As another hunting season begins, Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) is reminding residents to adhere to public health guidelines to ensure a safe hunt.
If you decide to hunt or fish, RCDHU encourages residents to limit their hunting party to members of their immediate household. Although the Ontario Government limits groups to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, individuals congregating and overnighting in hunting groups may well have longer exposures. Consequently, careful consideration should be given to further limiting group size and to strict observance of distancing and masking.
Take the following precautions before you go and while at your hunting site and/or hunt camp:
- Complete Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool daily to monitor for symptoms and proper guidance. Anyone who is in an at-risk group, who thinks they have COVID-19 symptoms, or who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should self-isolate and call the Renfrew County Virtual Triage Assessment Centre (VTAC) at 1-844-727-6404 to book an appointment for testing.
- Limit your hunting party to people within Renfrew County and District. To help stop the spread of COVID-19, give thoughtful consideration on where you are hunting and who you are hunting with. Whether travelling outside of Renfrew County and District (RCD), or have hunters coming from outside of RCD, consider the transmission rates of COVID-19 in those areas. Remember to follow any travel advisories in place and make sure you are aware of any restrictions.
- Practice physical distancing at all times from people outside of your immediate household or wear a mask/face covering when physical distancing is not possible. This includes when travelling to and from the hunting location in vehicles and aim to limit to 2 people per vehicle.
- Do not sleep in tight sleeping quarters. Plan to expand sleeping space by bringing an extra tent or renting a recreational vehicle.
- Take soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, masks/face coverings and cleaning/disinfectant supplies for use at the hunt camp.
- Avoid buffet-style and communal meals to ensure you are not sharing cooking utensils. Bring prepared meals or have people prepare or cook their own meals. Have one person serve the meal only. Eat meals outside and barbeque when possible.
- Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as cookware, door handles, light switches, bathroom facilities.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often. If you do not have access to soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Always keep safety in mind. Do not share hunting gear and equipment or personal items such as drinks and cutlery. Follow the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines and practice safety when using recreational vehicles.
While hunting and fishing are not prohibited activities, you may be fined for breaking COVID-19 restrictions. Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have the power to enforce and issue fines for not adhering to COVID-19 gathering limits and other rules. Dr. Robert Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health states, “I know that hunting and fishing are popular activities among RCD residents, but remember you do not want to bring COVID home along with your game. So be COVID smart and enjoy your hunting season.” For more information visit RCDHU’s website at: https://www.rcdhu.com/ or call 613-735-8654 or 1-800-267-1097.
Fantauzi,A. RCDHU(2020,Oct.15) How to Safely Navigate COVID-19 During Hunting Season [media release]