OFAH calls for spring hunt to better manage bears

OFAH FILE: 842
May 9, 2012
For Immediate Release

OFAH calls for spring hunt to better manage bears

MNR confirms cancellation of trap and relocation, other Bear Wise cuts 

This week, Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle confirmed that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has discontinued the trap and relocation of problem bears, as well as other services formerly delivered under the province’s Bear Wise program. 

"In discontinuing the ineffective trapping and relocation of problem bears, Minister Gravelle will need to look to a more effective means of managing this valuable game species. We hope to engage the Minister and his Ministry on this challenge," said Dr. Terry Quinney, OFAH Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services. "The OFAH is unwavering in its position that a spring bear hunt is a most advantageous means of sustainably managing Ontario’s bears. An early hunt assists in controlling problem bears by reducing their abundance and density in the spring and summer, particularly male bears."

The OFAH has a long and storied history of support for Ontario’s spring black bear hunt, which was cancelled suddenly and without scientific rationalization in 1999. Since the cancellation, the province, as proven by its own data, has been dealing with an ever-increasing number of human/bear conflicts, and has attempted to address the problem through its Bear Wise program, with little success.

A government technical note entitled Nuisance Black Bears and What to Do with Them published in 2000, stated that only 20 percent of adult bears can be successfully relocated, and distance is unlikely to increase the success rate, given that bears can return home from distances of over 200 kilometers.

The MNR is aware that public safety is a factor, with too many black bears on the landscape. MNR records show that prior to the cancellation of the spring bear hunt, there were fewer than 1,000 human/bear conflicts province wide, however by 2007, that number had risen to 12,700 reported incidents. 

Quinney added, “The unfortunate consequence of cancelling the failed trap and relocation initiative without an effective replacement is that there is likely to be more police time spent on bear calls and residents taking matters into their own hands. That benefits no one.”  

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 675 member clubs, the OFAH is the province’s largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org, like the OFAH on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Dr Terry Quinney
Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildelife Services
705-748-6324 ext 242
Lezlie Goodwin
Manager of Communications
705-748-6324 ext 270
705-760-5537 (cell)
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