The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, (O.F.A.H.), the largest nonprofit conservation-based organization in Ontario, with 81,000 members and 660 member clubs, is pleased that one of the first acts by David Ramsay, the new Minister of Natural Resources, was to release the long overdue report of the Nuisance Bear Review Committee.
â€œThe report was received by the former government months ago but never released, and the Minister should be commended for moving quickly to make the document public,â€? said Mike Reader, O.F.A.H. Executive Director. â€œWe acknowledge and generally support the Committee’s broad conclusion that â€˜regulated hunting has the potential to reduce human-bear problems.’ However, O.F.A.H. wildlife biologists will need to review the material contained in the report, including data provided to the Committee by the Ministry of Natural Resources, (M.N.R.), that was not presented in the body of the report before providing more specific comments.â€?
The Nuisance Bear Review Committee was established by the previous Conservative government in response to increased reports of nuisance bear activity in the aftermath of the 1999 cancellation of the spring bear hunt. The O.F.A.H. claimed in its court case against the former government that the spring hunt was cancelled in the interests of short-term political expediency, and was not based on biologically sound science and good resource management.
â€œBecause black bear densities are fifty per cent higher in areas where hunting is prohibited, and reputable wildlife experts agree that lower bear densities mean fewer bear problems, the O.F.A.H. is convinced that the Ministry’s representation to the Committee that there is no connection between increased nuisance bear problems and the cancellation of the spring hunt ignores scientific evidence to the contrary,â€? added Mr. Reader.
This press release was issued November 11, 2003.