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Please read this one, and while you are reading it, think about who you voted for the last time. Think about what is really important to YOU! My union tells me to vote one way! HA HA I vote MY WAY not anyone elses way.
If there is a choice between 2 evils I will always cast my ballot infavor of one who hunts. read the next article and listen to what she is saying, really listen to it!!!!

Hunting ministers make it hard to ban bear... - Monday, March 10, 2003 at 07:46
PUBLICATION: The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
DATE: 2003.03.10
COLUMN: Natural Resources

Hunting ministers make it hard to ban bear hunt, says alliance

Provinces will keep allowing "unethical" hunting practices as long as the ministers responsible for natural resources hunt.

That's the fundamental reason why environmental groups have difficulty stopping events such as New Brunswick's upcoming spring bear hunt, Animal Alliance of Canada director Liz White says.

"The problem is that most natural resources ministers have a symbiotic relations with the hunters and anglers associations," Ms. White says.

Ms. White says that even though hunters represent less than five per cent of Canada's total population, they still have an inappropriate level of power at the government table.

"The ministers who manage this stuff don't relate to the people," she says. "When you look at the hunting community, it's on a precipitous decline despite efforts to recruit younger hunters."

Ms. White says animal rights groups in Ontario were fortunate to have someone in the natural resources portfolio who didn't hunt when the province banned the spring hunt in 1999.

"The fact John Snobelen didn't hunt is why we got it banned in Ontario," Ms. White says. "We've also been very successful in Quebec."

She says governments such as New Brunswick's fail to see the big picture and are missing huge monetary gains offered through increased eco-tourism opportunities.

"The largest growing (tourism) industry is in sales of backpacking stuff and binoculars," she says, adding governments could easily recoup the money they gain from selling hunting tags by generating revenue through "non-consumptive use."

But Jeannot Volpé, the province's natural resources and energy minister and a hunter himself, says the hunt, which begins next month, is an effective way to manage the province's bear population. "We maintain 28 zones that are all managed with some zones restricted to hunting," he explains, noting high concentrations of bears in one zone can lead to trouble for farmers concerned about their livestock.

"Each zone is managed so that if the numbers increase, we increase the number of (hunting) tags available," he says. "It helps keep the bears at a manageable level."

Mr. Volpé says Moncton has requested more resources be placed on catching bears this year after several bruins were seen within city limits last year.

In 2000, animal rights groups lobbied the province to cancel the spring hunt. They felt the hunt put too much pressure on New Brunswick's black bear population, and the practice of baiting bears with food was unfair. Also, they worried too many hunters were killing sow bears raising cubs, which left the cubs orphaned and likely to die without their mother's protection.

But the province maintained having two hunts, one in the spring and one in autumn, is a good way for the department to manage bear numbers and raise millions of dollars in revenue.

New Brunswick's Society Against Animal and Environmental Exploitation says the spring hunt is morally and ethically wrong and is actually contrary to conservation.

"In the spring, when bears are emerging from hibernation, they are groggy and hungry and are being baited with anything from apples to doughnuts by opportunistic trophy hunters," says society member Andrea Teolis.

"It is difficult for most experienced hunters to tell the difference between a female and a male bear even at close range. As a result many of these vulnerable bears shot at bait stations are females, who have left their cubs out of sight in a safe area in search of food."

Ms. Teolis says this results in orphaned cubs often dying of starvation or falling victim to other predators.

She adds: "Communities concerned about animal welfare, conservation and the preservation of this magnificent animal that is an important part of the Canadian wilderness and psyche should lobby to ban the spring bear hunt."

But Minto hunting lodge owner Wally Gillwood says bears would invade communities without the hunt.

"A lot of kids would be getting eaten up," explains Mr. Gillwood, who owns Kings Lodge. "The bear population is bad all around here. They're a real danger."

Mr. Gillwood says the hunt is always popular, especially with Americans, who look forward to the chance to kill one. As for the argument that baiting bears is unsportsmanlike, he said it's not as easy as it sounds.

"It's quite a challenge because the bears are hard to get," he says, noting that after placing bait such as bread, baked goods or meat on the ground, a hunter might have to wait in his hunting stand for hours or even days before seeing a bear.

"You have to be there at just the right time."

But Ms. White says bears are at a huge disadvantage in the spring because they are desperate for food since much of their favourites such as berries and nuts aren't ready until June.

"They're being killed at the time they're most vulnerable," she says. "They'll avoid human food, but when they're starving, they will look for any food possible."

Ms. White also dismisses the hunters' argument that they don't shoot females with cubs because the mother bear often looks for food alone.

"My experience is that with hunters you can't have a rational discussion on this issue. It's always the same argument that this helps deal with nuisance bears," she says, noting bears are only seen by the public when the nut and berry crops suffer. "It's not the right of hunters to go out and kills things . . . it's a privilege."

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You have to look at where these figures are coming from, the Animal Rights groups, I think there are more hunters than that. Also you have to look at where 95% of the population is in Canada, (Toronto , Montreal, and Vancouver.)
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