Significant changes to moose hunting come into effect this year

bull moose

Results from a Moose Management Review conducted in 2019 indicated that Ontario hunters were in favour of changes which would benefit moose populations as well as improve how tags are distributed with a more fair system. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry began implementing improvements in 2020 with significant changes kicking in for this year’s hunt.

Starting in 2021, moose tags will be distributed to Ontario residents using a points-based tag allocation process. The process will begin this April and will consist of a primary allocation stage and a second chance allocation stage. All hunters will apply as individuals and there will no longer be any group applications.

This new allocation process:

  • addresses concerns about fairness
  • distributes all tag types to resident hunters
  • allows hunters to purchase only the products they need
  • increases hunters’ ability to predict when they are likely to be awarded a tag
  • gives hunters more choices when applying
  • lets hunters decide whether to apply using their points or to gain a point
  • allows hunters awarded a tag the ability to decide whether to claim it
  • provides most allocation results much earlier
  • continues to provide Northern resident hunters with a small preference by receiving one additional (non-accumulating) point
  • supports moose hunter recruitment and retention
  • eliminates surplus tag distribution and provides a second chance allocation
  • does not allow tag transfers (except in exceptional circumstances)

You can learn more about the benefits of this new allocation process here.

2021 changes

Starting in 2021, moose tags will be distributed to Ontario residents using a points-based tag allocation process.

How the points process will work:

  • All hunters will apply as individuals. There will be no group applications.
  • Hunters will start with one point for each year they applied for the moose draw since last receiving an adult tag. This is the case whether the tag was received directly through the draw or by tag transfer.
    • For example, if you applied for the draw for five years but didn’t receive an adult tag, you will have five points beginning in 2021.
    • Your previous draw applications do not need to be consecutive for you to receive points. For example, if you applied for the draw four times in the past eight years, you will receive four points.
  • Initially, points will be calculated based on a hunter’s draw history from 1993 through 2020. Your draw history and points are available through your Fish and Wildlife Services account. Learn how to view your:
    • draw entry and results
    • moose points from your online account
  • Hunters will have gained a point in 2020 if they:
    • received a calf tag through the 2020 draw
    • were unsuccessful applicants
    • applied to “WMU 99Z” because they did not wish to be issued a tag
    • received a surplus tag
    • made a tag transfer

Tag allocation

Tags will be allocated in a two-stage process.

  1. In general, the applicants with the most points will be awarded the available tags for each WMU, season and moose type. Hunters awarded a tag will choose whether to claim it by purchasing the tag and a licence. If a hunter claims a tag awarded based on points, their points will reset to zero.
  2. In the second chance allocation stage, if a hunter claims a tag awarded randomly, the hunter will keep their points and gain a point.

Under the new process moose tag transfers are no longer permitted. In exceptional circumstances such as injury, illness or death of the tag holder or an immediate family member; or redeployment by the Canadian Armed Forces, a tag transfer may be considered with written request and documentation.

Changes to tag types and harvest management

  • Tag types will be:
    • bull tags valid only for harvest of a bull moose
    • cow/calf tags valid for either a cow or a calf moose
    • calf tags valid only for the harvest of a calf moose
  • Calf tag quotas will be implemented in all WMUs with a moose season and the calf season will be extended to the full length of the moose hunting seasons.
    • Calf tags will no longer be issued with a moose licence, but WMU-specific calf tags can be applied for through the allocation process.
    • Calf tags will be valid for the full length of all moose hunting seasons in each WMU (regardless of firearm types allowed).

Licensing and fee changes

The fees related to moose hunting are becoming fairer in 2021. Hunters will only pay for the products they require, depending on their success in the allocation process.

  • Hunters will pay a fee of $15.00 to apply for a tag instead of being required to buy a moose licence before applying.
  • The cost of a resident moose licence will be reduced to $35.29.
  • A hunter can purchase a moose hunting licence if they wish to party hunt with another tag holder without ever applying to the allocation process.
  • If a hunter claims a tag, they are awarded through the allocation process, they would be required to purchase a licence and their tag.
  • Moose tags will cost $30.00 for calf tags, $150.00 for cow/calf tags and $200.00 for bull tags. These prices reflect hunter demand and ensure continued support for the management of this valuable resource.

In 2021, hunters will no longer be required to purchase a moose license before applying to the tag allocation process. The application fee for a tag will be $15.00. If a hunter is unsuccessful in the allocation process and elects not to purchase a moose hunting licence to party hunt with another tag holder, they will save $35.29 per year.

If a hunter prefers not to apply to the allocation process they can save $15.00 and still purchase a $35.29 moose hunting licence to party hunt.

For more information about the review and the changes for 2021, visit the Moose Management Review page on the website.