OpEd from Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry
This year, Ontario made changes to enhance the spring black bear hunting pilot that began in 2014. Our government has extended the pilot to 2020 and expanded the hunt to all 88 Wildlife Management Units that have a fall season. In addition to these changes, Ontario will now allow non-residents to participate in the spring hunt.
The expanded spring bear hunt pilot has two objectives: to address concerns voiced by communities about human-bear conflicts, and to support economic growth and tourism in northern and central Ontario.
With the spring hunt now being extended to non-residents, Outfitters have two seasons in which to offer black bear hunts.
For the 2017 season, the government is also advising Outfitters of their allocation numbers earlier than last year, allowing them to better plan for the spring and fall season.
Of course, even with these changes, responsible hunting practices and wildlife management are important to our government. While we are committed to providing new hunting opportunities for black bears, this must be balanced with the long-term sustainability of the black bear population throughout Ontario.
Going forward, our government will continue to monitor bear populations, harvest results and sustainability indicators to ensure the spring black bear hunt pilot continues to deliver positive results for our communities.
Hon. Kathryn McGarry
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry