Thunder Bay

Ontario expands spring bear hunt pilot project

A spring bear hunt pilot project in Ontario is being expanded to all areas of the province that currently have a fall bear hunt.

A spring bear hunt pilot project in Ontario is being expanded to all 88 wildlife management areas of the province that currently have a fall bear hunt.

The hunt will also include Non-resident hunters.

For the last two years, the pilot project allowed a bear hunt from May 1 to June 15 in a handful of wildlife management units  in the areas around Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.

The Liberal government says the new, 5 year pilot project spring hunt will be in place until 2020.

Hunting bear cubs and females with cubs will still be illegal, with fines of up to $25,000 and up to one year of imprisonment.

In most cases, a licensed hunter will be allowed to hunt one bear in each calendar year.

The province also said the baiting of bears during all bear hunting seasons will be regulated to help address public safety concerns, including:

  • Bait must not be placed within 500 metres of a residence unless written permission is obtained from the residence's owner
  • Bait must not be placed within 500 metres of a public building
  • Bait must not be placed within 200 metres of a right of way for public vehicle traffic or a marked public recreational trail.

Officials estimate Ontario has up to 105,000 black bears, which they says is healthy and sustainable population.

Currently across Canada, each province and territory with black bears has a spring and fall bear hunt except Nova Scotia, which only has a fall hunt.

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