Conservation Officers promote safe hunting for Ontario’s Wild Turkeys

Ontario’s Wild Turkey Seasons Opens Wednesday- BE SAFE!

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all of Ontario’s wild turkey hunters a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt. Only 25 years ago it was rare to see a wild turkey in Ontario, but thanks to re-introduction programs and responsible hunting practices, thousands of Ontarians now have the opportunity to enjoy a day in the field in search of this amazing game bird.

Three Tom Strutting

 

 

While the vast majority of hunters respect the regulations and the ethical aspects of the hunt, there is potential for abuse of both the resource and the private land upon which most hunting takes place. Fortunately, a combination of a mandatory turkey hunter education program, responsible hunters, and active enforcement efforts by Conservation Officers (COs) has resulted in many seasons of safe hunts.

 

“Every year there are a small number of hunters who refuse to follow the rules that are in place to ensure a safe hunt”, says OCOA President Mike Duncan, himself an active turkey hunter. “We will continue to actively enforce the laws, to ensure that this sport remains safe”, adds Duncan.

 

Hunters are reminded that permission is required to hunt on private land, where most turkey hunting occurs. It is illegal in most of southern Ontario to hunt on or from public road rights of way between tracts of private land. In addition, it is illegal to hunt turkeys within 400 metres of where bait has been deposited.

 

“Our officers will always investigate reports of trespassing and road hunting, and we encourage responsible hunters to report illegal hunting immediately. This will help to keep both hunters and members of the public safe during the hunt”, said Duncan.

 

In addition to the regulations directed at safety, there are a number of rules specific to turkey hunting that hunters new to the sport may not be aware of. These laws are needed to ensure not only a safe hunt, but a hunt that will ensure that turkey populations remain sustainable.

 

The OCOA encourages hunters to contact their local CO if they have any questions about the regulations regarding turkey hunting. “Our officers are always willing to spend a few minutes talking to hunters to make sure that they understand the rules of the hunt before heading out”, said Duncan.

 

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources violation reporting line at 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667), contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at

http://www.ocoa.cawww.ocoa.ca

Or contact your local Conservation Officer.