Spring bear hunt good news for outfitters, lodge owner says
Former politician who was public face of hunt opposition says he always personally supported it
An Ontario lodge owner who says her business dried up when the spring bear hunt was cancelled in 1999 is thrilled to know tourists will be allowed to take part again.
"A politician has finally grown a brain," Roxanne Lynn of Moosehorn Lodge near Chapleau said. "Finally realized that bringing back the spring bear hunt is the only solution."
The Ontario government announced last week it would expand its pilot program for hunting black bears in the spring.
A scaled-down version was allowed last year near Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie and North Bay, but next year it will extend across the province and non-residents will be allowed to take part.
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She invested a million dollars in her family's lodge to try to go after new markets and stay afloat - "Do or die really for us."
Now she hopes to welcome back her old customers this April.
Meanwhile, a former northern politician who often defended the hunt's cancellation for years said he had always privately campaigned for it to return.
Long-time Timiskaming-Cochrane Liberal MPP and former natural resources minister David Ramsay said he's not surprised the government has come around to restoring the bear hunt, but doubts the controversy will ever fade.
"Because you get very strong viewpoints from all sides on this, it becomes big politics," he said.
He himself was overruled at the cabinet table.
"As a northerner I understood the part of the culture and the part of the economy that it played," he said. "Very difficult issue as there was this clash of values in the province."