draw results available on September 1, which is nearly six weeks earlier than in previous years
- additional controlled deer tags becoming available September 8
- farmer and landowner controlled deer hunt validations becoming available starting July 1
Controlled deer hunts were implemented in the early 1980s to address ongoing conflicts between landowners and hunters in southern Ontario and the OFAH has been seeking a full review of the program since 2013 to ensure it is still serving its intended purpose.
These changes, especially when it comes to adjusting the timing around draw dates, are welcomed.
“The timing of the controlled deer hunt draw has been a point of frustration for many hunters for a long time because it didn’t give hunters sufficient time to plan, particularly hunters that hunt multiple species in different parts of the province,” explains OFAH Manager of Policy, Mark Ryckman. “Minister Smith’s decision to make the draw results available almost six weeks earlier is incredibly positive news.”
OFAH advocacy was an important driver to the changes the government is making to the controlled hunt program.
“Your feedback is important to us, and we appreciate OFAH’s dedication to advocate for hunters across Ontario,” Minister Smith’s letter to the OFAH read.“We look forward to continuing to work with you to help remove barriers to hunting in Ontario.”