Get tough with bears

Imagine sitting outside just a few steps from your back door, reading a book or magazine in the early-evening air, when all of a sudden a bear is nuzzling your arm.
Well, that’s exactly what happened to a north-end senior citizen about a week ago. She was cognizant of the recent bear sightings and so had been facing her garden which abuts an alleyway—just in case. As it turned out, the bold bruin had lumbered up the driveway behind her.
Fortunately, the bear got as badly spooked by the surprise encounter as the woman and took off without incident. But it just as easily could have attacked her—or children, if some had happened to be playing outside.
Now you can debate until the cows come home whether there’s a link between the cancelled spring bear hunt and the rash of pesky bruins roaming around town of late (an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Times’ web poll question last week obviously believe so). But the cold reality is the bears are here—whatever the reason—and they have to be dealt with, especially when it’s reached the point that you can’t even sit outside in your own yard safely.
The current practice of trapping the bears and releasing them back in the bush certainly is questionable given the animals appear to be simply coming back. Educating the public to be “bear wise” no doubt has helped, but clearly hasn’t solved the problem. So, barring council approving the installation of a 10-foot high fence along town limits, the only viable alternative is to shoot them.
That might seem like a cold-hearted solution to some (the bears, after all, were here first), but the safety of town residents must be paramount. It’s a policy decision council needs to make before someone is seriously hurt or killed.
Getting the province to re-instate the spring bear hunt wouldn’t hurt, either.