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Reinstate the hunt

Dear editor:

Here’s a recipe for a Canadian (Boston) Tea Party:

Combine one lb. education cuts, one lb. health care cuts, one lb. firearms regulation, one lb. “Lands for Life” (Crown land usage), one lb. fishing regulations, and a pinch of cancelled spring bear hunt just for taste.

No need to add heat since the pot already is boiling.

Is cancelling the spring bear hunt the last bad decision Premier Mike will make before a much-needed election is called?

The cancellation is leaving a bad taste in Northern Ontario mouths. Here, again, is an issue that financially affects many tourist outfitters and spin-off businesses without any public consultation. A loss of $40 million annually!

According to MNR statistics, the Ontario bear population is 75,000-100,000 strong--and growing. This tells me this big game species is being managed properly and the decision to end the spring bear hunt was neither a conservation nor environmental issue. In fact, communities in northern and central Ontario will have even more nuisance bear problems considering the MNR no longer is in the business of relocating them.

In Fort Frances, we have one person with one trap to police the whole district. This tells me that there will be orphaned cubs for the simple fact that northerners tend to take care of their own problems if no help is available to them.

One suggestion came from down Atikokan way that we should trap a number of bears and transport them to Queen’s Park for a live release. Wouldn’t that be a sight! I wonder how many city people have seen a live bear. Would they cuddle and pet the cute little bears as the animal alliance group did in their teddy bear ads that were plastered all over southern Ontario.

Getting back to Premier Mike. How can he totally dismiss MNR bear biology? More bears each spring will affect other big game species, as well. Deer fawns, moose calves, elk calves, and young caribou are killed by bears. So more bears means less hunting opportunities in the future as other big game species will decline in numbers.

Farmers, fruit growers, and beekeepers are other groups that will have increased bear problems.

There also is the possibility of more bear attacks on people. I say this because hunting bears teaches them to stay away from you and me. Just look at any town dump--the bears on these sites are not afraid of anything. They are used to the smell and sight of people and are left alone.

It’s a fact that there are more bear attacks in areas where you can’t hunt bears than there are where you can. It’s also a fact that no studies or hard data has been gathered to give an accurate number of orphaned cubs in Ontario.

The special purpose account which our licence fees for hunting and fishing go into will be about $2 million per year. This money is used for enforcement and is in short supply. When is the last time you saw a conservation officer? I would guess not nearly as much as you used to.

Again, Premier Harris says it’s to stop the orphaning of cubs that he cancelled the spring bear hunt. Well, it’s already against the law to shoot cubs or sows with cubs during the spring hunt.

Premier Mike, I suggest to you that you made a political decision to end the spring bear hunt because of the pressure applied from the animal alliance and environmental group who have found a financial backer in Robert Schad of the Schad Foundation. I guess money talks in your world and the b.s. walks all the way to the north.

Do we have to live with it? Talk is again starting about splitting from southern Ontario as they see no fair representation from your government.

I say to you to reinstate the spring bear hunt in Ontario and, through legislation, give hunters the right to hunt in Ontario so the “antis” can’t pick away at the future of hunting in this province.

Mike, you say yours is the common sense revolution. Prove it! Reinstate the spring bear hunt in Ontario.


Shawn O’Donnell

Outraged outdoorsman

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