Provincial officials say winter hunting includes public safety
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would like to remind small game and coyote hunters that parts of Ontario offer excellent winter hunting opportunities. Over the winter, conservation officers will be out talking with hunters about how to stay safe. Top safety tips:
- Never carry loaded firearms in or on a vehicle (including all-terrain vehicles).
- Never shoot from or across a roadway.
- Handle firearms with care and attention at all times.
- Always know what you are shooting at and what’s behind it.
- Never drink alcohol or take impairing drugs while hunting.
- Remember that public lands are used for many activities ― watch out for hikers, skiers, birdwatchers, etc.
- Make sure you dispose of hides and entrails safely and ethically. Before you hunt, ask your municipality whether they accept carcasses.
When hunting on private lands, hunters must make sure they have the landowner’s permission. Those who wish to hunt with dogs must get specific permission for that.
Conservation officers may ask to see hunters’ licences and to inspect firearms. Hunters should keep licences with them while hunting.
Those hunting for coyotes should be aware of sarcoptic mange, an infection caused by tiny mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) that burrow into animals’ skin. Mange is transmitted through direct contact, especially in winter when coyotes huddle together at night for warmth. Coyotes with mange can lose some or all of their hair, leading to hypothermia, which can be fatal.
The mites that cause mange can be transferred to humans, causing a bothersome rash and itchy skin (scabies). Know the signs and be aware. For more about human-coyote conflicts click or tap on: https://www.ontario.ca/page/preventing-and-managing-conflicts-coyotes-wolves-and-foxes
More information is available in the 2018-2019 Hunting Regulations Summary available at ontario.ca/hunting. Hunters can also reach out to their local MNRF enforcement unit. Conservation officers are available to help and answer questions.
To report a natural resources violation, call the MNRF TIPS line toll-free at 1-877-847-7667 any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). And visit Ontario.ca/mnrftips to view a searchable map of unsolved cases. You may be able to provide information that will help solve a case.
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