For the first time in 15 years, a spring bear hunt will take place in Ontario’s North. The provincial government has launched a two-year pilot project that will revive the controversial spring hunt, which was cancelled in 1999.
Beginning May 1, Ontario residents with a licence will be allowed to hunt bears in and around certain northern communities, including North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timmins, for six weeks.
“We have heard increasingly from some Northern Ontario municipalities that they are concerned about public safety and human-bear conflicts,” David Orazietti, the Minister of Natural Resources, stated in a news release. “In response, we are taking action in a strategic way to address the areas of highest incidence.”
In 1999, the spring hunt was removed because the government said they “would not tolerate cubs being orphaned by hunters mistakenly shooting mother bears.” Under the new pilot project, it will be illegal to shoot female bears, although some are still unsatisfied with these regulations and question whether hunters will be able to identify the gender of the bears.
Prior to the introduction of this trial run, Ontario and Nova Scotia were the only two provinces home to black bears in Canada that did not hold bear hunts in both spring and fall (each only had a fall hunt).