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Province makes move to keep spring black bear hunt

The Ontario government says it’s starting consultation on a proposal to move to a regular annual spring bear hunt.

Consultations begin on making the spring bear hunting pilot project a regular annual event

After a pilot program that began in 2014, Ontario is starting consultations on making the spring black bear hunt an annual season. (Robert F. Bukaty/The Associated Press)

The Ontario government says it's starting consultation on a proposal to move to a regular annual spring bear hunt.

John Yakabuski, the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, made the announcement in Peterborough Friday.

According to a press release sent from the ministry, Ontario introduced a spring black bear hunting season pilot project in 2014, with the aim of supporting the sustainable hunting of black bears. The hunt has returned annually since then, still considered a pilot.

The bear hunt was cancelled by the province in 1999. 

The province now proposes to make it an regular annual spring season, subject to annual review, the release stated.

"Ontario is home to a healthy bear population," Minister Yakabuski said in the release. "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 protections would remain in place for the black bear population, including protections against the illegal harvest of cubs and females in the spring. 

"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 release states.

The ministry is also proposing to reduce the bear hunting season on the Bruce Peninsula. 

According to the ministry, each year, approximately 25,000 bear licences are sold, providing $2.4 million in revenue used to support fish and wildlife management, and black bear hunters in Ontario spent approximately $50.6 million in hunting-related purchases in 2017.
 

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