Should the province do more to protect people from bears?

By Cottage LifeCottage Life

Black bear

Photo by iStockphoto/Thinkstock


After a man from Cochrane, Ontario nearly died from a bear encounter, provincial staff are looking for a new way to deal with the animals.

While the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) previously dealt with emergency bear encounters, all calls regarding nuisance bears have been passed off to the OPP. The MNR stopped relocating bears last summer, since evidence showed that the bears would often find their way back to the same location. The province does, however, still run a hotline where people can call for tips on bear safety.

But according to a report by the CBC, John Vanthof, an MPP for the region where the man was attacked, says this isn’t an acceptable solution to the problem. Vanthof raised the issue at Queen’s Park, and demanded a new answer for Ontario.

“If moving bears isn’t working, then maybe the MNR needs to be responsible for doing what works with bears,” Vanthof said.

Who do you think should be responsible for dealing with nuisance bears? Comment below!


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Aug. 8, 2013

3:33 pm

MNR should be responsible for bears. The OPP, and municipal police forces, are not trained to handle bears. The Police Chiefs in Northern Ontario have said this, backed up by their municipal councils, but N. Ont doesn't exist according to Queen's Park so they are ignored. Also the bear wise line offers advice limited to call the police, bring in your garbage, clean your BBQ and take the fruit off your trees. Helpful when Yogi is in your backyard looking for dinner!


Jul. 25, 2013

8:48 am

As a life long resident of Northeastern Ontario and a cottage owner, like a lot of my fellow northerner, I am tired of people from the south telling us how to handle bears. We don't have to deal with them at the cottage as we are a good distance from the local dump but we do get then in our backyard at home all summer. The spring bear hunt was a way of controlling the bear population and should be reinstated. Also MNR should take back control of the bear population and not leave it up to local police forces or the OPP. I personally think bears are magnificent animals who must be respected for what they are, potentially dangerous animals, but when they threaten people, people must be protected from the bears and not the other way around.


Jul. 4, 2013

10:11 am

Juliette and I couldn't have said it better myself! You too j.alexander! The world would be such a better place without humans! Everything could live in harmony!


Jul. 4, 2013

10:09 am

Bring back the Spring bear hunt

Jul. 4, 2013

9:10 am

Paul62 said: "if you want a species to survive, thrive, but be balanced, ensure there is a hunting season for them". I would rewrite the above statement to: "if you want a species to survive, thrive, but be balanced, remove humans from the equation". Any lack of balance in nature or any wild species is usually the direct result of human encroachment or interference. Thousands of studies show that when left alone, Nature will balance out any unusual population growth either through disease, starvation or increase in predator population. Problem is, we humans stand in Her way to do her job. And one of these days She will decide the Human population has reached the crisis numbers. Don't get me wrong, I love cottage country and hope to some day make my home in Muskoka. But I will make darn sure there is no food or food smells around my house. No vegetable or fruit garden, no bird feeders, no garbage. Any BBQ will be meticulously cleaned after. And any encroaching bears will be viewed with joy and then humanely scared away... To answer the original question - the only thing the Ministry can do is educate the human residents on how to prevent problems with bears from happening in the first place.

Jul. 4, 2013

6:58 am

A nuisance bear visited our cottage three times between 2009-2011. Two of those visits happened when we were there in our cottage. MNR sent the 'bear man 'Bart' to talk to us. He is a bear hugger and said we weren't doing anything that he didn't suggest i.e. not having a bird feeder. On the third visit when we weren't home, the bear destroyed our kitchen. And I mean destroyed. The rubble left behind was unbelievable. The floor that sat in tomato juice, milk, eggs etc. totally damaged the floor and we had to replace it. I wrote to McGinty, Harper and our local MPP. A form letter was sent in reply by Mr. McGinty-that was all. I want something done about the bear situation. We have young children and I am afraid to send them outside to play. The Spring Bear Hunt needs to be put in place again. I don't suppose there's any hope of the old fashioned dump returning. This would help also. Discouraged and disgusted with the attitude of our government. Apparently the bears are more important than people. Donna S.--you have me on record at the MNR


Jul. 4, 2013

6:26 am

I continually find it amazing that people with no exposure to bears have the strongest opinions. A wise person once said, "if you want a species to survive, thrive, but be balanced, ensure there is a hunting season for them". Hunters take care of the species they harvest food from. It's a fact that nuisance bear occurrences have increased since the spring bear hunt ban. Ask anyone who spends time up north. When the dreaded day comes that the exploding southern Ontario coyote population hurts a child, there will be hell to be paid. The same people that blame others for the bear problem will be demanding that all coyotes be culled to protect the children. It somehow seems, however, that the children in northern Ontario are not as important in their eyes. It's their fault for living in bear country. Life is what it is. We continue to expand into remote areas and will continue to do so. We have to find a way to live with wildlife and most residents in bear country know how to do so. It's the same people that blame humans, find them so cute that they have to feed them when vacationing in bear country, teaching them that humans = food. Then they cry that they are so cute when they have to be shot because they are ransacking homes.

Jul. 4, 2013

6:11 am

I totally agree with Juliette's comment. Habitat encroachment is the main cause of bear encounters. And besides, bear attacks are less common than getting struck by lightning if we are talking odds here. Bears are pretty predictable animals. They are afraid of us and for good reason. I have had lots of encounters with bears in the bush and they do they same thing every time...they run away. This might sound crass, but whenever I read or hear about a bear mauling I wonder about the bear's side of the story.


Jul. 4, 2013

6:02 am

Demanding to have the MNR deal with the bears requires two money, and workable solutions that don't involve extermination. Telling Mr. Harper anything is not going to do anything since this is a provincial issue, not federal. I walk in the thousands of acres behind my cottage every weekend, and in the last three years the population seems to have risen dramatically...I used to only see a bear once every couple of years, now it is more than once a month. A little more often than I would prefer. I don't hunt (other than with a camera), but I believe encouraging a bit more bear harvesting would not be a bad thing...the potential alternative of having an innocent child mauled who did nothing more than have marshmallows and hot dogs by a campfire is becoming far too easy to picture.


Jul. 4, 2013

1:35 am

I agree with the above comment. More should be done to protect bears (and other wildlife) from people.


Jul. 3, 2013

2:16 pm

Ok let me get this straight. We (humans) clear cut thousands of acres of forests, farmland etc every year for new subdivisions in cities. We then decide we hate city life so we head north to cottage country and do the same there. Cut down trees, build cottages, which is by the way home for bears, moose, deer, and every other type of beautiful wildlife that this country has to offer. Then we complain because the bear etc are venturing into our camps and backyards because we usually are stupid enough to put out garbage in it which will attract bears and then someone gets attacked and I'm not saying every time but usually the human is doing something stupid that gets them attacked and now we need to kill the wildlife because they are doing something wrong??? Dos anyone else but me see what's wrong with this picture? As far as the MPP goes,they couldn't run a chicken coop let alone handle this issue so that person shouldn't enter the equation. Start FINING people who leave garbage out, who deliberately do things to entice bears. Put signage up that says if you (the human) enters bear country and do something stupid and get attacked you are on your own! Stop selling off crown land and let the wildlife HAVE a home without encroaching it with more homes. Educate people about wildlife. I've seen idiots in Banff park placing their tiny children right next to a huge male elk to get a picture! It's humans who are the problem not the wildlife. If we keep killing off species then at some point we wont have to worry because we have killed them all off. Tell Stephen Harper to stop decimating parks Canada as he is doing right now and hire MORE people to look after our magnificent wilderness.

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