Up North

Proposed wolf, coyote hunting rule changes may benefit moose population

Wolf hunters in Northern Ontario are getting what some would consider a Christmas gift from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
Ontario's largest fishing and hunting organization is applauding a proposal by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to help increase the wolf harvest in the northern part of the province. (Derek Meier)
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is looking at proposed changes to wolf hunting rules in northern Ontario. The CBC's Gord Ellis gathered reaction. 8:19

Wolf hunters in Northern Ontario are getting what some would consider a Christmas gift from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  

The ministry is proposing that wolves be legally hunted under a small game licence, removing the need for a game seal.

A spokesperson with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters told CBC News the move should make it easier for hunters to target the predator.
Mark Ryckman, senior wildlife biologist with the OFAH, says Ontario hunters will require only a small game hunting licence to hunt a wolf, but harvest will be restricted. (OFAH)

"They've eliminated the small financial burden that existed with respect to purchasing game seals, as well as some of the accessibility issues that are experienced in parts of northern Ontario, where a licence issuer could be hard to come by," Mark Ryckman said.

While OFAH supports the MNR proposal, as it should help control wolf predation on moose in the north, Ryckman said an annual harvest limit of two may not be enough to make an impact in areas of high wolf density.

"The idea is to create a benefit for moose populations, by reducing slightly [the] wolf populations in certain areas," he continued.

"Maintaining a two-wolf limit per hunter per year may not actually be sufficient to create a benefit for some moose populations."

But Ryckman concedes completely opening up the wolf and coyote harvest "would just look bad."

"It would seem like they (MNRF) don't care about wolves and coyotes," he said.

"That is not the case. I know they do manage them sustainably, and we support their management program in principle. There is certainly a concern about going too far."  

People can give their input on the ministry's amendment to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Northern Ontario until Jan. 18, 2016.

The MNRF says the proposed changes will not happen until 2017.

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