The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has announced a proposal for a limited bear hunt for 8 wildlife management units (WMU) in northern Ontario.
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Ontario has proposed a 2-year bear management pilot program in WMUs 13, 14, 29, 30, 36, 39, 41 and 42, all of which have reported high levels of nuisance bear activity. Communities in and around these units include Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.
The hunt will only be open to Ontario residents and will take place from May 1 to June 15 in 2014 and 2015. Under the proposed pilot, hunting bear cubs or females with cubs would be illegal. The province will monitor and evaluate the success of this program on an ongoing basis.
“Since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in 1999, the OFAH has been advocating for a return of the hunt and we are pleased that the provincial government has finally recognized the value of this valuable wildlife management tool and has proposed a bear management program in response to problem bears in northern Ontario,” said Angelo Lombardo, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. “While this is not the restoration of a full spring hunt, it is a positive start, and the OFAH looks forward to working with the provincial government and local municipalities so that the full benefits of regulated hunting can be realized.”
Each municipal council will have to pass a resolution agreeing to opt-in to the program. The province intends to continue to work with municipalities on ways to limit human/bear conflict.
“Public safety is paramount and Ontarians should feel safe in their communities,” said Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti. “We have heard increasingly from some northern Ontario municipalities that they are concerned about public safety and human-bear conflicts. In response, we are taking action in a strategic way to address the areas of highest incidence.”