Help needed in support of proposed spring bear hunt

Over the past few months, there’s been quite a bit of chatter through various forms of media that the spring bear hunting season is coming back in Ontario.
Until this week, my perception was that a new spring season was coming back in 2016—until I caught wind of some heavy resistance from anti-hunting folks trying to shut it down again.
Up until 1999, Ontario had a popular spring bear season but fierce pressure from the anti-hunting crowd put an end to it. Their main issue was that too many female bears were shot—leaving orphaned cubs that relied on their mothers to survive their first few months.
It was, and will continue to be, illegal for hunters to harvest a bear with cubs during the spring season. Spring bear hunters typically hunt over bait sites, making it very easy to watch the animal and make sure there are no cubs with it.
The reality that research has shown is that many cubs are killed in the spring by lone male bears—hungry after a long winter in hibernation. These males are the animals that hunters will harvest.
With the popularity of motion-detected game cameras today that many hunters now use, outfitters and hunters alike will have a good idea of the bears that are using a particular site, so you know if there is a female with cubs that you should be watching for.
As well, a couple of outfitters that have experience with bear hunting that I spoke to mentioned that sows with cubs very rarely visit a bait site in the spring because there always is so much bear scent around and they know to stay away from them.
Bear hunting has never been an activity that I’ve been that interested in. I just like bears. That being said, I do fully support a spring bear hunting season for several reasons.
Being involved in the tourism industry to some degree, I know that many of the resorts and outfitters in the region will benefit from this. It’s just a great jolt to a short summer season that most of these folks have to make their money for the year.
The economic impact of this spring hunting season was estimated to be at $43 million in 1996. Consider what that would be now?
And most of that economic activity is going to happen in Northwestern Ontario, as well.
Our deer and especially moose populations are struggling in parts of our region, and it is well-documented that bears do kill a significant numbers of fawns and calves in the spring so this potentially could help those animals.
Allowing hunters some harvest also will help to reduce the number of nuisance bears that end up in our communities.
The aspect of this whole thing that really gets me worked up is that the anti-hunting people who are fighting this don’t live in our part of the province—nor do they understand the culture of hunting and outdoor activities that we have here.
I totally understand that hunting is not for everybody, I have several family members who have absolutely no interest in hunting, but it remains an important part of our culture and economy in Northwestern Ontario.
Thankfully, we have great folks at the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen’s Alliance (NOSA) based out of Thunder Bay, who have worked extremely hard to pursue this spring season again, along with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.)
If you are interested in helping to support this spring bear season, many hunters, outfitters, and camp owners need your help right now to push back against the anti-hunting crowd.
Visit the O.F.A.H. website and find the spring bear hunt page. There you also will find much more information about this proposed spring hunt, as well as a link to post comments regarding it.
Any comments in support of this measure and support for baiting bears certainly will help.
The deadline for comments on this matter is Nov. 30.

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