Sudbury·Audio

Spring bear hunt could re-inject millions into the province: report

The operator of a hunting and fishing business in Foleyet, Ont. says he couldn't agree more with a recent report about the benefits of reinstating the spring bear hunt.

Northern Policy Institute report huge revenue was lost by limiting spring bear hunt pilot project

A new report came out on Friday that says the hunt could generate millions of dollars, especially if it was opened back up to Americans. A northern Ontario tourist outfitter says Americans don't have bears in their backyards like we do. (Associated Press)
A new report says Ontario is missing out on millions of dollars by not having a full spring bear hunt. We'll check in with a family-owned hunting and fishing operation up in Foleyet about what a spring hunt could mean for them. 10:24
The operator of a hunting and fishing business in Foleyet, Ont. says he couldn't agree more with a recent report about the benefits of reinstating the spring bear hunt.

George Theriault, who is located about four hours north of Sudbury, says he's lost hundreds of thousands of dollars since the spring bear hunt was cancelled in 1999.

"We would get maybe eight guys, and maybe two gentlemen would bear hunt," he said.

"When we lost our spring hunt, we lost that whole group of eight gentlemen and they decided they would fly out of Quebec and hunt and fish."

A two-year pilot spring bear hunt just wrapped up, but it was only for Ontario residents.

Black bear population 'robust enough'

A researcher with the Northern Policy Institute says the potential for huge revenue was lost.

Mike Commito just published a report recommending the spring hunt be opened up to non-residents, including those from the U.S.
Mike Commito, policy analyst with the Northern Policy Institute. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

Committo said Americans are the ones who want to hunt bears. They also have to pay five times more than Ontarians for a bear hunting licence, and are required to use an outfitter like Theriault.

"They'd be paying for accommodations, they would be paying for supplies, equipment, travel," he said.

"Ontario's black bear population is healthy and robust enough to sustain some additional hunting pressure. Re-implementing the spring bear hunt ... would generate significant revenue for the province, and for northern Ontario in particular."

Despite the financial benefits, Commito said there's no evidence a spring hunt would mean fewer nuisance bears.

A fall bear hunting licence costs $48 for Ontarians, but $241 for Americans.

Read the report.

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