Ontario government proposes a full return of spring bear hunt
Almost 21 years to the day since the spring bear hunt was cancelled, the Government of Ontario has proposed to bring it back.
Since the cancellation in 1999, the OFAH has carried the torch in the push to fully restore a spring bear hunt by challenging the cancellation in court, keeping the issue a top priority when dealing with successive governments, and through relentless advocacy, has often been the only group standing against waves of propaganda from anti-hunting opponents.
“The spring bear hunt was always a sustainable wildlife management activity,” says Dr. Keith Munro, OFAH wildlife biologist. “Nothing has changed in that regard since it was cancelled and today’s proposal is a final step towards correcting a long-standing mistake. In our view, it’s long overdue.”
In 2014, the fight to restore the hunt started to pay off with the establishment of an Ontario spring bear hunting pilot project, which introduced a whole new generation of hunters to the value of spring bear hunting, and restored many of the wildlife management, social and economic benefits that were lost in 1999. The pilot, however, did not return the level of certainty needed to fully restore tourism benefits, or the hunting community’s trust that the government fully appreciates and recognizes the value of evidence-based sustainable wildlife management in Ontario.
“After more than two decades, we aren’t taking anything for granted,” says OFAH executive director Angelo Lombardo. “The OFAH will never back down on fighting for black bear management, including the full reinstatement and the future protection of Ontario’s spring bear hunt. The pilot has been great in demonstrating what we already knew about the benefits, but the full restoration has been our ultimate goal since 1999.”
Over the next 30 days, the OFAH will call on the outdoors community to voice its support of spring bear hunting with the government.
“Some hunters will respond with principled conviction for restoring a sustainable hunt solely for the broad social, economic and biological benefits it provides, while others will speak to their own personal experience in a hunt that helps them secure wholesome food, valuable hides and an opportunity to share time in the outdoors with family and friends,” adds Dr. Munro. “It is these real stories from real people that will help us move past any lingering misconceptions and finally achieve a fully restored spring bear hunt across Ontario.”
To learn more about spring bear hunting in Ontario and the history of OFAH advocacy on this topic, visit www.ofah.org/springbearhunt.
Contact: Dr. Keith Munro, OFAH Wildlife Biologist — 705-748-6324 ext. 238 or firstname.lastname@example.org