The Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) wants to wish all of Ontario’s wild turkey hunters a safe, enjoyable, and successful hunt. The 2014 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.
The spring wild turkey hunt has become very popular over the years, so does the potential for abuse of both the resource and the private land upon which most hunting takes place. Fortunately, a combination of mandatory turkey hunter education program, responsible hunters, and active enforcement efforts by Conservation Officers (CO’s) has resulted in many seasons of safe hunts.
“Even though the vast majority of hunters obey the law, CO’s continue to find a small percentage of individuals who disregard the regulations while turkey hunting”, says OCOA President Joe McCambridge, himself a field CO in Pembroke and active turkey hunter. “We will continue to actively enforce the law and ensure that the sport of turkey hunting continues to be a safe sport”, adds McCambridge.
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 right of ways between tracts of private land. In addition, it is illegal to hunt turkeys within 400 metres of where bait has been deposited.
“Conservation Officers will always investigate reports of trespassing and road hunting, and we encourage responsible hunters to report illegal hunting immediately. This will help keep both hunters and members of the public safe during the hunt”, said McCambridge.
Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related violation 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 www.ocoa.ca, or contact your local Conservation Officer.
Joe McCambridge, President
Ontario Conservation Officers Association