Ontario is expanding the spring bear hunt through 2020 to address concerns voiced by northern communities about human-bear conflicts and support economic growth and tourism in the north, announced David Orazietti, MPP.
“Our government is listening to concerns from northern communities, including Sault Ste. Marie, about human-bear encounters, and we are committed to assisting our northern communities in dealing with the problem of nuisance bears,” said Orazietti. “This expansion of the spring bear hunt will help protect residents and give communities like ours another tool to ensure we are safely and effectively managing dangerous wildlife.”
The spring bear hunt expansion will include:
· Extending the spring bear hunt by an additional five years, through 2020
· All 88 wildlife management units that currently have a fall bear hunt
· Non-resident hunters
Under the expansion, it will still be illegal to hunt bear cubs and females with cubs. Anyone convicted of this offence could face a fine of up to $25,000 and up to one year imprisonment. In most cases, each licensed hunter will only be allowed to hunt one bear in each calendar year.
Additionally, the baiting of bears will be regulated to help address possible public safety concerns, including:
· Bait must not be placed within 500 metres of a residence unless written permission is obtained from the residence’s owner
· Bait must not be placed within 500 metres of a public building
· Bait must not be placed within 200 metres of a right of way for public vehicle traffic or a marked public recreational trail.
Supporting economic growth and tourism in the north is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives and building a secure retirement savings plan.
· Ontario is home to a healthy and sustainable black bear population with up to 105,000 black bears living in the province.
· The spring bear hunt will take place from May 1 through June 15, starting in 2016 and ending in 2020.
· Currently across Canada, each province and territory with black bears has a spring and fall bear hunt except Nova Scotia, which only has a fall hunt.
· In 2014 and 2015, Ontario held a two-year bear management pilot program in eight wildlife management units, all of which reported high levels of human-bear conflict. The hunt was open to Ontario residents from May 1 to June 15. Communities in and around these units include Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.