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UPDATED: Spring bear hunt and other Assaults on Nature

In Environment
Feb 19th, 2020

Bear cubs will pay the price

UPDATE: The comment period has closed on these Ontario government Assault-on-Nature plans  – but you can still let your MPP know what you think, and let others know what is being proposed (or, in the case of the Double Crested Cormorant, enacted) – get the facts, write to the local newspaper, share with your friends, stand up for nature. 

AWARE News Network February 18 2020

Ontario’s black bears need our help. We have until Tuesday February 18, 2020 to speak strongly against the Ford government’s proposed reinstatement of the spring bear hunt.

1. Proposed changes to black bear hunting regulations ERO number 019-1112

Comment period closes February 18 2020 

Ontario Nature submission on spring bear hunt signed by 42 organizations

Ontario Nature says: Ever since its cancellation, supporters of the spring bear hunt have argued that there would be an increase in human-bear conflict and dire consequences for human safety. Government biologists at the Ministry of Natural Resources disagreed based on their own research and other evidence. Yet, in 2014 the government reintroduced the spring hunt in parts of Ontario as a pilot study to assess the validity of safety concerns. The results of that pilot have not been publicly released, despite their obvious relevance to the current proposal.

…It is highly unlikely that there would be any big financial impact. Rather, those who used to hire outfitters in the fall to hunt black bears would be hiring them in the spring instead. Oddly, the government’s chief argument seems to be that moving from a temporary pilot to permanently reinstating the bear hunt will address uncertainty. But of course, permanently cancelling the hunt would provide the same level of certainty.

Barry Kent MacKay says: Ford’s ineptitude has engendered so much disquiet, pain, and disruption that there is little room left in the media to discuss his attacks on wildlife. The rationale is made that more revenue will flow into Ontario as rich American, European, and Asian hunters will be allowed to kill our bears in both spring and fall. What chance does a baby bear have when its starvation generates profits? Very little, indeed.

Peaceful Parks Coalition says: The Ford government wants to make permanent a hunt for black bears during the spring when female bears are with young. The spring bear hunt was cancelled in 1999 because it was considered unethical.  It was reinstated in 2014 for the false claim that it would reduce human/bear conflicts.  It didn’t. Instead people involved in bear rescues have seen spikes in the number of orphaned cubs who died from starvation, exposure or predation because their mother has been killed.

Also, in this proposal is a recommendation to close ALL black bear hunting except for one week in the spring on the Bruce Peninsula because these black bears are in steep decline and possibly extirpated.  The Ford government does not state the reason for this decline but it is likely because of the spring bear hunt and over hunting. The decline coincides with the reinstatement of the spring bear hunt.

The Fur-Bearers: The case against the spring bear hunt

Comment directly at the Environmental Registry of Ontario 

Or comment through the Premier’s website or call the Premier’s office: 416-325-1941

Or write to your local newspaper

Supporting materials

2. The Drainage Act ERO number 019-1187

Comment period closes February 18 2020 

Peaceful Parks Coalition says: This legislation governs how waste water is disposed of including water used on farms. In most cases, waste water is disposed of through creeks which in turn wash into rivers and then the Great Lakes. Waste water is polluted water, often full of toxic chemicals such as pesticides from farms and car exhaust from roads.

Lake Erie’s algae blooms are caused by such runoff pollution. This type of pollution occurs when rainfall washes fertilizer and manure spread on large farm fields into streams that flow into Lake Erie. This fuels a bumper crop of algae each year that can make water toxic to fish, wildlife, and people.

The Ford government is proposing to streamline approvals and reduce environmental protection. The Drainage Act is an old outdated piece of legislation. Contemporary views advocate that rainwater no longer be drained away and instead needs to return back to the ground where it falls to replenish groundwater and avoid runoff.

Comment directly at the Environmental Registry of Ontario

Supporting materials 


1. Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy (Draft) ERO number 019-0880

Comment period closed February 5 2020

Ontario Nature says: “Ontario’s Forest Sector Strategy aspires to double the amount of logging in the province from 15 million to 30 million cubic metres of wood per year, with no commitments to set aside more forests to support wildlife conservation.

“Current logging levels are already hampering opportunities for habitat protection. In the face of the global climate emergency, we need to be reducing the industrial footprint. Many species are experiencing unprecedented and unpredictable habitat disruption and need more space to adapt. Scientists have directly linked excessive consumption of the world’s resources to the climate crisis, and are calling for increased protection and restoration of our ecosystems, including remaining primary forests. The government is leading us in the wrong direction.

“The strategy also completely ignores the link between habitat fragmentation and species decline. In its proposal to further subsidize and expand the logging road network, it misses the opportunity to use those tax dollars to incentivize actions which better address the legacy of these roads, landings and slash piles, and increase habitat restoration efforts. Subsidies to forestry companies for building and maintaining logging roads have been costing the public approximately $60 million per year, totalling more than half a billion dollars between 2005 and 2015. The government boasts the length of these roads is enough to drive across Canada and back. ”

Link to Ontario Nature Action Alert – sign it to let let the government know you want a forest strategy that supports sustainable logging and cares for nature. You can also comment directly at the Environmental Registry of Ontario

Discussion paper

Proposed changes to wolf and coyote hunting regulations in Northern Ontario ERO number 019-1099

Comment is closed

One view from the North: Ontario government revisits unscientific and unethical wolf hunting plans

3. Proposal to reduce the minimum distance requirement for placement of bait from rights of way and trails for black bear hunting ERO number 019-0022

Comment period closed last year 

Peaceful Parks Coalition says: Everything about this proposal is unethical. It’s aim is simply to enhance the business of sport hunting outfitters – a dying business.

4. Proposal to establish a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario ERO number 013-4124

This one got done last year too, as part of the Omnibus Bill 138, making the DCC the only North American migratory bird that can be shot on the nest during breeding season. Under an exemption to  the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997, hunters may leave the dead birds in the environment to spoil. There was widespread opposition to the open season on cormorants, based on the fact that

– Cormorants don’t deplete sport fish populations, they feed on smaller fish which are an abundant resource for fish and bird predators alike.

– They share their nesting sites with other colonial bird species – Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, White Pelicans – and those will be disturbed during breeding season.

– The guano destruction of vegetation is a natural process that plays out over decades and centuries, one that we have not studied over the time span needed to fully understand.

– Landowners are already allowed to destroy “nuisance” cormorants that affect their use of their property.

– Experts have been reporting that the Great Lakes cormorant population is levelling off. Large-scale kills will interfere with that natural stabilization.

4 Responses to “UPDATED: Spring bear hunt and other Assaults on Nature”

  1. Ann says:

    My submission re the Spring Bear Hunt:
    The indiscriminate shooting of black bears immediately after they emerge from hibernation is really cruel and disgusting. This has to stop!
    Even though this proposal prohibits the killing of mother bears with their young cubs, there is no way to effectively protect them while striving to kill other bears, and the Ontario government has not said how this will be monitored.
    The spring bear hunt will again result in orphaning of young cubs, unnecessary suffering and will impact Ontario’s ecosystem in unimaginable ways.
    Sport hunters bait hungry bears with junk food, thus habituating them to human food. Then people complain because they become nuisance bears. In June 2013, the Ontario government dismantled the Bear Wise Program which was specifically set up to address human/bear encounters.
    And the Ontario government has neglected to ensure that the animals have space to roam without disturbance by failing to protect Ontario’s northern forests, the black bear’s natural habitat.

  2. Marilyn Corbett says:

    The spring bear hunt should be cancelled, never be reinstated. It was cancelled for ethical reasons, and those reasons have not changed.
    I would trust the findings of the Ministry of Natural Resources over those with a vested interest in hunting bears. There has been no decrease in human to bear contact, but there is an increase in orphaned cubs. It is unethical to hunt these bears when they are most vulnerable while coming out of hibernation. I would implore the government to listen to the Ministry of Natural Resources and not those with vested interests in hunting and killing bears.

  3. Gisela M. Benke says:

    the wolf howls
    the bear growls
    the man kills silently
    By: Haiku 20/1/29a

    politicians approve
    hearts of ice
    hunter loads gun
    magnificent male bear dies
    paws in high demand
    mother bear dead
    babies scream and hide..to die alone…..

  4. Wendy parkinson says:

    Leave the bears in peace. Please! I’m against hunting without very good reason.

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