Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry John Yakabuski recently announced the start of the government’s consultation on the proposal to reopen the spring bear hunt. At first glance it may appear to be no more than a political ploy to garner some attention during the mid-winter doldrums, after all, consultation does not guarantee results but it does get people talking and talking is what’s needed to get the spring bear hunt reinstated.
Economically speaking this is big news for Ontario, with hunters spending over 50 million dollars annually in the pursuit of a black bear. It will invigorate both domestic and international tourism and provide an additional $2.4 million in licence revenue that is used to support fish and wildlife management, it will also be a shot in the arm to Ontario’s wildlife.
I recently interviewed minister Yakabuski on Outdoor Journal Radio where he delivered a very heartfelt message on the importance of balancing wildlife management with the economics of rural Ontario.
Regardless of which side of the proverbial fence you sit on this issue, one thing should be made abundantly clear, urban sprawl is making it increasingly more difficult for Ontario to sustain a black bear population of over 100,000, the second-largest bear population in North America.
No one will dispute that a healthy bear population should be the ultimate goal here, but more bears will not necessarily lead to that. One of the absolute must-reads on the subject is available at Ontario’s problems with Black Bears.
I would strongly suggest you read this article before venturing on to the government environmental registry to review the proposal.