Increase in Hunting Opportunities

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The Ontario government is increasing bear hunting opportunities this fall as part of a sustainable wildlife management program, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced.

"Hunting is part of Ontario's culture and contributes to a strong and prosperous economy, especially in the North," said Ramsay. "I'm very pleased we can enhance those opportunities while maintaining the bear population."

Following a 30-day posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) registry, the government has decided to extend the fall bear hunt by a little over two weeks from October 15 to October 31 in the areas of Northern Ontario where the hunt previously ended on October 15. This will mean a consistent closing date across the north and will apply to resident and non-resident hunters, as well as trappers.

Resident hunters can also buy a second bear seal this fall in areas where healthy bear populations can be maintained. Starting October 4, 2004, hunters should contact their local ministry office or visit the ministry website at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/fwmenu.html to find out in which Wildlife Management Units second seals are being offered. Second seals will be available on a first-come first-served basis at any ministry office. The ministry will monitor the bear population and decide yearly where to issue second seals.

After reviewing comments received on the EBR Registry, changes to the number of seals for non-resident hunters will not be implemented. The Ontario government will continue to work with tourist outfitters before making any changes to non-resident hunting.

Starting next year, resident hunters will also be required to report on their bear hunting activities and harvest. This will give the ministry additional information to ensure black bears are managed sustainably in Ontario.

The bear population in Ontario is generally considered healthy and is estimated at between 75,000 and 100,000.

To view the decision notice on increased bear hunting opportunities, visit the EBR Registry at www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm, and enter Registry Number RB04E3002.