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What they're saying about the spring bear hunt

Saturday, June 07, 2014   by: Darren Taylor

This is one provincial government program which clearly has its supporters and opponents.

It’s the Liberal government’s bear management plan, designed to protect the public from extremely dangerous encounters with bears.

It is a two-year pilot program, announced November 14, 2013 by David Orazietti, incumbent Sault Liberal MPP and Minister of Natural Resources, which allows hunters to take part in a limited early bear hunting season in and around communities that have experienced high levels of problem bear activity, including Sault Ste. Marie and seven other specific areas in Ontario.

SooToday.com spoke with each of the three main party candidates running for MPP in the Sault Ste. Marie riding in the June 12 provincial election in regards to the program.

Orazietti issued a press release concerning the program, but we also spoke with him this week by telephone for his thoughts on the bear hunt.

Orazietti said the MNR does not have a specific, target number of bears to shoot this spring or next.

“We have a very strong and robust number of black bears in the province, we have 100,000 black bears,” Orazietti said, adding the government wants that population to remain robust but that clearly, that number needs to be trimmed. 

“We’ve allocated tags in certain areas and we’re going to be monitoring how many bears will be taken, we’ve issued around 4,500 to 5,000 tags for this hunt, a relatively small number in terms of the bear population.”

Orazietti emphasized it will remain illegal to hunt a female bear or a female bear with cubs.

Taking a swing at his political opposition, Orazietti criticized the Progressive Conservatives for “irresponsibly” ending the annual spring bear hunt when they governed Ontario, and said he has not fielded one question in the Legislature from the PCs and the NDP since announcing the hunt in November 2013.

“The silence is deafening…I think we’ve struck the right balance,” Orazietti said.

“(The PC end to the annual hunt) was a wrong-headed decision then and it’s a wrong-headed decision now.”

Orazietti has gone on record as saying the Liberal government’s trap and relocation program in regards to dealing with nuisance bears has proven to be costly and mostly ineffective.

Orazietti also slammed criticism from animal rights groups, which condemn the bear hunt as animal cruelty.

“We should not have policy dictated to us by Toronto-based special interest groups.”

Orazietti said if he is re-elected June 12 and still serving as Minister of Natural Resources, he and his staff will be monitoring the numbers of bears shot and evaluating the success of the program.

Would Orazietti favour permanent, annual re-instatement of the spring bear hunt?

While stopping short of saying ‘yes,’ Orazietti said “I think we should involve all communities that want to participate (in the hunt) in a way that sustains the bear population in Ontario…and I do support expansion of this program to other communities where they have public safety concerns.”

Celia Ross, NDP candidate, said “we are certainly aware that there are a lot more human-bear encounters recently, and the NDP in the past introduced a motion to create an all-party committee to devise a strategy around bear management but the Liberals decided instead to unilaterally change the regulations, in too hasty a manner, to introduce a bear hunt in selected communities only.”

“We feel there hasn’t been enough study to see if the hunt is the right solution to the problem,” Ross said.

Ross said she and her fellow New Democrats disagree with cutbacks in funding to the trap and relocate program.

“Our official stance is that we need more science, an all-party committee in the Legislature to look at the issue of bears and humans coming into contact in northern Ontario, and come up with a reasoned solution to this program.”

While opposed to the bear hunt, Ross said she respects the assurances, given to her by hunters she has spoken to during this election campaign, that they will not shoot female bears and their cubs.

Rod Fremlin, Progressive Conservative candidate, said “(the bear hunt) is a good idea, but doesn’t go far enough.”

“When they (the former PC government) shut down the annual spring bear hunt, it mattered to Ontarians, but it’s the American hunters that love shooting bears, so when they shut it down they had to go to Manitoba and Quebec so we lost all that revenue from when they were shooting bears here.”

“We’re on a border town and I was talking to an outfitter who told me Americans would come in and he would sell up to 800 licenses.”

“That’s a loss of revenue for the government and the tourism industry…it’s a no-brainer, bring the annual spring bear hunt back.”

When reminded it was a Progressive Conservative government that did away with the annual bear hunt, Fremlin said “women weren’t allowed to vote at one time…things change as time goes on, and now we’re overrun with bears.”

“I don’t want to slaughter every bear, but for the time being it wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring it (the annual hunt) back,” Fremlin said.

City councils in northern Ontario communities, including Sault Ste. Marie, have chosen to opt into the program.

“Municipalities have been supportive of this and we have nearly 50 resolutions passed by communities in northern Ontario requesting to be part of this program,” Orazietti said.

The pilot program began May 1 this year and runs to June 15, and will run for the same time period in 2015.

Criticism of the program notwithstanding, it seems logical and timely, as there has been a slew of bear sightings in or around Sault Ste. Marie neighbourhoods in the past several days.

Comments
18
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
puffwheat 6/7/2014 6:50:27 PM Report

Killing bears because they are a nuisance is Wrong. So are most criminals but we just don't hunt and shoot them because they are expensive and a nuisance. No We just spend more on them? Why don't we have a seagull hunt cause they are a nuisance too? Maybe a racoon or mosquito hunt. Lol. Come on people! I'll take the bears any day compared to the crime around this town.
dirtybeard 6/7/2014 6:54:36 PM Report

"It’s the Liberal government’s bear management plan..."

So are they admitting that they were just ignoring it and hoping it would go away before?
guestwho 6/7/2014 7:02:42 PM Report

Orazietti committed to safety of Northerners:
Ontario is home to a healthy and sustainable bear population of approximately 105,000 black bears and Ontario Liberals are committed to
ensuring that this continues. Saturday, June 07, 2014 by: SooToday.com Staff

“We have a very strong and robust number of black bears in the province, we have 100,000 black bears,” Orazietti said, adding the government
wants that population to remain robust but that clearly, that number needs to be trimmed. Saturday, June 07, 2014 by: SooToday.com Staff

Some how we loss 5,000 bears on the same day!!!!Vote liberal,they`ll tell you straight as to how things are.Gas plant,40 million,oh I mean about a billion,what`s a few zeros!!!!!!!
cub 6/7/2014 7:14:39 PM Report

here's a revelation more bears less moose

100,000 bears reported half that in moose

keep reducing the moose tag offering nice!

but my 70+ mom gets to deal with two sows with 3 cub and 4 cubs respectively in her back yard daily. i'll take a single moose vs the bears any time.

Moose don't get into garbage, damage things trying to get to food.

yeah don't kill the bears for no reason. Hunt them for food reduce the number of bear people in town interaction.
divemedic 6/7/2014 7:47:39 PM Report

as a hunter who has successfully harvested a bear this spring. i welcome the hunt. Bring back the hunt and pay to mind to the southern wind bags who like to only see bears in the zoo. No ETHICAL hunter would should a sow with cubs. And the tens of millions lost tax dollars makes no sense either to tags sales and lodge owners losing business. Bravo on the 2 year trial.
IgnorantNortherner 6/7/2014 8:08:21 PM Report

@dive medic, so you eat it, obviously? Enjoy it? The couple times I've tried it it easily ranked as the worst protein I've ever sampled.

For this year's hunt I'd like to issue 4500-5000 politician tags, a relatively small number in terms of the politician population.

harry dick 6/7/2014 8:39:12 PM Report

It is about time the spring bear hunt has been re-instated . It was stopped in the first place to appease the animal activists , for votes . If these activists run into a bear in the wild , especially with cubs , they would have a heart attack. Bears are very large omnivores , and when approached in certain situations , will attack humans and kill them . Kids are very trusting and do not know what bears are capable of when threatened by human encounters . Most of the time the bear will leave the area , instead of fighting . When food is present , things change . they will fight for their meal .These activists will fight for animals over humans . Put these activists in a tent and have a bear lay beside the tent chewing on the sticks used to roast marshmallows , polish sausage etc. You can hear him breathing , he is that close. I have been there done that. I don't say kill all bears , but the ones around garbage dumps , people's houses need to be culled , BEFORE someone is killed . That someone might be your child or grandchild .
AlwaysAWinner 6/7/2014 9:55:57 PM Report

honestly man, how can people be so worked up about protecting bears when they're a safety risk. these dumb bored animal activist idiots think these bears are nice cuddly creatures who are just so misunderstood, when in reality they're a natural enemy for us because they're wild and can kill at any moment

I rather save lives than make some stupid animal lovers happy. seriously when was the last time a bear cashed my check or washed my car? never, why on earth are we acting like they're people who just need to be rehabilitated and gently caressed into safety
Mr Cloudy 6/7/2014 10:36:12 PM Report

Fear mongering fools...lol, Bears are harmless unless your dumb! Kill like you own the place...kill everything! seems like that's all people know how to do? Ministry of Natural Disaster!
d'sbored 6/7/2014 11:38:42 PM Report

I agree Mr. Cloudy!
Pakadeva 6/8/2014 12:03:57 AM Report

I have friends on the east end of the Soo who live in a densely populated subdivision. On Friday a huge bear jumped over their 6 foot fence from the neighbours yard & climbed the tree beside the house! Luckily the neighbour saw this happening & called my friend to let them know, otherwise their 2 little grandchildren may have made a nice lunch for Mr. Bear. Authorities were called, but, did nothing. This bear was enjoying the tree & jumping the fence for 7 freakin hours!!! Was anyone safe to leave those 2 homes during this time period? I doubt that very much. They are called "wild" animals for a reason! If you think you can snuggle with one of these predators, go for it, but, it's highly likely you will have body parts missing in the end!
RocknRoll 6/8/2014 4:05:58 AM Report

Sad part to this spring bear hunt is that the City has a discharge of firearms and bows bylaw in place so no legal hunting of bears is happening anyways. this was the governments way of pleasing everyone, by saying there is a spring bear hunt in municipalities that have a bear problem , but these same municipalities have a discharge of firearms and bows by-law. So in reality there is NO SPRING BEAR HUNT.
cooper2006 6/8/2014 7:53:26 AM Report

Celia, I was actually going to vote NDP prior to reading this article and reading how you personally do not support the hunt.

Reminds me of Tony's position of the gun registry...and he lost because he was on the wrong side of the voters.

well - back to David O I go!
Number One Son 6/8/2014 12:00:40 PM Report

When bears are in the yards of people living in the 4th and 5th Line areas, this is to be expected (although still a nuisance. When they are showing up in subdivisions across from high schools, time to get rid of them.

The NDP would rather see us spending millions of dollars on science studies (as Ross puts it)to deal with the bears. We are talking about a nuisance animal, not a human being. Anyone who has come face to face with a bear (as I have several times over the past two years) would jump on the Liberal bandwagon in an instant.

The Conservative answer to compare the change in mind on the hunt to women's right to vote is simply a dumb answer at the very least.

We have 100,000 bears, a few thousand gone won't decimate the population, but it may get the one in my back yard, .... go Libs!
divemedic 6/8/2014 2:34:39 PM Report

@ignorant northerner. Yes I love bear, my first bear was harvested off of a berry patch. the meat was very sweet. The bear I harvested this year had broken into a cabin with a grandfather and grandkids inside, then chased off campers in tents. He showed no fear of humans using the normal means to scare off bears. He was a safety concern and now sleeps nicely next to my deer fish and rabbits. My Male Bruin dressed out well over 300lbs of great healthy meat. Bears in the wild normally fear humans. But the past decade of increased population, had led to large decrease in moose population and increase of human / bear interactions. These interactions have led to maulings which have led to death and disfigurement. Not to mention the poor woman who was killed on her job site in Alberta last week. People banging the drums don't live in the north, have no clue what our reality is. the NDP have lost my vote. the anti hunter agenda is nothing I can or will support. Yes I am happy I was successful in feeding my family with a great bruin, I am also very happy that this aggressive bear was harvested before it killed someone.
Resident 6/8/2014 6:44:31 PM Report

I am sickened by the joy some "humans" derive from killing. There are some incidents where one has no choice but someone salivating over the thought of killing is repugnant. Then the superior(?) "human" will puff up its chest and believe the excuse of how great he is for putting "food" on the table or protecting its progeny.
bradl 6/8/2014 8:28:10 PM Report

Its hardwired in our Brains. Humans couldn't always just go to the grocery store like Resident.
Boomer4771 6/9/2014 11:02:10 PM Report

Kill them all...=
Comments
18
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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