Thunder Bay

Spring bear hunt should include ban on baiting, animal rights group says

The province should ban baiting bears with food as it launches a five-year spring bear hunt pilot project, an animal rights group says.

Animal Alliance of Canada disappointed with spring bear hunt pilot project

City councillors in Thunder Bay voted Monday night to endorse the provincial spring bear hunt, despite hearing from half a dozen concerned citizens, who say the hunt is unnecessary. (Associated Press)

The province should ban baiting bears with food as it looks to expand the bear hunt, an animal rights group says.

The Animal Alliance of Canada says it's disappointed with the Ontario government's decision to re-instate the spring bear hunt
, and that too many bears will "die needlessly."

But Liz White, a director with the group, says if the hunt is going ahead then the government should level the playing field for hunters and bears.

"The government should ban baiting," she said. "They don't want other people to feed bears, then we shouldn't be feeding bears in the woods. If people want to hunt bears, then they should ... stalk them or whatever they do. But sitting in a tree with a pile of donuts is hardly sport."

A five-year pilot project will start this spring, extending to 88 wildlife management units across the province and allowing hunters from outside Ontario to take part.

The province says it wants to expand the program to assess concerns around human-bear conflicts, and to boost economic development in northern Ontario.

Relocate bears, White says

White says she hopes the five year pilot project will prove the spring bear hunt doesn't help communities with their nuisance bear problems. She says it's been proven repeatedly that shooting bears in the spring "does not address human-wildlife conflicts."
Animal Alliance director Liz White says baiting bears is not sport. (Supplied)

She says many bear hunts happen hundreds of kilometres from communities, killing bears in the wild that are not causing issues in residential areas.

White says a better solution is an investment in the province's Bear Wise education program, and relocating bears instead of killing them.

She also rejects arguments that a spring bear hunt will help the economy.

"If the economy of the north is that fragile, then the spring bear hunt economics isn't going to pull it out of its problematic economy," she said.


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