Government of Ontario proposing to implement regular spring black bear hunting season
Tim Brody - Editor
The Government of Ontario is undertaking consultation on a proposal for a regular annual spring black bear hunting season.
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski made the announcement on Jan. 17.
“In 2014, Ontario introduced a spring black bear hunting season pilot that supported sustainable hunting of black bears. The spring black bear hunting season pilot has continued each year since then. The province proposes to make the pilot a regular annual spring season subject to annual review,” a Government of Ontario news release informed.
“Ontario is home to a healthy bear population,” Yakabuski said. “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.” All current protections for Ontario’s black bear population would remain in place as part of the proposal.
“For example, it would remain illegal to harvest black bear cubs and females with cubs in the spring, a crime that carries a potential fine of up to $25,000 and up to one-year imprisonment,” the government’s news release explained. The news release further stated, “In addition to this proposal, Ontario is also proposing to take action to support the long-term sustainability of the declining black bear population on the Bruce Peninsula by reducing the bear hunting season in this area. “The spring black bear hunting pilot has been well received by northern communities and the tourism and hunting industries that support small businesses and jobs in northern and rural Ontario. The proposal to implement a regular season was recommended by the Big Game Management Advisory Committee (BGMAC). In Spring 2019, the government formed BGMAC to advise the province on how to improve big game management in 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.” The province is also proposing updates to black bear regulations:
Eliminating special black bear hunting opportunities for non-resident landowners and non-residents hunting with immediate relatives.
Requiring people guiding resident bear hunters for commercial purposes to obtain a "Licence to Provide Black Bear Hunting Services."
The proposed changes are now available on the Environmental Registry of Ontario for public feedback until February 18, 2020. The Big Game Management Advisory Committee report is available on ontario.ca/moose-management-review.