Doug Ford government sparks outrage with expanded bear hunting program
The Province has announced it is moving to make the spring bear hunting pilot project a regular, annual occurrence.
According to a release from the Ontario government, the Province believes implementing the spring, bear hunting season will help keep the black bear populations of Ontario at sustainable levels.
The pilot began in 2014, and the black bear hunting season has occurred every spring since then.
“Ontario is home to a healthy bear population,” John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, said in the release.
“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,” he continued.
While the government is aiming to make black bear hunting a regular, annual occurrence, it will still be keeping protections for the animals in place. This means it will still be illegal to harvest black bear cubs and females with cubs even in-season—a crime that is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and up to one-year imprisonment.
The Province believes having a regulated season in place will help boost tourism and create jobs for communities in northern Ontario.
“We are listening to the concerns of northern Ontarians and the tourism industry that an ongoing pilot spring season creates economic uncertainty,” Yakabuski 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,” he added.
According to the release, bear hunting has been quite lucrative for the Province—every year, the Ontario government sells approximately 25,000 hunting licenses, which brings in $2.4 in revenue.
Additionally, in 2017 alone, black bear hunters in Ontario spent approximately $50.6 million in hunting-related purchases.
However, many Ontario residents have voiced their displeasure with the Province’s decision on Twitter.
Let's put an end to black bear hunting in Ontario https://t.co/MPVjvCejby— Ban Blood Sports (@banbloodsports) November 4, 2015
Those opposed to implementing the bear hunting season cite several reasons for why it is bad for the bear population including the number of cubs that are orphaned each year, and are urging Ontarians to sign a petition to ban it instead.
@HGasol Just signed this much needed petition to stop bear hunting in Ontario B/C bear cubs come out in spring.— Heather Gasol (@HGasol) April 6, 2014
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