ontario black bear hunt

Ontario wants to bring back the annual spring black bear hunt and people are mad

The provincial government just announced its intentions to bring back a regular annual spring black bear hunting season, and many Ontario residents are not on board. 

Speaking in Peterborough on Friday, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski announced the start of the government's consultation on a proposal to do just that.

"Ontario is home to a healthy bear population," Yakabuski said in a statement.

"The province will continue to monitor black bear populations, harvest results and sustainability indicators to inform an annual review and ensure bear populations are managed sustainably."

Ontario officially got rid of its annual spring black bear hunting season back in 1999. Then, in 2014, the province introduced a spring black bear hunting season pilot to support the "sustainable hunting of black bears."

The pilot has continued each year since then, inclduing an expansion in 2016. Now, Ontario is proposing making the pilot a regular spring season subject to annual review.

During the announcement, Yakabuski clarified that all protections for Ontario's black bear population would remain in place as a part of this proposal.

This means it would remain illegal to harvest black bear cubs and females with cubs in the spring, a crime that could result in a fine of up to $25,000 and up to one-year of imprisonment.

Yakabuski said the province is also proposing to take action to support the long-term sustainability of the declining black bear population on the Bruce Peninsula by reducing the bear hunting season in this area, as well as eliminating special black bear hunting opportunities for non-resident landowners and non-residents hunting with immediate relatives.

Ontario will also seek to require people guiding resident bear hunters for commercial purposes to obtain a Licence to Provide Black Bear Hunting Services.

Meanwhile, some Ontario residents are less than pleased with the proposal.

"Nope, lets leave the animals/bears alone. Unless one is attacking you like 'The Revenant' you don't need to kill it," one Twitter user wrote of the news. 

"As long as it's hand to hand combat with no weapons," another wrote. "Have at it!"

While some are saying non-hunters really shouldn't get a say in the matter. 

Others are saying their support for the proposal depends on the bear population at hand. 

But regardless of opinions, Yakabuski said the spring black bear hunting pilot has been well received by northern communities and the tourism and hunting industries that support small businesses and jobs in northern and rural Ontario.

"We are listening to the concerns of northern Ontarians and the tourism industry that an ongoing pilot spring season creates economic uncertainty," he said.

"A regular, monitored spring bear hunting season would enable tourism outfitters and camp owners to better plan their operations for the entire year, while also allowing hunters to better plan their activities and support local businesses."

Lead photo by

ArtTower


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