Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

September 22, 2005 13:47 ET

Bear attacks show failure in Government's management policy

Attention: Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 22, 2005) - This week's vicious black bear attack, the second in less than a month in Ontario, is yet another example of why for over six-and-a-half years (since the spring bear hunt was cancelled in 1999), the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has tried everything possible to convince the Ontario government to reinstate the hunt.

"We told the government then, and have continued to do so ever since, that regulated hunting is a proven wildlife population control tool that can increase public safety. Unfortunately, our dire predictions continue to come true," said O.F.A.H. biologist, Dr. Terry Quinney. "Reduced harvest of bears resulting from the cancellation of the spring bear hunt has resulted in an increase of bear numbers and density, and an increase in the number of aggressive adult male bears."

Here is what six independent bear experts from across North America said when the hunt was cancelled: "Increasing interaction with humans resulting from higher bear densities is likely to result in more bear attacks on humans. Bear attacks on humans are more prevalent in areas where no hunting occurs (e.g. in parks) than in areas where bears are hunted. As the structure of the bear population changes [because of no spring hunt including] more older aged male bears, it is probable that the incidence of 'human predatory' bears will increase."

A key question that must be addressed immediately is - has the government done everything reasonably possible to minimize the possibilities of the occurrence of such tragedies? The O.F.A.H. repeats what it said more than three years ago: "The cancellation of the spring bear hunt was bad for people and bad for bears… for the good of society and the good of the black bear population, the spring bear hunt must be reinstated."

"Saying 'we told you so' gives us no satisfaction whatsoever," added Dr. Quinney. "The government's bear management policy is a failure and must be changed immediately. When former Premier Harris suddenly terminated the hunt, bowing to the political blackmail of animal rights activists, the government said that one orphaned cub was one too many. Conversely, the O.F.A.H. says one avoidable human death is one too many."
/For further information: Dr. Terry Quinney
Provincial Manager of
Fish & Wildlife Services
(705) 748-6324 ext. 242

Contact Information

  • Robert J. Pye, Communications Coordinator, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 267
    E-mail: robert_pye@ofah.org