A Thunder Bay politician says he wants to expand opportunities for bear hunters and reduce the number of human encounters with aggressive bears.
Bill Mauro plans to introduce a private member's bill, that he says will “significantly increase opportunities for hunting bears.”
But the Liberal MPP won't say whether he's proposing to bring back the spring bear hunt.
"To do that, it's going to require an expanded hunt. Now what form that expansion takes has not been determined yet, but I do believe it's something that's going to have a broad base of support — certainly across the North."
The head of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance said he's encouraged by the prospect of an expanded bear hunt in Ontario.
John Kaplanis said he hopes Mauro will support the return of the spring bear hunt, which was cancelled in 1999.
Kaplanis noted the fall hunt is already long enough. It runs from mid-August until the end of October, when many hunters are hunting deer and moose.
"Hopefully there's some development on a return to hunting in the spring of some sort, as that's what we feel is the best time to hunt and manage black bears," he said.
"Now, could a compromise be made, in a trade-off of fall hunting months for spring hunting months? I think that's something that seriously needs to be examined and considered.”
As the province gears up for a possible election, Kaplanis said he expects the Progressive Conservatives will come out with a similar proposal, after they voted at their party convention to allow northern municipalities to decide on whether to reinstate the spring hunt.
"All of this coming to light right now is not coincidental,” Kaplanis said.
“I think each of these parties is going to try to look for voter support, and make the ... black bear management issue an election platform issue, and we're happy to see that.”
Bill Mauro said he will introduce his bill in the next few weeks.