Deer Forecast - Midwest

Ottawa

The farmlands and forests surrounding Ottawa are sleepers for big bucks. Provincial wildlife biologist Bruce Rant says the capital region is gaining a reputation as a trophy producer. Better known to deer hunters is northwestern Ontario, particularly the area east of Lake of the Woods. Recent mild winters have allowed deer numbers to increase there. Rant cautions hunters that deer in the northwest are not evenly distributed but are mostly found in areas with recent logging activity. Wolf predation also affects local whitetail numbers. Currently, nonresident deer hunters are largely unrestricted in Ontario, with the exception of the Rainy River District, where an outfitter is required, and some zones completely closed to nonresident hunting. The Ministry of Natural Resources is considering a draw system that would limit nonresident hunters by wildlife management unit, but no changes will occur before 2002. "We want to make sure we retain the nonresident hunt, but we also want to retain our high-quality wilderness hunting opportunities," Rant says.