On eve of anticipated reinstatement of spring bear hunt polling shows
majority of Ontarians oppose return of the spring bear hunt
TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - It is expected that Ontario Minister of
Natural Resources, David Orazietti will announce a re-introduction of
the spring bear hunt imminently. This will be the third attack of the
Wynne government's War on Wildlife.
The first was the rollback of endangered species legislation in July
2013 as outlined by Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller at Queens Park last week. In the summer of 2013, the Bear Wise program was reduced to
just a phone hotline. Finally, a return to the spring bear hunt was
cancelled in 1999.
Mike McIntosh, President of Bear With Us - Sanctuary and Rehabilitation
Centre for Bears (near Sprucedale Ontario) observed, "Despite recent
statement made to the contrary by the Minister that the spring bear
hunt would not be reinstated - there is every reason to believe the
government will flip-flop and the hunt will return."
He went on to say, "I am confused, if the intent is to control nuisance
bears why is the spring hunt needed?" Every year since 2000, over 5,000
bears have been killed annually in the Fall-only hunt. In the last year
of the combined season hunt (1998) the kill hovered around the 4,000
mark. In simple terms, more bears are now being killed in the Fall-only
hunt than in the last year of the combined season hunt in 1998.
In an effort to offload the controversy and cost onto local governments,
it appears that Minister Orazietti and the Wynne Liberals will download
the responsibility to municipalities to "deal with their bear problems
as they see fit." With this authority, Municipalities will be able to
sanction a spring bear hunt in their communities.
A 850 person sample Poll of Ontarians completed on November 12th, 2013
by Sudbury-based Oracle Poll Research shows that orphaning tiny bear
cubs in the Spring remains a hot button topic.
Half of respondents or 50% oppose the reinstatement of the spring bear
hunt compared to only 26% that support it, while 24% are undecided.
Support for the reinstatement was highest in the north (67%) and lowest
in Toronto/metro (16%), eastern Ontario (12%) and the GTA (18%).
Province-wide, more PC voters support the reinstatement (37%) in
relation to Liberal (22%) and NDP (18%) voters. There is also a gender
split with more males (37%) being in support compared to females (18%).
In 1999, the spring bear hunt was cancelled after Ministry staff
revealed that over 270 bear cubs were orphaned each year and left to
starve to death as a direct result of the hunt. "From personal
experience I know that before the Ontario spring hunt was cancelled, we
were caring for cubs orphaned in the spring. However, most cubs are
orphaned by hunters are in remote areas and never found or recorded,"
observed Mike McIntosh.
The Oracle Poll showed 80% of respondents had an unfavourable opinion of
the fact that orphaned bears cubs result from the spring hunt. 71% have
an unfavorable opinion of bear baiting (bears are lured to buckets of bait often foodstuffs and shot by hunters
located in tree stands or blinds as they feed) compared to only 20% that have a favorable opinion of this technique,
while 9% did not know or were unsure. Those most holding an unfavorable
opinion were females (85%), urban residents (76%) and NDP backers
(85%). On the other hand, the highest favorable scores were from
northern residents (50%) those from central Ontario (43%), PC voters
(33%), males (37%) and rural residents (28%).
"Less than three months ago, Minister Orazietti said that he was not
considering the reinstatement of the spring hunt" said McIntosh. He
concluded, "Now I guess the Minister, Premier and the Liberal Caucus
thinks that orphaning cubs is OK even though the majority of Ontarians
Methodology & Logistics
This report represents the findings from a survey of 850 voting age
Ontario residents (18 years of age or older).
Interviews were conducted between the days of November 9th and November 12th 2013.
The margin of error for this 1,000-person survey is +/- 3.4%, 19/20
The survey was conducted using computer-assisted techniques of telephone
interviewing (CATI) and random number selection.
SOURCE: Bear With Us
For further information:
President of Bear With Us Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre for Bears