With the ice and snow melting, anglers and hunters are anxious to get outdoors. Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford encourages it, but with a word of caution.
"Let's be clear. The upcoming fishing and hunting season will be hunting, with the condition that those participating in those activities must continue to obey social distancing measures. We are not out of this by a long shot," Rickford said Friday.
Lauren Tonelli at the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters agrees.
"From what we've been hearing from hunters, it's mostly about the upcoming turkey and spring bear seasons. From anglers, it's mostly about how can we still get out and do it responsibly," she said.
This means those hoping to head out should be aware of restrictions related to:
- travel - for several weeks now, public health experts have been encouraging people not to travel between communities
- outfitters - outfitters and resorts aren't considered essential services, so they're closed
- boat ramps - are often operated by municipal, provincial or federal governments and may be off limits
- the gathering of unrelated people (or people from other households) - may restrict usual hunting parties
- social distancing of six feet - may require the use of more than one vehicle or boat
- stopping for supplies - may be difficult as many bait shops or related retailers may not have storefront hours
- all usual regulations apply for anglers and hunters under MNRF
While there is no definite date for the coronavirus outbreak to be over, Tonelli (who is actually a distant relative of Islander star John Tonelli) says they expect a lot of pent up demand.
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