MNR dismisses Bob Barker’s call to scrap spring bear hunt

by Guest Author | March 3, 2014

Barker's - black bear

The Ministry of Natural Resources has no plans to scrap the planned spring bear hunt, a pilot project set for 8 wildlife management units this spring, despite famed ex-game show host and animal rights activist Bob Barker’s public opposition.

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Barker says the spring bear hunt is barbaric, unethical and calls it legislated cruelty that has nothing to do with science. Barker told CBC news he’d prefer legislation that stop people from leaving food where bears can get at it.

Orazietti says he has a lot of respect for Barker, but insists he has his facts wrong this time and flatly disputes Barker’s claims that a spring hunt means cubs will starve to death after their mothers are killed. In fact, it is illegal to hunt sows with cubs. The goal of this pilot program is to reduce the number of human-bear interactions, including instances where police are forced to kill bears who get too close to people.

Human-bear interaction has risen since the spring hunt was cancelled in 1999, despite efforts to deal with the problem in other ways. Even the ministry’s “expensive trap-and-relocate program” has proven largely ineffective, Orazietti told CBC.

Ontario is not alone when it comes to a spring bear season. Eight other provinces in Canada and the 3 territories have full-scale spring bear hunts, while the pilot project in Ontario is a smaller, targeted approach that is open for resident hunters only.

– with files from Canadian Press. 


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  1. Dick Rickley wrote: So your answer is to starve people that hunt for sustenance? What we should do is shut down all the grocery stores and ban commercial meat processing because of the waste and see how long it takes to get Toronto residents on board with hunting.
  2. SmokeandaPancake wrote: @DickRickley:disqus - No Dick I personally have no problem with a spring bear hunt if it actually accomplishes the goal, just saying we should not pretend there are no unethical hunters is all. Ban commercial meat you say. That is a great idea (insert sarcastic voice here ), how long do you think it will take for 13 million Ontarians to eat their way through approximately 500,000 big game animals ( moose, deer and bear ). As a final thought, there are very few true subsistence hunters anymore. It is far cheaper for most people to buy their meat, except for some in the far north. Most of these subsistence hunters are aboriginals and aboriginals don't traditionally hunt bears.
  3. Constant_evolution wrote: In the spring bear cubs follow very close to the sow, and therefore it is much easier to tell if a sow has cubs or not because you will see them right behind the sow, thus avoiding taking a sow with cubs. later in the year the cubs tend not to show up right with the sow and linger about. by having a spring hunt the bears that are not afraid of human sent and activity are the ones that end up in the freezer keeping human bear conflicts to a minimum. By taking bears that are willing to show themselves at baits the behaviour of bears that avoid people is preserved in the behaviour and genetic information passed down to future bears.