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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Status Report - To Hunt Camps (Parry Sound District)

Feel free to click on the title, download the report.........take it all in .........and "Please" feel free to leave your comments. I for one have my own thoughts but lets see what we hear from the camps in Ontario Wildlife Management unit 49. I love statistics....you can put a bunch of numbers out there, present graphs and come to some way off conclusion based on your interpretation of the data you collected,  Under "Black Bears " you are suggesting to all camps that there was a "Localized Overharvest" in part of Management Unit 49............ it' seems to me that it's pretty hard to shoot bears if you don't see them; you also don't state that what you have determined to be "Overharvest" doesn't mention the number of bears in that area of 49 that were passed up, missed, not shot at and photographed on  trail cams............that my friend is cold hard numbers.........don't be so quick to jump to conclusions without accepting offers to observe the facts! Either present all the facts or don't present any........your conclusions on bear management in Unit 49 is very off the wall.........! And yes I know the area very well.......

The Following Is a comment Outdoors Ontario receieved regarding this posting to our blog........

November 1, 2009

An open letter, with personal comments and observations to Outdoors Ontario regarding the MNR 2009 Report To Hunt Camps.

I read with interest, the above noted report with respect to the bear harvest, that was published on the Outdoors Ontario Blog. Of special interest and concern to me were comments made about “indications of a localized over-harvest in a portion of WMU 49”. I do believe that, Mr. Black, the author of the report was referring to a group of bear hunters, of which I am a member. The report indicates that a guideline of 350 to 400 bears may be sustainably harvested from the WMU and that in fact 362 bears were harvested during the 2008 hunting season. This would appear to fall well within the guidelines as set out by the MNR. Our hunting group began to prepare for our bear hunt in mid July of 2008 by establishing baits and studying these baits on a regular basis of several times a week. Studying these baits and the bears attending them included viewing activity at the baits, noting the number of bears attending the bait each evening, photographing the bears and keeping records of what we observed. We noted on one evening in particular, that 16 bears were viewed at one bait site. While this seemed very uncommon at first, we found that viewing 8 to 10 bears an evening became the norm. Multiple bear sightings, on the same evening at other baits were also common. We continued to monitor and record the activity at our baits between mid July and late August. Given the success we were enjoying with our baits, I suggested that we share our photographs, movies, and journals with the Ministry biologist, and even went to the extent of offering an invitation to Ministry staff to attend our bait sites to assist them in the study of black bears. Our offer was not well received by Ministry staff. They implied that we were overstating the number of bears viewed and disputed the information we attempted to provide, without viewing photographs, movies and other details of our study. This was very insulting to our hunting group. We are a group of friends who take our hunting very seriously. We run a very organized hunt camp with very strict rules and regulations with regard to hunting safely and responsibly. I do believe that the Ministry officials disregarded very valuable information regarding the bear population in WMU 49 by ignoring our offer to provide assistance by way of sharing our research. As a group, we had spent several hundred man hours in the bush studying these bears. The way I view it, this was a win-win situation for the MNR, especially given the limited resources and funds they have available for the management of Wildlife Management Units and the species within those units. One of the rules of our hunt camp is that we insist that every one must send in the mandatory reporting letters to the MNR regarding the bear hunt. Our group consisted of 13 hunters, all of whom submitted the reporting letter. Seven members of our group received letters from the Ministry indicating that they had not received the reporting letters. This to me is absurd, and I would like to know how this could occur. It makes one feel that reports submitted by all hunters are not being taken seriously, so why do we bother to complete them. We complete them and send them in because it is part of the rules and regulations. We will continue to send in these reports because we are responsible hunters and hope that the reports will be received and taken seriously by Ministry officials. We will continue to study moose, deer and bears as a very important part of our hunting to further educate ourselves as responsible and successful hunters. We will continue to make sustainability and conservation primary areas of concern within our group. Were we successful during the 2008 bear hunt? Absolutely, we earned it through a lot of hard work including study of the bears long before the hunt. I truly believe that MNR staff has no concept of the actual number of bears within the area we hunt and possibly the whole 49 area. I cannot include the other areas of WMU 49 as I do not hunt the entire area, but I do know the immediate area that we hunt that consists of a five to ten mile radius. I have hunted this area for over 30 years and until 2004 had seen very few bears unless it was over a bait. In July of 2007, my wife and I saw four bears over the course of a weekend driving between our cabin and Town. I assume that the increase in non-hunting sightings as well as hunting sightings can be attributed to the cancellation of the spring bear hunt. This seems to be the general opinion of both hunters and non-hunting residents of the area. Hopefully in the future, someone within the MNR will start taking the sincere input of hunters seriously as we all have similar goals with respect to the sustainability of various species and increased conservation awareness so that our children may enjoy the same rights and privileges we as hunters enjoy today.

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