Author Archives: Dan Slater

Wild Turkey Hunting Season

Posted on April 19, 2019.

WILD TURKEY HUNTING SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all of Ontario’s wild turkey hunters a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt. The 2019 spring wild turkey season in most of Ontario opens on April 25th and is a result of the reintroduction of wild turkeys to Ontario in the late 1980’s. The subsequent growth of turkey populations allowed for a limited hunt that has expanded over the years as the number of birds continues to grow.

“Wild turkey season gives hunters a chance to get back out into the outdoors and enjoy nature in the spring”, says Sean Cronsberry, OCOA President and active turkey hunter. “Wild turkey hunters can expect to encounter our officers in the field as we conduct hunter inspections to ensure everyone is following the rules and to ensure that the sport of turkey hunting continues to be a safe sport.”

Hunters are reminded that the hunting and fishing licensing system in Ontario has seen some recent changes, this includes changes to the tagging requirement of certain harvested animals.  Hunters are encouraged to review the new regulations in the 2019 Hunting Regulations Summary which is available online at https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-hunting-regulations-summary. If hunters still have questions about the new regulations they are encouraged to contact their local Conservation Officer for more information.

“Hunters should also be aware that many of the set fines for offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act changed this year,” adds Cronsberry, “Safety related offences such as having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and shooting from a road way now have a set fine of $500 plus surcharge.”  A complete list of set fines for offences under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 can be found at http://www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/set-fines/set-fines-i/.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related violation is encouraged to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, 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.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.  And please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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For more information contact:
Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.ca

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Ice Fishing Season is Here

Posted on January 22, 2019.

Ice Fishing Season is Here

Many of Ontario’s thousands of lakes across the province are host to excellent ice fishing opportunities and many of Ontario’s angling enthusiasts are taking advantage of the great conditions after the recent cold weather. The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to remind anglers and anyone venturing on to frozen water bodies to put safety first.

“Winter fishing is the time of year where many anglers are able to access their favourite fishing spots that are inaccessible during the open water season,” said OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “but anglers need to be sure that ice conditions are safe and they have the equipment with them to deal with an emergency.  By following some simple safety measures, it could save your life, or the life of someone else.”

Ice safety tips:

  • Check ice thickness and conditions frequently
  • Clear ice should be a minimum of 10cm (4”) for walking and ice fishing, 12cm (5”) for one snowmobile or ATV, 20-30cm (8-12”) a car or small pickup, 30-38cm (12-15”) for a medium truck (source: Lifesaving Society)
  • Fish with a buddy
  • Be prepared for an emergency – wear ice picks or a floater/survival suit, and have a whistle and cell phone on hand
  • Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return. This should include where your vehicle will be parked, what route you plan to take and any stops you plan to make.
  • Stay off rivers and away from locks, where ice is less stable.  Ice conditions in areas of moving water or spring fed lakes can be potentially unsafe at any time, ensure the ice is safe before venturing out.

“Conservation officers across Ontario regularly come across groups or individuals who are ill-equipped should trouble occur,” said Cronsberry. “We strongly encourage everyone out on the ice to be prepared and have a plan on how to deal with an emergency.  Should an accident occur, being prepared will greatly increase your chance of rescue and survival.”

Anglers are reminded to carry valid fishing, snowmobile and ATV licenses with them at all times. They should also be sure to review the 2019 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, available online and at Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) offices.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the MNRF violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.

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For more information contact:

Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.ca                                         

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Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart, Hunt Sober

Posted on October 15, 2018.

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart, Hunt Sober

With the upcoming legalization of Cannabis on October 17th, 2018 the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to take this opportunity to remind hunters to always practice safe, responsible and sober hunting.

“The handling of a firearm is a very serious matter and safe handling can’t be stressed enough” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry. “Impairment of any kind, either by drugs or alcohol, can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences.”

In addition to hunting sober the OCOA would also like remind hunters to hunt safely and to remember ACTS and PROVE:

  • Assume every firearm is loaded
  • Control the muzzle direction at all times
  • Trigger finger must be kept off the trigger and out of the trigger guard
  • See that the firearm is unloaded – PROVE it safe
  • Point the firearm in the safest available direction
  • Remove all ammunition
  • Observe the chamber
  • Verify the feeding path
  • Examine the bore

“By practicing safe and sober hunting we hope everyone has an enjoyable and successful hunting season.” concludes Cronsberry.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local CO directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Facebooktwittertumblr

Fall Boating – It Takes a Little Bit More Care

Posted on September 17, 2018.

     

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fall Boating – It Takes A Little Bit More Care

September 17th, 2018 – Toronto, ON — Boating in the fall offers colourful vistas, quiet anchorages and excellent fishing but it is not without its challenges that necessitate self-sufficiency and taking some additional precautions to keep from running into trouble.

The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind all boaters enjoying the fall season on the water to follow these tips to ensure that their excursions are both safe and enjoyable.

Before heading out, be sure to check the weather forecast. The mixing of warm and cold air can quickly spawn high winds and waves making it treacherous for small boats.  Fog, too, is an issue at this time of year making visibility difficult.  Should boaters find themselves in a fog bank, they should proceed slowly and sound their horn at regular intervals to alert other boaters of their presence.

Well into October, daytime temperatures can occasionally be balmy but dressing for the water temperature will help slow the onset of hypothermia should the unexpected happen and the boater find himself in the water.    Accidental cold water immersion can be shocking, but people shouldn’t panic.  It may take a minute or so to get their breathing under control after the initial shock but they will have at least 10-15 minutes, even in very cold water, to affect self-rescue before they start to lose muscle control in their arms and legs.  This is where an approved life jacket, either inflatable or inherently buoyant, is an essential part of a boater’s wardrobe to keep them afloat after they can no longer swim.

In the fall, there are fewer other boats on the water to offer assistance, if needed. Boaters should be sure to leave a float plan with a responsible person on shore who will know what to do if they’re overdue.  A marine radio or cell phone will allow them to call for assistance should the need arise.  Having a few tools and spare parts aboard will also allow them to fix minor problems that might otherwise cause them to be stranded out on the water.

It’s important that boaters ensure that their boat and engine are in good shape and mechanically sound.   Ethanol-based fuel can allow water contamination in the tank.  The use of a fuel additive prevents water in the fuel line from freezing which could cause the engine to chug to a halt.  If the boat has portable fuel tanks, it’s a good idea to have a spare on board as a reserve.

When boaters head out, they should be wary of reduced water levels that can result after a long, hot and dry summer season.  Some of a boater’s favourite shallow water fishing holes may be inaccessible at this time of year.  Also, while underway, they should keep a sharp lookout for debris and chunks of ice that could penetrate the boat’s hull at speed.

“Spectacular colours, peaceful solitude and the crispness of the air make boating in the fall a wondrous experience,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “To make the most of this experience safely, however, boaters need to be extra diligent in their preparations before departing. Most important of these are checking the weather, dressing for the water temperature, wearing a life jacket and leaving a float plan with a responsible person on shore who can call for help should the need arise.”

“Our members always wear their PFDs when on patrol,” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “I strongly encourage everyone to wear their PFD or life jacket while on the water, whether they are hunting, fishing or trapping, especially this time of year with the dropping in water temperature.”

“To Ontario’s hunters using a vessel to access their blind or stand and to the angler trying to catch a big fish may be the goal, but making it home safely should be the top priority when on the water.”

Now that fall is here, boaters should make the most of what’s left of the boating season before the cold weather hits. By exercising a little caution and an ability to be self-sufficient when out on the water, they can more fully enjoy nature’s splendour and quiet waterways.  Visit www.csbc.ca for more tips on boating safety.

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For further information contact:    

Ian Gilson, Director
Canadian Safe Boating Council
905-719-5152
igilson@rogers.com

Sean Cronsberry, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
scronsberry@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr

Fall Salmon Migration

Posted on September 13, 2018.

2018 Fall Salmon Migration Coming to a River Near You

The month of September symbolizes the annual fall migration of salmon up some of Ontario’s rivers.  Each year thousands of anglers descend on these water bodies in search of these magnificent fish.  The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all Ontario anglers a safe and successful fall angling season.

“Each angler is responsible for knowing where they are and aren’t allowed to fish,” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, a Conservation Officer and canine handler based out of Guelph, “Conservation Officers will investigate reports of anglers trespassing for the purpose of fishing.  All anglers must get permission from the land owner before entering or crossing private property to fish.”

The OCOA would also like to remind anglers who will be fishing this fall:

  • Don’t litter, properly dispose of any garbage and unwanted items.
  • It is illegal to attempt to pierce or hook a fish in any part of the body other than the mouth. Fish hooked anywhere other than in the mouth must be immediately released.
  • Catch and possession limits are in place to protect our fish populations and ensure there will be fish for future generations.
  • It is illegal to sell angler caught fish or any part of the fish, including roe.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence is encouraged to call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.Facebooktwittertumblr

New Executive to Serve Association Members

Posted on September 1, 2018.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW EXECUTIVE TO SERVE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS

The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is pleased to introduce its new executive members for the 2018-2020 term.

Elections were held during the association’s annual general meeting held in Cornwall from July 26-28, 2018. The role of the executive is to manage the affairs of the association. The new executive began their term September 1, 2018.

Outgoing president Tim Rochette would like to extend his thanks to the public and members alike for their support during his term as president.

The following is a list of executive members, they may be contacted at:

President – Sean Cronsberry, scronsberry@ocoa.ca

Vice President – Todd Steinberg, tsteinberg@ocoa.ca

Treasurer – Randy Pepper, rpepper@ocoa.ca

Secretary – Mike Duncan, mduncan@ocoa.ca

Past President – Tim Rochette, trochette@ocoa.ca

For more information contact:

Tim Rochette
Past President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
trochette@ocoa.ca

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Mark Lamont – 2016 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on August 15, 2016.

2016 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year – Mark Lamont

Pembroke – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Mark Lamont has been selected as the 2016 Conservation Officer of the Year. Mark currently works for the Pembroke Enforcement Unit.

Mark was presented with the award at the OCOA annual general meeting on Saturday August 13th.  “Mark has been a Conservation Officer for 16 years and has had many great accomplishments during his career so far. Mark is one of those small town Conservation Officers who is excellent at balancing the community interest while enforcing the law. He is also a leader in mentoring new Conservation Officers as well as working with youth on many outreach programs.” said OCOA President Tim Rochette.

Mark has worked around the Province and some of his career highlights include:

  • Recipient of the OCOA and North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association (NAWEOA) Certificate of Valor
  • Lead officer in complex investigations including careless hunting investigations and a large commercial timber investigation
  • Mentor for aspiring officers as well as current Conservation Officers
  • Volunteer on committees with Ducks Unlimited and the Pembroke Outdoor Sportsmen Club
  • Created the Pembroke Kid’s Fishing event and Youth Mentor Hunting program in Pembroke

While accepting the award Mark humbly stated “this is not my award, this is a team award. I have worked with a lot of phenomenal officers and have gained a little bit of knowledge from every one of those officers. There are many more officers out there more deserving of this than me.”

Mark was also presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Officer of the Year award as well as the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award by Matt Orok, Provincial Enforcement Operations Manager of the MNRF Enforcement Branch.

For complete details visit: http://ocoa.ca/tributes/other-awards/mnr-officer-of-the-year/mark-lamont/

For more information contact:
Tim Rochette, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(705) 752-3518
trochette@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr

Peter Gilboe – 2015 Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year

Posted on August 31, 2015.

Ontario Conservation Officer of the Year 2015 – Peter Gilboe

North Bay – The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) is pleased to announce that Peter Gilboe has been selected as the 2015 Conservation Officer of the Year. Peter currently works for the North Bay Enforcement Unit and is based out of New Liskeard, Ontario.

Peter was presented with the award at the OCOA annual general meeting on Saturday August 15th.  “Peter has been a Conservation Officer for 29 years and has had many great accomplishments during his career.  Peter is one of those small town Conservation Officers who thinks he is just doing his job. However, he has done so much more than that to receive this prestigious award.” said OCOA President Tim Rochette.

Peter has worked around the Province and some of his career highlights include:

  • Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
  • Recipient of the Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal.
  • Recipient of the OCOA Award of Valor and two Lifesaving Awards.
  • 2015 Ducks Unlimited Ontario Volunteer of the Year.
  • One of our Provincial leaders in the Confidential Informant program.
  • Consistently the driving force behind many large natural resource investigations, including information collection, planning, surveillance, search warrants, operations and court procedures.
  • Mentor for aspiring officers as well as current C.O.’s, Police Officers and Park Wardens.
  • Chair of the “Kids and Wardens Fishing Adventure” for the last 6 years.
  • MNRF Representative on Northern College Policing Program Committee and local Crime Stoppers board.
  • Volunteer in numerous community based events.

While accepting the award Peter indicated “when I look at the previous recipients of this award I say to myself, I don’t belong on here. However I think it is starting to sink in.”

Peter was also presented with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Officer of the Year award by John Clements, Director MNRF Enforcement Branch.  John Clements said, “Peter is a great all around officer, huge supporter of the community and a solid family man”.

In addition, Peter also received the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award.

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For more information contact:

Tim Rochette, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(705) 752-3518
trochette@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr

Keep Ontario Anglers Safe on the Water

Posted on July 2, 2015.

CSBC & OCOA Team Up To Keep Ontario Anglers Safe on the Water

July 2, 2015 — Toronto, ON, — July 4th – 12th marks National Fishing Week in Canada. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) want to remind anglers that wearing your lifejacket is even more important than wearing your ‘lucky fishing hat’.  But they do share one trait.  They both have to be worn to be effective!

According to the Canadian Safe Boating Council and the Lifesaving Society, 80 percent of recreational boaters who drown each and every year in Canada were not wearing a lifejacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Most of these drownings occur in small, open power boats, accounting for 60 percent of these preventable deaths. A majority of these victims were males between the ages of 19 and 35, out for a day of fishing.

Many of those who don’t wear their lifejackets or PFDs believe that, since they are good swimmers, having them onboard and within easy reach is good enough. But a lifejacket stored under a seat or up in the bow will be of no help when the unexpected happens, like falling overboard while trying to net the catch.

“National surveys clearly show that more than half the recreational boats sold in Canada are used for fishing on a regular basis,” says John Gullick, Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council. “During National Fishing Week, the Canadian Safe Boating Council would like to remind all anglers not only to have their lifejacket onboard their boat, but to wear it as if their life depended on it – because it just might!”

Many of today’s anglers are delighted with the models that are designed especially to suit their needs.  They’re rugged, allow for full freedom of movement to cast and are constructed with lots of pockets for gear.  Some even come equipped with an attachment from which to hang a landing net.  When choosing their lifejacket, anglers should also check the label to make sure it is Transport Canada approved, is the correct size and fits snugly.

“The Ontario Conservation Officers Association is excited about partnering with the CSBC to promote the Hooked on Lifejackets program,” said Tim Rochette, President of the OCOA. bando maps “Our organization is dedicated to the sustainable use of all of our beautiful natural resources in Ontario, which includes ensuring that all boaters stay safe and wear a lifejacket while enjoying our waterways.”

Fishing is a part of our Canadian fabric and an activity that’s easy to get hooked on. At this important time of year, the CSBC and OCOA are asking those who fish to ‘Get Hooked on Lifejackets’ too.

This initiative is made possible through support of Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.

For a 30-second radio PSA and additional information on boating safety please visit www.csbc.ca.

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.

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For further information contact:

Susanne Simic                                 Tim Rochette
Simic Public Relations for the          President
Canadian Safe Boating Council       Ontario Conservation Officers Association
Tel: (416) 622-3358                          Tel: (705) 752-3518
Susanne.simic@sympatico.ca         Trochette@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr

Conservation Officers Encourage Safe Boating

Posted on May 10, 2015.

After one of the longest, coldest winters on record, the ice has melted and tens of thousands of Ontario boaters and anglers are looking forward to spending time on the water enjoying their favourite pastimes. Spring is the perfect time to give some serious thought to making sure this summer is a safe one on the water. With this goal in mind, the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) proudly joins the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) to promote the annual North American Safe Boating Awareness Week – May 16th – 22nd, 2015.

“Our members actively enforce the laws regarding safe boating”, says OCOA President Tim Rochette, an Ontario Conservation Officer based in North Bay, and an active angler and boater himself. “It is the responsibility of every boater to ensure that they enjoy the outdoors safely.”

At the core of the 2015 campaign are the 5 key messages that we have been consistently delivering to the boating community.

  • Wear a PFD or Lifejacket
  • Don’t Drink & Boat
  • Take a Boating Course
  • Be Prepared, Both You and Your Vessel
  • Be Wary of the Dangers of Cold Water Immersion

“Our members will be on the water during Safe Boating Awareness Week, whether working or enjoying some recreational time with our families”, adds Rochette.  “I encourage all anglers and boaters to start now to help us make this an accident free season.”

Anyone looking for more information about boating safety is encouraged to visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council website at www.csbc.ca . For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please visit the OCOA website at www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.

Remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.

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For more information contact:

Tim Rochette
President, Ontario Conservation Officers Association
(705) 752-3518
trochette@ocoa.caFacebooktwittertumblr