Hunting season is on the horizon.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says within the next few weeks, different types of moose hunting will be opening up.  Conservation Officer Ron Arnold says there are some rules, especially around guns, that you need to be aware of before hitting the bush. “Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, never point a firearm at anything you don’t have an intention of shooting, make sure you know your target, especially what is beyond the target and always maintain muscle control.”

Arnold says there are a few other things hunters need to pay attention to including:

  • All hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (a minimum of 400 square inches or 2,580 square centimetres above the waist) and a hunter orange head cover during gun seasons for deer, moose and elk. Outside the gun seasons for deer, moose and elk these requirements also apply to bear hunters who are not hunting from a tree stand.
  • It is illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle including on All Terrain Vehicle (ATV).
  • It is illegal to discharge a firearm from or across the travelled portion of a right of way for public vehicular traffic. In many parts of Ontario, it is also illegal to have a loaded firearm, or discharge a firearm, in any part of the right of way.
  • Never drink alcohol and hunt.
  • If you hunt from a tree stand always wear a safety harness and use a rope to raise and lower your firearm.

Some other general reminders are to:

  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will be returning.
  • Know the weather conditions in your hunting area and dress accordingly.                  
  • In an emergency, stay calm and stay put.
  • Avoid hypothermia. Know how to treat it if it strikes.
  • Keep rested, hydrated and well nourished.
  • Carry a survival kit and a small first aid kit with you at all times.
  • Know how to build a fire in all weather conditions and carry the supplies to start one.
  • Carry a map and compass or GPS unit and know how to use them.
  • Carry a fully charged cellular phone

The MNRF is also reminding you to know your moose identifications before you go hunting. Arnold says “you should know the difference between what is a bull versus a cow versus a calf.” He adds that “if you accidentally harvest the wrong sex or age of a big game mammal, please contact your local conservation officer immediately because we don’t want to have any animals wasted out there in the field.”

Arnold adds that you should check the MNRF website before heading out so you can familiarize yourself with all the rules and starting dates. He says if you see any hunting violations, you should contact the MNRF tip line at 1-877-847-7667.