Ontario holding public consultation on making spring bear hunt permanent

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TORONTO — The Ontario government is launching a public consultation on making the province’s spring black bear hunt a permanent event.

The annual hunt was suspended for 15 years in 1999, but reinstated in 2014 by the then-Liberal government as a pilot project.

The Progressive Conservatives say removing the pilot project status and making it a fixed annual event would benefit the tourism sector.

Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski says the black bear population is stable, and any animal protections for recent spring hunts would remain in place.

A prominent hunting organization praised the government’s proposed changes, while animal rights activists decried the move as a backwards step.

Members of the public can submit feedback on the Environmental Registry of Ontario until Feb. 18.

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