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Here’s Why a Bear Hunt is a Crappy Solution to Ontario’s Bear Problem

Here’s Why a Bear Hunt is a Crappy Solution to Ontario’s Bear Problem

Two animal advocacy groups are taking the government to court in an attempt to stop the return of Ontario’s cruel and pointless spring bear hunt, which is set to start on May 1.

In a move that some believe has more to do with politics than bear management, the government announced earlier this month that it would be bringing the spring hunt back with a pilot program that is set to run for six weeks in eight wildlife areas. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of nuisance bears and conflicts with people, but animal advocates are arguing that the only thing it will accomplish is orphaning bear cubs who will die a slow death alone without their mothers.

Following heavy campaigning by animal advocates, the spring hunt was previously cancelled in 1999 when the then-natural resources minister stated that ending it was the only acceptable way to ensure cubs would not being orphaned.

Cubs are only a few weeks old when they leave their dens in the spring and are completely dependent on their mothers for survival. The Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada are now challenging the hunt in court, arguing that the suffering of orphaned bear cubs will be inevitable, which violates animal cruelty laws under the current Criminal Code.

Julie Woodyer, Campaign Director for Zoocheck Canada stated:

“The spring bear hunt is cruel. Bears come out of hibernation and are extremely hungry because they have not eaten all winter. They are attracted to garbage food (fryer oil, rotten meat, and stale donuts) set out in bait piles by hunters who want an assured kill. One third of these feeding bears are female, many with tiny cubs. Often the female bears hide the cubs before approaching the bait site or kill zone. Despite being illegal for hunters to kill female bears with cubs, inevitably it happens and orphaned cubs are left to starve to death.”

Despite conflicting opinions from scientists about the effectiveness of the spring hunt, the fact that there is no effective way to ensure mother bears aren’t killed, and the unethical practices of baiting and hunting with dogs, the government is insisting that it is the only way to reduce conflicts.

According to the Nuisance Bear Review Committee, there was no connection between the cancellation of the spring bear hunt and increases in nuisance activity. What did affect the number of bear incidents was the amount of natural food they had available. The committee further stated that the “root cause of nuisance activity by black bears is attraction to sources of human food or waste that is easily accessible by bears.”

That alone should make it clear that a spring hunt is unnecessary and people can take actions on their own to reduce the likelihood of trouble and ensure bears don’t become habituated to us.

While the case is set to be heard in court on April 29, animal advocates are still urging the government to cancel the hunt and recommit to the Bear Wise program, which has reduced conflicts where it has been properly implemented through education and prevention programs.

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Please sign and share the petition urging Premier Kathleen Wynne to stop the spring bear hunt.

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129 comments

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11:16PM PDT on Jul 22, 2014

I vote to drown Gerald L. in tar sands oil by dumping it into his living room until he chokes. The personal criminal greed and insanity of many Canadians boggles the mind. Leading the charge on destroying Canada's environment and beyond that, threatening the entire world's environment is that criminal psychopath Harper, who weak spined Canadians have allowed to wreak havoc for two terms. Gerald L how about we throw you naked into the Canadian bloodbath of seal pups and you can volunteer to be first to be clubbed. Then you can experience firsthand the "compromise" you want to make for selfish greed.

10:10PM PDT on May 12, 2014

I am way behind on my emails so I did not get this one signed but I agree that it needs to stop.

1:33AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Really? I don't understand why they continue with stupid kill campaigns like this even though there's evidence that they don't work.

12:06AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

contd; Alberta's Oil Sand's, guess what Rosemary people have to butter their bread, oh shit an animal based product! I am not likely to be converted to your belief in animal sentience. Irregardless I do not know what sector of the economy, or whether you even worked, or if you have a working spouse, BUT you are using the internet, powered by electricity, produced by what. The computer has components which were mined or produced from Oil.

Modern life is a bitch full of compromises! If you don't want us to use wool because of exploiting sheep, if rayon is the alternative, we need Pulp Mills & chemicals, logs from the forest etc. I would think sheep eating grass is a lot more sustainable, and humans wearing the sheepskin and eating the meat makes more sense than either switching to a poly-fiber which needs Oil feedstocks, pipelines, refineries etc.

I often wonder if militant vegans are a front for heavy industry. Because there is not much in their web of subsistence that has a natural self sustaining, re-productable from sunshine producing grass & vegetation to fiber for clothing, dairy products for nourishment, hides for wearing, leather for footwear, meat for eating, and most precious of all manure for nourishing the fields instead of chemically synthesized fertilizer. Yes I cannot forget plant based, cotton, hemp, jute etc. often farmed by exploiting oxen, of which the alternative would be mechanized farm equipment, made from...

The stupidity of homo sapi

12:03AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

@ Rosemary L; Northern Ontario was settled to harvest trees for sawlogs, for housing, plus produce paper & pulp bales to be converted into value added products; eg. disposable baby diapers, personal care products (of which I will let you figure out)!

So for people to read a daily newspaper, wipe their derrier, etc. most of which was shipped south of the 49th. to afford those conveniences to our neighbours in the south, man had to settle, and build towns in the wilderness, evicting bruin where they built their towns & villages.

When forests are cut down, it stimulates blueberry growth, a favoured food for bears. Maybe, we by clear-cutting enhance numbers of bear. And I have also shared about garbage dumps. And for you sadly man has an appetite for meat protein, whether wild or farmed. There is nothing humane about killing an animal, but civilization has used meat protein, their hides and other byproducts to nourish & sustain themselves since Eden.

So I remain a arrogant, stupid, self-centered human with insane behavior, and god forbid never cancerous! The good news FOR YOU is 12 Pulp & Paper Mills, + numerous sawmills, plywood mills, strand-board mills have shut down. Where has the production moved to? Probably to the Amazon and Asian countries to avoid environmental regulations here, and exploit cheap non-union labour.

Towns are shrinking, empty homes being torn down etc. Do you know where most of the people are working now? Alberta's Oil Sand's

4:18PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Sorry, Gerald, I had not read your comments in-depth at first glance. Your comments about "protecting humans" is unfortunately a glaring example of Homo sapiens' arrogance towards non-humans. As Linda M. & Sue G. pointed out so well, humans are the problem, not the bears.
You mention "bear attacks on humans" but you fail to mention, that in comparison, the number of bears killed by humans is astronomical compared to the few on humans. Most bear "attacks" are a result of human stupidity, such as poor camping skills, going into bear habitat knowingly, or encroachment/development in the areas where bears are trying to exist. Human "management" of wildlife is a terrible failure, which has nothing to do with protection or preservation of non-human species: it is primarily for the "convenience" and/or so-called "sport" of self-centered humans.

11:15AM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Thank you, Sue, G., & Gerald for your intelligent, thoughtful comments. This is not a bear problem. It is a human arrogance and stupidity problem. Homo sapiens is a cancer on the planet, encroaching into every corner, grabbing more, developing more of the natural world--where remaining native wild animals live. It is the ultimate of self-centered, insane behavior. This human idea of "management" is another lie, and needs to be challenged, as some of us do. Humans are the ones who need the "management." ET, where are you?
But, our species is in denial, and will not face our destructive tendencies. When a few "survivors" are standing in a barren, lifeless, ruined world, eating each other, they still won't get it. Bear problem, no. Human problem, yes!
I see that some on this blog want to trivialize the core discussion,by diverting it to nonsense; they are the same ones who do this on other blogs.

10:48AM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Poor bears.

12:52PM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

contd; This open dumping of food & meat scraps gives bruin an appetite for human food, which could be the root cause of the recent aggressiveness with bears attacking humans, & wanting into homes & cottages. A dump attendant counted 27 bears adjacent to a town of 1,500 with houses & motels 700' away. While talking about dump locations, the next time your up north drive into Marathon and ask where the Town Dump is or was for decades, right in the centre of town beside a School (check out pebble beach, and inquire about the mercury blob in the harbour). The dump also sits over an UNDERGROUND AQUIFER, for a town that pulls it's drinking water from 5 underground wells. WALKERTON # 2!!!

People living in Southern Ontario may not fully understand what is going on in the northern part of the province. Our Government Ministries, & Municipalties are very guilty of wearing horse blinders and allowing practices contrary to Environmental Laws. The old adage "follow the money" but in this case "watch what happens to save money"

12:49PM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

Hi Linda, do you understand the terror a mother would have when the bear is in her strawberry patch, and her children may already be in the bears tummy?

When my mother was freaking out when the bear was eating her strawberries, she did not know whether we were alive, because we were in the bush out of her sight behind the bear. We were thankful the bear had a berry appetite rather than a desire for human flesh.

But then the character living out of town who had Market Gardens specializing in strawberries that decides he will feed his teddy bear friends meat scraps from the grocery store to divert their taste from strawberries. Well johnny did end up in the Hospital in old age and his teddy bears were wanting meat, so they travelled the 2 miles into town in the dark of night, broke the front door open at the grocery store, went to the butcher shop, gorged themselves and left through the back door.

Our Province is also NEGLIGENT with small Municipal Dumps where the garbage is not buried daily like large city operations. The Ministry of the Environment & Natural Resources who run smaller cottage country dumps are entangled in this because I have caught MNR employees lighting garbage dumps on fire, which they always blame on the public. Research dioxin emissions caused from open air garbage burning. Smaller municipalities are also guilty of lighting garbage dumps on fire, to save money hiring a bulldozer to cover the garbage with gravel!

This open dumping of food

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