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Scientific Report Supports O.F.A.H. Bear Warnings

OFAH FILE: 842/45i
July 12, 2007

For Immediate Release

Scientific Report Supports O.F.A.H. Bear Warnings

The publication of a major study by black bear experts re-confirms the position advanced by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) for years namely, that the termination of the spring hunt in Ontario, without scientific justification, is bad for people and bad for bears.

Study highlights include:

  • Proactive management includes reducing the density of bears in the spring before the peak problem bear season.
  • Conservative hunting seasons and regulations have not kept pace with the reproduction of black bears.
  • Government agencies like the Ministry of Natural Resources cannot continue to explain away problem bear issues as being directly related to the abundance of natural foods.
  • Hunted populations seem more wary of humans than unhunted populations.
  • Orphaning of cubs by hunters is negligible, with more than 98% of cub mortality due to natural causes.

The authors of the report, Hank Hristienko, Manitoba Department of Conservation and John McDonald, U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, also note that a bear population management regime based on public hunting and guided by science should enable a jurisdiction to achieve its objective of minimizing human-bear conflicts, while maintaining costs at a manageable level.

“This study has valuable facts for bear management professionals, the general public, the media and particularly politicians”, said Dr. Terry Quinney, O.F.A.H. Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife. “We’ve been telling successive provincial governments in Ontario that the cancellation of the spring hunt in 1999 would have terrible consequences for people living in bear country, and the best available scientific information continues to reaffirm our position”.

Recent bear incidents in many parts of Ontario have underlined the growing problem. In the Parry Sound region alone there have been 694 occurrences to date, compared to 251 by the same time last year, while in the Timmins area reports of bear sightings have quadrupled this spring, with 178 sightings being reported this year, compared with 40 at the same time in 2006. Many resort owners are blaming the dramatic increase on the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in 1999.

The full report can be viewed by clicking here (PDF, 4.6 MB).

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, with almost 82,000 members and 655 member clubs across the province, is the largest non-profit conservation based organization in Ontario.



Dr. Terry Quinney
Provincial Manager of Fish & Wildlife
(705) 748-6324
Greg Farrant
Manager of Government Relations & Communications
(705) 748-6324

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