OFAH calls for all Ontario candidates to declare support for a permanent spring bear hunt

The spring bear hunt brings tremendous socio-economic benefits for local communities.

ONTARIO—It’s easy to appreciate why spring time hunting is backed by the enthusiasm of 79,000 members of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH).

For as long as Ontario has enjoyed the volunteer efforts that led to the restoration of wild turkeys, that same grassroots dedication has been acclaimed for fighting for the Ontario spring bear hunt.

“Turkey and bear hunting season are now in full swing and OFAH members do not take these opportunities for granted because they put so much energy into promoting conservation and the great social and economic opportunities of bear and turkey hunting,” said Mark Ryckman, OFAH manager of policy, in a release.

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In 2014, the expansion of the spring bear hunt pilot project was announced with specific credit to the relentless efforts of the OFAH in promoting the importance of this wildlife management tool. In 2016, two years into the pilot project, more than 22,000 resident bear licences were sold in Ontario, and hunters collectively spent more than 177,000 days in pursuit of bears. This generates tremendous socio-economic benefits for local communities, contributes to sustainable wildlife management, and rewards individual hunters with important family traditions and an opportunity to obtain wholesome food.

In a province where people live in close proximity to bears, and bear encounters are a fact of life in many northern and rural communities, OFAH members are more determined than ever to push for the restoration of a permanent spring bear hunt. To properly manage bears, we must use every tool at our disposal, and that includes spring hunting. The OFAH is also requesting the government to look at new bear hunting opportunities in southern wildlife management units that don’t currently have a season of any kind.

“Leading into the June election, the OFAH is asking provincial political candidates the important questions on conservation issues, including a yes or no question on the future of the Ontario spring bear hunt,” said Mr. Ryckman.

The release notes the OFAH is a non-partisan organization that will never tell its members how to vote but will provide them with the information needed to make an informed decision on election day. For more information related to the provincial election and outdoors priorities, visit www.ofah.org/election2018.

This week, bear encounters (including a bear attack near Sault Ste. Marie) are already making news in parts of Ontario bear country. Those encounters emphasize why the Ontario spring bear hunt is a critical wildlife management tool, adds the OFAH release.

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