More hunters than moose as Ontario gun moose season opens
Hunters are descending on northeastern Ontario this weekend for the start of the gun moose hunting season.
But this time, the calf hunting season lasts for only two weeks — and there are fewer moose hunting tags to go around.
A senior wildlife biologist for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said the changes are a response to a shrinking moose population.
"So we're not in a crisis situation by any means but, certainly, until things start to turn around we will notice fewer moose hunting opportunities than we used to see in the past," Mark Ryckman said.
A declining moose population affects tourism and local economies in northern Ontario, he noted.
"If there are fewer and fewer people traveling to northern Ontario from different areas of the province, those local economies are going to be noticeably impacted by having fewer people purchasing food and purchasing gas and/or paying for accommodation and things like that."
There are about 80,000-90,000 moose in the province, but there are more than 100,000 hunters, Ryckman said.
The province has responded to the decline by shortening the moose calf hunting season to two weeks, and limiting the number of moose tags that are available.