Recent Media Coverage

Numbers don’t lie: Bear Wise hasn’t worked

The Chronicle Journal,
Letter to the editor by Dennis Ukrainec,
November 21 2015

Re Bear Hunt Renewal Ignores Expert Advice — letter, Nov. 18:

The letter writer refers to the 2003 Ontario Nuisance Bear Committee as the “expert” body that provided great advice. Let’s be clear, the Nuisance Bear Committee was a sham, a group that was fabricated by the provincial Conservative government to justify their politically disastrous move to cave in to animal rights groups who made bogus claims about the spring bear hunt in Ontario. It’s no wonder the PCs have not been in power since.

There were no “nuisance bear” experts on that committee. Hank Hristienko, bear expert from Manitoba’s Dept. of Natural Resources has authored numerous research reports to defend spring bear hunting as the most effective means of reducing dangerous nuisance bear encounters with humans, and for sustainably managing bears in a way that provides conservation protection and value to this great big game resource.

What Ontario Nature and others are failing to provide in their so-called “conservation” based objectives, is that an over abundant bear population threatens other wildlife values such as moose, and by not offering an effective management tool such as the spring bear hunt, black bears are simply relegated to nuisance status, shot as vermin by municipal law enforcement/public safety agencies and fearful landowners. How is this considered good conservation?

How does this methodology protect sows with cubs? It doesn’t. Plain and simple Ontario Nature values bears and not moose. That isn’t how conservation works, however.

In fact the Ontario government, through its cost-to-taxpayers Bear Wise Program, did track the numbers of sows shot and cubs orphaned through shootings of nuisance bears since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt. The numbers don’t lie.

More bears were orphaned as a result of the Bear Wise program and the cancelling of the spring bear hunt than were ever actually recorded when Ontario had a spring bear hunt. This data is real, it exists and it was collected through Bear Wise but kept hush from the general public. Why? Think about it.

Ontario Nature is not a “conservation” based organization. They don’t care if bears are killed en masse as a result of nuisance shootings during the spring and summer months. They don’t care if bears are orphaned as a result of hundreds of nuisance shootings of sows in the spring months since the bear hunt cancellation. They ignore that there are rules in place to protect sows with cubs as part of a regulated hunt. Why? Because their primary objective is to see all hunting of all type ended in Ontario. Period.

The spring bear hunt adds value to our black bears as a renewable wildlife resource that should be respected as such.

A spring bear hunt will mean a sustainable population of bears is managed accordingly and taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill for a useless “bear wise” program that did nothing to keep bear numbers in control.

The Minister of Natural Resources should be applauded for standing up for bears and doing what is best for managing them sustainably and providing them with the value they deserve like other big game resources in Ontario.

Dennis Ukrainec


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