Bear hunting in Ontario is a tightly controlled outfit that exists to ensure that bear populations can adequately rebound from the hunting season in conjunction with external environmental pressures that can sometimes plague bear populations. There are a few available seasons for bear hunting in Ontario in the autumn months, but the spring season typically runs for six weeks (May-mid-June). Only a single spring season exists due to bears having to re-acclimatize to their surrounding environment after the winter season.
For spring bear hunting in Ontario, the following requirements are mandatory:
- Outdoors Card on your person at all times
- On your license summary, black bears must be listed
- You must be in possession of a black bear tag or be in the company of a party where an individual has a valid black bear tag
- If you wish to use a gun, you must have proof of firearm accreditation
All of these requirements need to be met to join the spring bear hunt in Ontario. Additionally, there are other regulations that need to be adhered to according to consistently changing guidelines. In the spring season exclusively, the shooting of females and cubs is strictly prohibited. This is necessary to ensure that successive generations can be produced and have time to fully gestate. Regulations for firearms is also something that needs to be monitored to ensure that your weapon of choice is permitted. For the spring bear hunt, only firearms, which includes bows, are permitted to be used for bear hunting.
If you are wishing to use traps to hunt bears, you will want to receive permission from the trapping license division to perform this type of hunting. There are regulations pertaining to the placement of bait as well. You will always want to ensure that you do not place bait within 500 meters of a dwelling of any kind unless you receive exclusive, written permission from the dwelling owner. Do not place bait within 200 meters of a public right of way to avoid any possible bear interactions with traffic.
It also goes without saying that it is illegal to kill and abandon the carcass of a bear, or any wildlife within Ontario for that matter. Always ensure that you do not hunt for bears within 400 meters of a waste disposal site. There are indeed many regulations to keep track of and this is for a good reason. Bears are large, sentient animals that can frequently run into problems based upon ecological or social stress within their natural environments.
The spring bear hunt is a small window, but as long as you are keeping track of the timeframe and the applicable guidelines pertaining to bear hunting in Ontario, all should be well. It is also important to keep track of the wildlife management unit for any area you wish to hunt for bears. There is more availability in the fall season, but with knowledge of updating regulations, spring bear hunting can be just as rewarding.