Wolf and coyote hunting to be deregulated in Northern Ontario to placate moose hunters
As thousands of people are disappointed to learn that 2019’s last possible Public Wolf Howl will not go forward this evening in Algonquin Park, the Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is revisiting a proposal to liberalize hunting of wolves and coyotes across 750,000km2 of northern Ontario.
A similar proposal was announced and subsequently abandoned by the previous provincial government in 2016 after hearing from over 10,000 Ontario residents concerned about its lack of ethical and scientific rationale to boost dwindling moose populations. Comments on the current proposal are open until September 26th, 2019.
The regulation changes will allow any small game hunter to kill as many eastern coyotes as they want between September 1st and June 15th – a period that incorporates the coyote pupping season – as well as up to two wolves/year between September 15th and March 31st in this area of the north. Hunters will no longer need to purchase special game seals or report to MNRF about how many wolves and coyotes they are killing each year.
MNRF’s own website “Factors that affect moose survival” explains how wolf hunting will do nothing or very little to boost moose numbers because hunting reduces wolf pack size, and smaller wolf packs do not kill significantly fewer moose than larger packs.
“Getting rid of reporting requirements makes it glaringly obvious that the Ministry isn’t even planning on studying whether such an unethical and unscientific regulation change will benefit moose. Hunters could wind up killing hundreds or even thousands of wolves and coyotes each year and we’d have no idea,” notes Hannah Barron, Director of Wildlife Conservation Campaigns for Earthroots.
“Eastern coyotes are not major predators of moose, they are generalists able to survive on rodents and other small mammals. Under the guise of moose conservation, this proposal was designed to appease those who persecute wolves and coyotes. The removal of bag limits, game seals, reporting requirements and closed seasons all encourage mass predator killing, which already happens in southern Ontario,” said Lesley Sampson, Executive Director of Coyote Watch Canada.
“I’m worried about what this mismanagement could mean for our wolves and coyotes, but also how it distracts from dealing with moose declines directly. The Ministry should phase out calf hunting and manage habitat at the ecosystem level to increase resiliency as the changing climate results in wildlife range shifts, increased parasite loads and altered vegetation and wildfire patterns,” notes Barron.