Resident bear hunters can rest at ease. The planned pilot spring bear hunt will go ahead on May 1, despite attempted legal action from animal rights groups.
Yesterday an Ontario judge dismissed Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada’s attempt to block the hunt. The 2 groups had filed an application for a judicial review, arguing the hunt would be contrary to animal cruelty provisions in the Criminal Code.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the case,” said Galen Eagle, manager of communications with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
The bear hunt was cancelled in 1999. Since then human-bear interaction has risen, despite efforts to deal with the problem in other ways.
Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti previously told media that the ministry’s “expensive trap-and-relocate program” has proven largely ineffective.
The 2-year bear management pilot program will run in wildlife management units 13, 14, 29, 30, 36, 39, 41 and 42, all of which have reported high levels of nuisance bear activity.
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 will be illegal.
Ontario is not alone when it comes to a spring bear season. Eight other provinces in Canada and 3 territories have full-scale spring bear hunts.
-With files from Canadian Press