Possible return of Ontario’s Spring bear hunt

The province of Ontario announced this week, they are considering a reinstatement of the Spring hunting season for black bears, but with some stipulations – a decision being met with controversy.

This is what the Publication; Dryden Now had to say. I would love to hear your thoughts on this:

Local hunters are being asked for their input, after a successful pilot program across Ontario. The annual hunt was cancelled in 1999.

In 2014, the province introduced a spring black bear hunting season pilot to support the sustainability of black bear hunting. It’s continued each year, and now the province is hoping to make the pilot program a regular, annual spring hunting season. 25,000 bear hunting tags were sold each year of the pilot, which was expanded and improved upon in 2016.

“Ontario is home to a healthy bear population,” said Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski. “The province will continue to monitor black bear populations, harvest results and sustainability indicators to inform an annual review and ensure bear populations are managed sustainably.”

As part of this proposal, all protections for Ontario’s black bear population would remain in place. For example, it would remain illegal to harvest black bear cubs and females with cubs in the spring, a crime that carries a potential fine of up to $25,000 and up to one-year imprisonment.

“We are listening to the concerns of northern Ontarians and the tourism industry that an ongoing pilot spring season creates economic uncertainty,” said Yakabuski. “A regular, monitored spring bear hunting season would enable tourism outfitters and camp owners to better plan their operations for the entire year, while also allowing hunters to better plan their activities and support local businesses.”

The province is also proposing to eliminate special black bear hunting opportunities for non-resident landowners and non-residents hunting with immediate relatives, and requiring people guiding resident bear hunters for commercial purposes to obtain a licence to provide black bear hunting services.

The province is hoping to gather the public’s feedback and opinions on the proposed hunting season changes, and feedback is being openly accepted until February 18, 2020. The link can be found below.

In September of 2019, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry warned the public of a high amount of bear sightings and interactions in the area, despite calls being down overall in Ontario. Two bear attacks, leading to one fatality, took place over that month.

The ministry is reminding the public that bears are often attracted to things such as garbage, bird food, odours from barbecues and ripe fruit left on trees or on the ground. Removing these attractants can help keep bears out of the area.