Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Canada
A letter and article about Ontario's Spring Bear Hunt

This is sport?

October 14, 2011

Re: Bring Back Spring Hunt (below) -- CJ, Oct. 12:

First off, why do they call it a spring "bear hunt" when it is more likely a bunch of over-weight wheezers in camos, hand-warmers and MP3 players sitting in a tree blind baiting the unsuspecting animal to a slop pail that they have so generously laid out for it.

And this is a sport? If it is, it is akin to shooting trout in a barrel.
This is not hunting -- it is lazy entrapment and should be named and banned for what it is!

When the Government of Ontario wisely outlawed the spring bear hunt, the Ministry of Natural Resources had prepared a report confirming that over 250 cubs had been orphaned because of this archaic practice. When bears emerge from hibernation in mid-spring, lethargic and an easy target for "bear-baiters," the cubs born to the mothers are barely three or four months old.

Starving to death for lack of mother's milk is an "externality" that organizations like the Northwest Ontario Sportsmen's (sic) Alliance either do not take into account or don't care about.

And I doubt very much that these bear-baiters, in frenzied anticipation of killing the baited animal, are going to stop long enough to determine if their "sport" prize is a male or a lactating female!

Blam-blam, another one bites the dust and we prove once again our virile ability to triumph over nature and subdue other species.

Perhaps if we stopped encroaching on their habitat and continuously destroying their food sources, we would not have the dreaded bear encounters that these "baiters" and their lobbying organizations appear to fear so much.
Peter Andre Globensky

Thunder Bay

Bring back spring hunt
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 01:00

Note: This is edited version, with a correction.


A renewed call by a Thunder Bay-based hunting group to restore the spring bear hunt appears to be falling on deaf ears, even as a provincial wildlife technician recovers in hospital after being mauled by a black bear last week.
The Ministry of Natural Resources said Tuesday that new measures to combat black bear attacks are not needed because workers are well-served by existing techniques.

"All (field) employees receive the training and we are confident in that training," ministry spokeswoman Jolanta Kowalski said.

Kowalski said a 24-year-old female ministry employee who was mauled Oct. 4 while working near Armstrong would have received the training.

The woman, who's name has not been released, was listed in good condition Tuesday at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

The Northwest Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance (NOSA), which believes restoring the spring hunt would reduce bear attacks, says the training -- which does not include firearms -- may not be enough.

"This is the second MNR employee to experience an attack of this nature in as many years, and NOSA is concerned that the next one may not be so lucky," NOSA executive director John Kaplanis said in a news release.

Ministry workers are encouraged to carry bear spray when venturing into the remote bush, but it's not mandatory.

Kowalski said details of the Oct. 4 attack are still being compiled.

"Our priority right now is to make sure she gets well," said Kowalski.

The ministry maintains that black bear attacks are rare, noting that only one person has been fatally mauled since the spring bear hunt was cancelled in favour of a fall hunt in 1999.

The victim in that case was a young female physician from southern Ontario who was attacked at the remote Missanabie wilderness park near Chapleau.
Last week's attack has struck a nerve among ministry employees.

"While the bear that attacked (the worker) has now been captured and euthanized, this attack reminds us that even with our skilled workforce incidents can occur," MNR deputy minister David O'Toole said in a staff memo issued last week.

Although there is no scientific evidence to support it -- in part because attacks were not closely monitored prior to 1999 -- NOSA believes there were fewer bear encounters when the spring hunt was available.

"Research conducted in Manitoba tells us that harvesting bears in spring removes many of the same bears that become a problem throughout summer and fall months," Kaplanis said.

"Manitoba, as a result of their research, has fended off attempts by animal rights groups who set out to ban the Manitoba spring hunt," he added.
Hunting groups say Ontario's spring hunt was cancelled by the former Tory government, which buckled under pressure from southern environmentalists who claimed the hunt was creating an excess of orphan bear cubs.


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