Training Bear Hounds And Nuisance Bears
By Dr. Terry Quinney
Provincial Manager of Fish and Wildlife Services
The Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) is proposing to add black bears to the species of wildlife that can be chased by dogs to assist in the resolution of nuisance bear issues, and provide sustainable, recreational opportunities for bear houndsmen.
M.N.R. science staff have stated that the low success rate of black bear relocation is encouraging managers to seek out other alternatives. (M.N.R. published information says that relocation as a nuisance bear management tool has a failure rate of 80% for adult bears.) M.N.R. staff have also stated that the use of specially trained dogs in combination with other techniques has been used successfully to modify the behavior of nuisance bears in the U.S.A. and British Columbia.
M.N.R. nuisance bear management policy says “The Ministry’s core business is ensuring the ecological sustainability of the province’s bear population, and managing it in a manner that provides continuous recreational, social and economic benefits.” The M.N.R. proposal brings the training of bear hounds into line with current M.N.R. policy (because it will provide continuous recreational, social and economic benefits).
The M.N.R. also needs to get itself back in line with the above current policy by reinstating the spring bear hunt, and the solution to minimizing the current unprecedented nuisance bear problems across the province must include the spring bear hunt. The spring bear hunt was a successful wildlife management tool that reduced bear densities, particularly of male bears, and helped control the size of the bear population. The hunt helped reduce nuisance bear problems, thereby assisting in the protection of public safety and property, and reducing the costs to society of nuisance bear controls.
The M.N.R. is inviting public comments on their proposal to permit dogs to chase bears under licence to November 7, 2002. You need to refer to E.B.R. Registry number RB02E6003 and write to:
M.N.R. Fish and Wildlife Branch
5th Floor, North Tower, 300 Water Street
Phone: (705) 755-1940
Fax: (705) 755-1900