Ontario spring bear hunt to face court challenge from animal rights groups


A black bear roams the forest A black bear roams the forest near Timmins, Ont., on Sunday, May 27, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette)

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Thursday, April 17, 2014

TORONTO — Two animal rights groups are taking the Ontario government to court in an attempt to stop a spring bear hunt pilot program before it begins, alleging it amounts to animal cruelty.

Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada say mother bears will be killed during the hunt, leaving their orphaned cubs to starve or be killed by predators.

“The babies at this time are very small,” said Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada.

“This is the only large game species that are hunted when the young are still dependent on their mothers and it is inevitable that cubs will be orphaned.”

The animal rights groups have filed an application for judicial review and a notice of constitutional question, which are set to be heard in court on April 29, just days before the start of the program. They hope the court will at least delay the start of the hunt until it can rule on their legal actions.

The regulation would be contrary to animal cruelty laws in the Criminal Code, said the groups’ lawyer David Estrin.

“In our view, reinstituting this program would be tantamount to the minister and the Ministry of Natural Resources either wilfully permitting bear cubs to suffer or failing to exercise reasonable care or supervision of the bear cub population,” he said.

“The Criminal Code prohibits causing or allowing animals to suffer. This program of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will cause black bears to suffer.”

The pilot project to reinstate the spring bear hunt will start May 1 and run for six weeks in eight wildlife areas known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.

“In northern Ontario it is not responsible for a provincial government to ignore the concerns of thousands of residents who are concerned about their public safety,” said Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti.

“We have young children who can’t go out for recess at their schools, teachers wearing bear whistles because their children are threatened.”

Nearly 50 mayors and city councils across northern Ontario have passed resolutions calling for their participation in the program, Orazietti said. Out of 95 wildlife management units in Ontario, the pilot program will be in eight, he said.

“Some people who are completely unaffected by this issue and whose children may be perfectly safe in the schools that they attend have no understanding of the implications and the safety challenges in communities in northern Ontario,” Orazietti said.

The hunt was cancelled in 1999 and then-natural resources minister John Snobelen said it had left thousands of cubs orphaned since hunters too often mistakenly shoot mother bears.

“Really, the only answer we came up with was to end the spring bear hunt,” he said at the time. “It’s the only acceptable way.”

Orazietti said the government has learned over the past 15 years that other strategies to reduce human-bear incidents have met “fairly limited success.”

“This has been a very, very thoughtful and strategic approach,” he said Thursday. “We’re not suggesting a return of the spring bear hunt of yesteryear.”

The animal rights groups say the ministry’s own scientists have found no link between the end of the spring bear hunt and human-bear incidents. Orazietti said “that’s not completely true.”

“Our scientists do recognize that there are other scientists and other groups that have indicated that bear hunts do in fact have an impact on population,” he said.

Terry Quinney, the provincial manager of fish and wildlife services for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, said the spring bear hunt was for decades a valuable wildlife population management tool.

“In reducing the density and distribution of bears in the spring, particularly those older male bears, it is absolutely reducing the probability of dangerous encounters with people,” he said.

Hunters target the male bears, Quinney said, and there are ways they can distinguish male and female bears, especially using suspended bait.

“It’s not hard to imagine that if a food source is placed, for example, hanging from a tree, a bear in order to reach that food source is going to stand on its hind legs, making its genitalia very visible to a hunter,” he said.

Quinney also said there would be economic and social benefits to re-establishing the spring bear hunt in northern communities.

“Prior to the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in Ontario there were approximately 600 family-based businesses in northern and central Ontario that were involved in the spring bear hunt, for example providing guiding services for hunters,” he said.

“Revenues to northern and central Ontario on an annual basis were in excess of $40 million a year. All of those economic benefits have disappeared from Ontario.”

Read more: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/ontario-spring-bear-hunt-to-face-court-challenge-from-animal-rights-groups-1.1780350#ixzz2zGxETLtP

VERY IMPORTANT! Please vote in the on line poll in the Toronto Sun to say NO to reviving the spring bear hunt in Ontario. The poll is on the bottom right of the home page here: http://www.torontosun.com/

7th Bear–Including An Adult Female Bear–Killed After Woman Bitten in Florida

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

[Never mind that the subdivision backs up against a wildlife sanctuary. When a non-human animal dares to threaten a human, it's not just an eye for an eye, but SEVEN pairs of eyes for an injury.]


7th bear killed after woman attacked in Lake Mary garage

Author: Sheli Muniz, Reporter, smuniz@wkmg.com

Apr 14 2014


Florida wildlife officials said on Tuesday they killed a seventh bear, an adult female bear, hours after announcing the capturing and euthanization of a 250-pound male bear overnight.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials didn’t say that they have identified the bear that attacked Terri Frana Saturday night at her home at 1900 Brackenhurst Place in the Carisbrooke subdivision, which backs up to the Wekiva Wildlife preserve.

She received 30 staples and 10 stitches in her head after a 200-pound bear mauled her.

Authorities on Tuesday also released the 911 calls from the attack on Frana.

“She came in screaming, she said a bear attacked her,” the caller told dispatchers.

FWC said although they are testing the bears for DNA, the tests may come back inconclusive and they may never find the exact bear that attacked Frana.

FWC said that the seven bears appeared dangerous and threatening and didn’t appear to be afraid of humans.

FWC said as with the other bears, the FWC removed the bear from the neighborhood and it showed signs of being highly habituated to people.

“We yelled at him, clapped our hands at them, and yelled bad bear- they kept approaching us,” said Greg Workman of Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Sunday evening, an FWC officer shot a bear after they say it showed dangerous behavior toward officers at the scene.  The FWC says the bear approached biologists at close range and showed no fear even after an officer yelled at it. Because of its behavior, the officer determined that the bear was dangerous.

Wildlife officials say other bears appear to be accustomed to people in the area, including four that were captured and put down. The fifth bear was captured Monday morning.

The FWC says officers spotted two other bears in the area that ran away at the sight of humans. This is typical wild bear behavior and no action was necessary with those bears, officials said.

“The fact that we have come across so many bears with so little fear of humans indicates that these bears are highly habituated and are regularly receiving food from people,” said Dave Telesco, the FWC’s Bear Program coordinator. “Our staff is dedicated to wildlife conservation. Having to put down these bears is a very difficult decision, but it’s the right decision to ensure public safety. Unfortunately, the saying is true: ‘a fed bear is a dead bear.’”

Frana’s husband, Frank Frana, said his wife suffered bite wounds to her head, arms, shoulder and upper thigh and had lacerations all over her body.

“But she’s fine,” Frank Frana said.  “She’s still pretty traumatized from it all, but it’s unbelievable she’s fine.”

Frank Frana said his wife encountered the bears, which had pulled some trash cans out of the family’s garage, while she was checking on her children, who were playing at a neighbor’s home.

He said there were five bears rummaging through the trash when one of them stood up and attacked her.

“(My wife) was able to eventually break away and run into the house.  She collapsed on the floor and my oldest son … called 911,” Frank Frana said.  “It was a close call.”

The FWC on Monday will continue to check traps in the area and warning families nearby.

FWC said if you encounter a bear at close range speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice while backing up slowly toward a secure area. Be sure you are leaving the bear a clear escape route. Stop and hold your ground if your movement away seems to irritate instead of calm the bear. Do not run or play dead. If a black bear attacks you, fight back aggressively.

The FWC also reminded residents to be aware of their surroundings and always supervise pets and children while outdoors.  Residents should contact the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC to report any threatening bear activity.

Help STOP Bear Hunt in NJ For Good!



Last year hunters in their “Rambo wannabe” get up, face painted psychopath massacred 600 Bears and this year again more bears will be killed. Will there ever be an end to this. According to bear in NJ expert NJ Fish and Games are full of corruption and there is likely never end to it. I remember 4 years ago there was a petition to stop bear hunting and all the petition and writing did not help. Bear like deer has a physiology to feel pain, they fear death and most of the killings are done by bows and arrow. According to a Veterinarian they have quoted that animals such as deer, bear and Elk suffers as we do.

“Consider the physiology of the deer (and bear) who dies by suffocation, choking on its own blood, or the deer who dies after an arrow penetrates the diaphragm. The presence of a highlysophisticated nervous system in deer certainly suggests that their nervous systems perform the same functions as human nervous systems. The presence of the same neurochemicals in deer as in humans similarly shows that they feel pain as we do.

In recent years there has been a major shift in the way the scientific community understands the mental life of animals, particularly mammals. Presently, researchers in a variety of animal-related disciplines generally agree that in addition to being sentient, mammals are consciously aware and have feelings and emotions.


BOYCOTT South Carolina until they Outlaw Bear Baiting

In order for the legislatures to do something regarding this barbaric act. People who want to visit South Carolina or hold a convention should boycott this state until this is outlawed.

South Carolina state legislatures
Outlaw Bear Baiting

In order for the legislatures to do something regarding this barbaric act. People who want to visit South Carolina or hold a convention should boycott this state until this is outlawed.

The bear facts; What’s a bunch of starving cubs when there are votes to be had?



Saturday, February 22, 2014 – 08:00
in Columns

By Barry Kent MacKay
Re Bear Hunt Needs An Economic Angle — editorial, Feb. 11:
Because Kathleen Wynne was a bit of an outsider — Ontario’s first female and openly gay premier — I had hoped that transparency and citizen democracy would benefit, and policy would derive from logic and compassion. I was wrong.
Prior to 1999, in addition to a fall hunt, it was legal in Ontario to hunt black bears in the spring. Bait, often sweet pastry and fats, would be placed in front of blinds or tree stands — and the bears, ravenous from months in their dens without food, would approach. They were easy targets. Although many local hunters opposed the practice, they usually remained silent because it did bring money into the more remote, northern areas.
Hunters were only supposed to shoot males, but too often they shot females.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) estimated, from the number of females shot, that more than 270 cubs were orphaned each spring. Cubs are dependent on their mothers; so, when orphaned, they tend to die from predation or slowly starve to death. The few who survived were brought to wildlife rehabbers — but most simply died, lost in the bush.
Concerned citizens were able to convince the Ontario government to end the spring hunt. But, the fall hunt was extended, and the overall number of bears killed by hunters was nearly the same as before.
The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) was outraged, and started a massive campaign of bear reporting. In 2003, a Nuisance Bear Review Committee recommended that the MNR take a lead role in responding to “nuisance” bear reports, including threats to human safety. Thus, the MNR’s Bear Wise program was born.
Although the program was successful, OFAH continues to claim it was not. And while there was, on average, no increase in conflicts between humans and bears, attacks on humans by bears, or the size of the bear population, OFAH and others somehow argued that all three increased. The campaign also pushed a very emotive button among people in Northern and central Ontario, suggesting that the government was more responsive to the concerns of the larger population living in the more urbanized south (where bears are rare or absent, but votes are numerous).
In 2008, then-Minister of Natural Resources, Donna Cansfield, wisely ordered an assessment of Bear Wise. Published in January 2009, the assessment presented dozens of suggestions on how it could improve. The next year, then Premier McGuinty removed Cansfield as the minister.
In May 2012, McGuinty quietly, and without consultation, conducted a massive scale-back of the Bear Wise program. Then, in October, he abruptly quit, handing leadership of the party, thus the province, to Kathleen Wynne.
And what did she do? We were promised a better, more open, and transparent government. But instead, the premier began the onerous task of dismantling many of Ontario’s environmental protection laws including the Endangered Species Act, the Planning Act, the Bear Wise Program and re-introducing the spring bear hunt.
Apart from the sad fact that people seem to believe there are more bears and more conflicts (neither contentions supported by the MNR’s own research), there is simply no way that shooting bears attracted to baits in the bush will mean that the same bear that might concern humans later on is the one shot. Shooting, itself, creates the risk of wounding bears, who can become aggressive. Bears tend to avoid humans, and the moms will not attack if their cubs are approached. But, availability of human food conditions bears to search for such foods — ironically exacerbating the problems that concern people.
Now, in the winter, female black bears are in their dens. They are not truly hibernating, but their metabolism has slowed, and they will soon give birth to tiny cubs. Smelling bait, the females will move in, but will tell their cubs to hide. If a mother bear is lucky, she’ll be recognized as a female, and spared; but she may well be shot, and then her cubs are doomed.
And why? Kathleen Wynne may think that, by making it a “test” and restricting the spring hunt to several communities, she will not arouse too much criticism from compassionate voters (while placating those northerners angry at cancellation of the spring hunt back in 1999). What are a few hundred starving baby cubs when there are votes to be had?

Barry Kent MacKay is a founding director of Animal Alliance of Canada and Canadian senior program associate with Born Free U.S.A., a non-profit animal advocacy based in Washington, D.C.

Banff bears use highway crossings to find mates


Photo copyright Jim Robertson

Photo copyright Jim Robertson


METRONEWS, By Staff The Canadian Press, February 18, 2014

BANFF, Alta. – Why did the bear cross the road?

A new study suggests that at least one reason bears in Banff National Park are crossing the Trans-Canada Highway is to find mates — vindication for a series of wildlife crossings installed by Parks Canada on the busy route to try to keep bears on either side of it genetically linked.

“It is clear that male and female individuals using crossings structures are successfully migrating, breeding and moving genes across the roadway,” says the paper published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Britain’s national science academy.

The Trans-Canada Highway cuts through the heart of Banff National Park. For decades, scientists have been concerned that Canada’s busiest east-west road link was isolating grizzly and black bear populations on either side of it — especially after high wire fences were built along the road to reduce wildlife traffic deaths. So between 1982 and 1997, more than two dozen underground and overhead crossings were built to allow wildlife to move north-south.

In 2006, University of Montana ecologist Mike Sawaya began a three-year research project to see if the crossings were working. After analyzing DNA from nearly 10,000 hair samples collected from strategically placed strips of barbed wire, Sawaya has concluded that they are. Last summer, he published research proving that bears were using the crossings. His latest paper suggests they’re crossing for more than a patch of tasty berries. “We found enough movement and migration across the highway to infer that, yes, the crossing structures are allowing the transfer of genes.”

Sawaya said that grizzlies on either side of the road had been slowly becoming more genetically distinct from each other, although the effect wasn’t pronounced in black bears. DNA analysis of the hair samples shows that the two ursine neighbourhoods are gradually coming back together again. “The grizzly bear population was fragmented and we’re starting to see it be restored,” said Sawaya. “If the crossings continue to work the way they are, I think we’re going to see the dissolution of that genetic structure over time.”

The research team even documented how individual bears — both black and grizzly — were able to mate with a number of different females and wound up with offspring on both sides of the highway. Previous research conducted in California had suggested the only animals that use crossings are juveniles too young to breed. Sawaya found that wasn’t true. Almost half the black bears and more than one-quarter of the grizzlies that crossed were successful breeders. In fact, males who crossed most often seemed to be the ones with the most offspring.

And Sawaya said it’s probable that the crossings are being used by other animals such as wolves, lynx or cougars for the same purposes. “Certainly, you can draw more conclusions about other carnivores and other species that have similar characteristics. This is very indicative of how these crossing structures would perform for other large mammals.”

It’s good news for wildlife managers looking for ways to mitigate the effects of roads through wilderness.

Parks Canada now has a total of 44 Trans-Canada crossings in Banff, almost one every two kilometres. The solution was expensive — the overpasses cost about $1 million each — but Parks Canada carnivore specialist Jesse Whittington said they were worth it. “For the first couple years, they didn’t look like they worked very well,” he said. “Over time, grizzly bears have learned to use them on a regular basis.”

Whittington said the model has already been used in the U.S. for pronghorn antelope. “There are people looking to Banff from all over the globe to see how well these crossings are performing,” Sawaya said. “At the time, no one really knew they worked. They just assumed intuitively that they would … and it’s comforting to find that, yes, they are working as they were originally intended.”

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton


Ted Nugent pushes bear hunting in N.B.

Outspoken, gun-toting American rocker Ted Nugent is promoting the spring bear hunt in New Brunswick with his Sunrize Safaris.

The website tednugent.com offers hunters a chance to go to New Brunswick and shoot a trophy black bear

Nugent has hunted bear in New Brunswick before.

Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent has hunted black bear in New Brunswick in the past. (CBC)

He chronicles one such trip on the archerytalk.com blog in 2010 in a post titled: “Hi Spirit: New Brunswick Bruins. For a rockin’ good time, try for a far-North spring blackie.”

On that occasion, Nugent arranged for a bear hunting trip in New Brunswick after his band “rocked the house royal with Lynayrd Skynyrd (sic) in Barrie, Ontario, outside Toronto, Canada’s number one cosmopolitan megacity,” the blog post says,

Nugent was hunting with Slipp Brothers Ltd. Hunting and Outfitting in Hoyt, south of Fredericton. On the third day of hunting, with daylight running short, Nugent encountered a bear.

“Right then a big black blob appeared 60 yards out in the dense boreal scrub,” wrote Nugent. “My heart pounded like a double live gonzo big bass drum gone Motor city Mad Man full-tilt boogie. I love when that happens.”

Now Nugent is offering others the chance to experience that feeling with a Sunrize Safari to New Brunswick from June 1-7 for “the bear hunt of a lifetime,” with Toby Nugent — Ted’s son — and Paul Wilson of Sunrize Safaris in camp.

The cost of the outing in $3,550 per hunter plus $184.19 for a licence.

A similar outing for bear hunting in Quebec near Malartic is also offered by the company at a cost of $3,500.

Bear hunting has been on the decline in New Brunswick in recent years.

In 2004, more than 3,600 non-residents purchased bear licences. Last year, that number had fallen to below 2,000.


Montana Bear Killings

Please note that the reward amount should be $7,600 instead of $6,600. Thanks!


Reward Increased for Tips on Grizzly Bear Shooting Northeast of Ovando

Photo of bears in the wild Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo of bears in the wild Copyright Jim Robertson

State wildlife officials continue to seek tips on the shooting death of a grizzly bear found November 3 northeast of Ovando in the Blackfoot Valley. Those that share information on the case may now receive up to $7,600 due to several private donations and a contribution from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Private donations, combined with $1,000 from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, bumped the reward amount from the original offering of $1,000 from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Park’s TIP-MONT program to $7,600 for tips that lead to a conviction in the case. Callers can remain anonymous and should phone 1-800-TIP-MONT ( 1-800-847-6668 ).

The female grizzly bear died of a gunshot wound and had three cubs of the year. FWP was able to trap two of the cubs and they will be transferred to the Bronx Zoo. Multiple attempts to capture the third cub were unsuccessful.

And speaking of Montana bears: http://missoulian.com/news/local/judge-fines-helena-couple-for-bucket-of-bear-paws-in/article_28dc6702-5633-11e3-a174-0019bb2963f4.html

Wisconsin on record pace for number of bear-hunting dogs killed this year

There’s a-near crisis situation going on in the cheese and crackers state, Wisconsin. It seems their hound hunters are losing dogs to wolves. Too bad for the dogs, but then again the only time they’re allowed out of their pen is to chase down and tree black bears so their “masters” can stumble up and shoot the terrified ursine.

Apparently the taxpayers are expected to foot the bill if a one of the hound hunters’ frantic dogs has a lethal run-in with a wolf. As the article below informs us, the Wisconsin Department of Natural “Resources” has a compensation program wherein hounders are paid $250.000 for their losses, if they choose to take up the barbaric sport. Of course, “it is possible, however, that because of the potential for compensation a hunter might be more likely to

photo Jim Robertson

photo Jim Robertson

put a dog at risk.”

According to Wisconsin newspapers:

This has been a deadly year for bear-hunting hounds.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’
<http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/dogdeps.html#table&gt; dog
depredation report, 23 hounds have been killed by wolves while being used to
hunt bears or being trained to hunt bears since June 3, tying the record 23
killed in 2006, according to Brad Koele, DNR wildlife damage specialist.
Three pet dogs have also been killed.

Only six dogs were killed last year, but Koele says that was an aberration -
at least 20 were killed in each of the four years before that. Black bear
hunters in Wisconsin can use dogs until Oct. 1 and can hunt without dogs
until Oct. 8.

“It’s not that this year is abnormally high, it’s that last year was
abnormally low,” says Koele. “I don’t have an answer for why.”

The owners of the dogs can claim up to $2,500 from the state, though Koele
says not all of them receive or ask for the full amount.

“Not all claims are maximum payments,” he says.

Livestock, hunting dogs and pets are all eligible for compensation.

The death toll could be higher. Last year Republicans passed a bill
establishing a wolf hunt in the state, but a provision in the bill allowing
hunters to use dogs is tied up in court. However, dogs used to hunt wolves
would not be eligible for compensation.

According to a <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23613910&gt; study earlier
this year from Michigan Tech, Wisconsin DNR data show that payouts for wolf
attacks on hounds “costs the state more than it has spent for wolf attacks
on any other category of domesticated animal, including calves, missing
calves or cattle.”

(Here’s a
<http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/wolf/documents/wolfdamagepayments.p df> table showing the compensation paid out in Wisconsin since 1985, when
the program started.)

The Michigan Tech study found that the rate of wolf attacks on bear-hunting
hounds in Wisconsin is two to seven times higher than in Michigan.

Researchers at the college, who teamed up with Michigan DNR researchers for
the study, have a couple of ideas as to why.
<http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2013/april/story88261.html&gt; This bulletin
from Michigan Tech says the research team found that bear baiting season
starts earlier in Wisconsin and lasts longer.

“The longer you bait, the more opportunity you provide for wolves to
discover and potentially defend bear-bait sites,” said Joseph Bump, a
Michigan Tech wildlife ecologist, in the bulletin. “Most hunters release
their dogs at bait sites, and the longer the bait has been around, the more
likely hunting dogs are to encounter territorial wolves who have found and
are possibly defending the bait. So it appears that baiting is an important

There’s another factor: Michigan doesn’t pay dog owners for their dead dogs.

“Compensation can have multiple effects,” Bump says. “It is a reporting
incentive, but it also creates an incentive for abuse. The net effect of
compensation is far from clear, and it is an important factor to study

Koele says providing an incentive for reporting attacks is important for
tracking efforts by the state. Wisconsin contracts with USDA Wildlife
Services to do a site investigation to verify that the depredation was
caused by wolves, he says.

“We don’t just pay based on what a hunter tells us,” he says. “There’s
actually an investigation to make sure we’re justly paying them.”

He says it is possible, however, that because of the potential for
compensation a hunter might be more likely to put a dog at risk.

“There could be that abuse occurring out there,” he says. “We really
wouldn’t know.”


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