On February 25th, the Toronto Star published a debate asking “should there be an Ontario spring bear hunt?”
One submission is written by Dr. Keith Munro, a wildlife biologist with Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, who argues the hunt is based on science and is sustainable, while Judy Malone of Tourists Against Trophy Hunting argues one bullet kills an entire family and orphaning cubs is too common.
Then it asks you to vote on whether Ontario should have a spring bear hunt.
Your comment as an individual counts the most. Handwritten letters are most effective, emails are next best, petitions have the least effect regarding Government decision making.
Here are some points you can use in your letters:
The Spring Bear Hunt should be abolished.
For fall hunts, baiting should be a minimum of 2 km from the nearest residence or residential area and garbage must be cleared after hunt. Fall hunt should begin September 15 and end October 30throughout Province.
Females with cubs must be “truly” protected during the spring hunt, if there has to be one and the fall hunt.
The Ontario Government needs to hire more people for enforcement, this province needs more Conservation Officers. Bears do occasionally prey on moose calves, this is “not” common.
Best way to reduce human/bear conflicts is to manage people by making them manage their waste.
Females with cubs must be protected; currently that is difficult as cubs are frequently treed or kept away by their mother while she forages.
If there has to be a Spring bear hunt, the current season of May 1 to June 15 should be changed to June 1 to June 30 to protect females with cubs as well as the cubs themselves.
Evidence as to the accomplishments and milestones of the pilot project and the extended pilot project (not the original strategy written before the hunts) need to be released to the public.
Baiting should not take place; if it will, baiting must end when the season concludes and not begin again until shortly before the fall season and more stringent limits must be put in place to protect recreationalists, drivers, property owners, pets and others from bait piles that attract wildlife. All bait sites should be registered to ensure compliance.
Information showing an increase in enforcement capability through funding, infrastructure and boots-on-the-ground hires of conservation officers should be made available.
The government must make an acknowledgement that a spring bear hunt is not about community safety as originally stated in 2014 in the face of their own evidence showing it does not impact human conflict with bears; education and enforcement of human behaviour, attractants and feeding will have the greatest impact on mitigating and preventing conflict.
A report should be created and released on the impact of a spring bear hunt on other recreationalists’ safety, freedom to explore and expectations, as bear hunters in the spring make up a very small percentage of people enjoying the outdoors in Ontario.
A report should be created and released on efforts of the Ontario government to increase availability of non-consumptive ecotourism opportunities in the province alongside the limited spring bear hunt.
The use of hounds/dogs to chase, tree and/or otherwise harass bears should be immediately halted.