WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — Ontario recently began offering online hunter education courses to the province’s prospective sportsmen and women.
“This is a massive change and I’m extremely grateful to the efforts of the Ontario provincial government,” said Jim Fisher, vice president of Canadian policy for Delta Waterfowl. “Years ago, we presented a summary of the country’s key barriers to hunting to Canadian wildlife directors. There are many barriers, yet Ontario’s hunter education requirements stood out as far and away the most onerous. Following the directors’ meeting, we brought this issue up directly with key government officials and stakeholder groups as a priority.”
Now, rather than traveling to a two-to-three-day, in-person course, students can participate at their leisure in an online version available through the Ontario Hunter Education Program website. At $60, the online course fee is also a savings of at least half off of the price of the traditional course.
“Think of potential waterfowlers with some level of interest in just giving hunting a try,” Fisher said. “Then they learn they need to spend $150 and two to three days of their lives away at a course? Who knows how many potential hunters balked at that?”
Removing barriers to entry for Canadian waterfowl hunters is critical, Fisher said, given a long-term decline in participation. Duck hunter numbers have dropped sharply since the 1970s throughout the country. Other key items Delta is promoting include eliminating Sunday hunting restrictions in eastern Canada, lowering the minimum hunting age to 10, and providing hunter apprentice licensing in all provinces, as is the case in British Columbia and Quebec.
“The move to offer online hunter education in Ontario has the potential to affect thousands of aspiring waterfowlers,” Fisher said. “Of Canada’s 170,000 duck hunters, 58,000 are in Ontario. It’s the right move, and one that brings Ontario up to speed with the majority of provinces already offering online hunter education. Only two provinces remain without online hunter education, and we hope that drops to zero soon.”
For more information, contact Jim Fisher at (877) 667-5656 or email@example.com.
Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.