OFAH FILE: 828
February 13, 2014
OPEN LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Some northern Ontario communities are on the brink of experiencing a spring bear hunt for the first time in 15 years. The Ontario Government has finally listened to the concerns of northerners, and proposed a pilot project that will bring back the spring bear hunt to a limited number of northern communities during the next two years. While this partial reinstatement is a positive step, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) strongly believes that all of bear country deserves the benefits of a spring hunt. The OFAH has worked tirelessly during the past 15 years to bring a spring bear hunt back to Ontario and will continue to push for its full return.
The decision to cancel the spring bear hunt was driven by politics, and was in no way based on science. Although Ontario still has a healthy and sustainable bear population, the big city animal rights extremists responsible for lobbying the government in 1999 will try to block the return of the spring bear hunt. The OFAH is calling on northern Ontario residents to help us make sure that does not happen.
Your voice matters, so please express your support for the spring bear hunt. Please go to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at www.ebr.gov.on.ca and enter the code 012-0981, click on 012-0981, and then click Submit Comment.
Ontario’s spring bear hunt was a proven and sustainable wildlife management tool used to assist with the maintenance of bear densities at levels that minimized dangerous encounters with people. The spring hunt was particularly important for reducing male bear densities (70% of the total spring harvest) to help lessen cannibalism and aggression on other bears, decrease the number of moose calves and deer fawns killed by bears and minimize problems with people.
The spring bear hunt was an excellent example of a sustainable use of a renewable natural resource that offers enormous benefits for the residents of Ontario. Nowhere was this more evident than in northern Ontario communities where the hunt provided wholesome food, valuable hides, rewarding experiences for thousands of hunters, and generated over $40 million every year to help sustain hundreds of family businesses and associated jobs.
OFAH members are your neighbours, and want the best possible wildlife management for northern Ontario. Please take a few minutes and express your support for the spring bear hunt. It can be as simple as saying “I support the spring bear hunt.”
Terry Quinney, PhD
Fish & Wildlife Services
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters