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OFAH urges provincial candidates to support permanent spring bear hunt

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is urging provincial candidates to support a permanent spring bear hunt.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is urging provincial candidates to support a permanent spring bear hunt. The Canadian Press file

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is calling for provincial candidates to support a permanent spring bear hunt.

The Peterborough-based conservation organization with 79,000 members says a spring hunt is an important tool to address the bear population.

The province cancelled the spring bear hunt in 1999 but launched two-year pilot project in northern Ontario in 2014 and expanded them in 2016 for a five-year period.

READ MORE: Woman recovering after attack by black bear in Sault Ste. Marie

OFAH manager of policy Mark Ryckman says it’s time for the provincial government to consider new hunting opportunities in southern Ontario.

“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 Ryckman.

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OFAH says two years into the pilot project, more than 22,000 resident bear licences were sold with hunters spending more than 177,000 days hunting.

“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,” Ryckman said.

Ryckman noted a recent black bear attack in Sault Ste. Marie as another reason a permanent spring hunt is needed.

“Those encounters emphasize why the Ontario spring bear hunt is a critical wildlife management tool,” he said.

Ryckman says OFAH it is non-partisan and won’t encourage its members how to vote but has outlined a number of issues it hopes candidates address.

“Turkey and bear hunting seasons 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,” stated Mark Ryckman, OFAH Manager of Policy.

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