Even though the fall bear hunt was officially opened on Sunday—two weeks earlier than it has been in the past—camp owners have yet to see an influx of hunters.
In fact, the action so far has resulted in what many expected—with little or no hunters taking to the fields at all.
Don Hyatt, owner of Hyatt’s Manion Lake Camp, said he has yet to attract anyone during the extended fall period.
He admitted he only has one hunter coming for Sept. 1, forcing him to contemplate whether or not he is going to keep the fall bear hunt for next season.
“I’m thinking of getting out of it,” said Hyatt yesterday afternoon. “It’s not even worth doing.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources elected to open this year’s fall bear hunt 15 days earlier than in previous years to help the tourist outfitters who were hurt financially by the abrupt cancellation of the spring bear hunt.
Natural Resources Minister John Snobelen announced the decision to cancel the spring bear hunt back in January, citing the need to end the orphaning of bear cubs.
But many outfitters have made it known that the extension of the fall bear hunt is not an adequate replacement to the abolishment of the spring bear hunt. It just doesn’t attract the same amount of hunters—or bring in near as much money—as the spring hunt, they argued.
“This is the first time we’ve tried a fall bear hunt,” said Kathy Treftlin, owner of the Northern Lite Camp. “But we had no choice with the cancelled spring hunt even though we’ve never had a fall hunt before.”
Treftlin said they have just one hunter in their camp so far, and while he was successful in bagging a male bear, she admitted she can tell the difference between a spring and fall bear hunter.
“The spring hunters are probably more serious hunters,” she observed.
Canoe Canada Outfitters in Atikokan said they have always had both the spring bear hunt and, traditionally, the numbers have always been better in the spring. While they confirmed they have a “few” hunters in already, the majority won’t come until the first week in September, which is the time the fall bear hunt usually opens.