Amendments to Regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to establish a hunting regime for elk (including hunting methods and associated requirements consistent with Elk Harvest Management Guidelines) and to establish an open season for hunting elk in specific Wildlife Management Units

Regulation Number(s):
Ontario Regulation 665/98
Ontario Regulation 670/98
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Summary of Decision:
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
August 30, 2010
Summary of Proposal:
Between 1998 and 2001 the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), in collaboration with many partners and volunteers, released 443 elk from Elk Island National Park in Alberta at four locations (Bancroft, Blind River, south of Sudbury and south of Kenora) across the province as part of an elk restoration program. Since 1998, monitoring has revealed that restored elk herds have grown, dispersed and in some areas struggled with Ontario’s diverse landscape patterns and uses.

In 2009, the ministry released Ontario’s Cervid Ecological Framework which provides overarching provincial guidance for the sustainable management of all Ontario’s cervid species. Consistent with the Cervid Ecological Framework, and in response to the need for more species specific guidance for the management of Ontario’s elk populations, the ministry released an Elk Management Plan in 2010, following public and stakeholder consultations.

One of the objectives of the Elk Management Plan and of the original restoration program includes the provision of recreational hunting opportunities where self-sustaining elk populations exist. These proposed regulations would establish an elk hunting regime that is consistent with the supporting policy documents, and would include the following elements:

A) Establish a hunting regime through amendments to Ontario Regulation (O. Reg) 665/98 (Hunting) that would permit the hunting of elk, including:

General provisions
• A valid Ontario Resident Outdoors Card plus an elk licence would be required to hunt elk.
• An elk seal must be attached to any elk killed.
• A person would only be permitted to hunt the age or sex of elk specified on their licence.
• The wearing of hunter orange would be required.
• If elk are hunted on private land, a hunter would be required to carry written permission from the landowner(s).
• Mandatory reporting would be required for each person who receives an elk seal.
• The use of dogs would not be permitted while hunting elk.

Firearms provisions
• All classes of firearms could be used to hunt elk (i.e. bows, rifles, shotguns and muzzleloading guns).
• The same firearm restrictions that apply for moose hunting would apply to elk hunting (e.g. minimum draw weight, shot size, centre-fire rifle).

Hunting in a party
• Party hunting would be limited to a total of four individuals (i.e. the successful applicant and up to three party members as specified on their elk draw application).

B) Establish an open season for elk in specific Wildlife Management Units under O. Reg. 670/98 (Open Seasons)
• Amend Table 1 in the regulation to establish an open season for hunting elk (3rd Monday in September to the following Sunday) in WMUs 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, and 63A.
Although the whole WMU will have an open season, elk hunting may be restricted to specific portions of the WMU.
Contact Address:
300 Water Street
P.O. Box 7000
5th Floor North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 8M5
Effective Date:
January 1, 2011