THUNDER BAY -- The local sportsmen's alliance says animal rights groups heading to court to try to stop the return of the spring bear hunt shouldn't be dictating wildlife resource policies for people living in the north.
"I think it's fair to say these outside organizations may have best intentions, however, I don't think they fully realize the impact they cause to wildlife when they force their issues upon us like they have in the past," said John Kaplanis, executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsmen's Alliance.
Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada filed an application for judicial review and a notice of constitutional question to delay the start of the spring bear hunt pilot program scheduled to start May 1.
The issue is set to be heard in court on April 29 and the two groups allege the hunt is animal cruelty.
A Zoocheck Canada official told the Canadian Press the hunt will result in mother bears being killed, leaving cubs orphaned.
The Ministry of Natural Resources pilot project will allow Ontario hunters to hunt bears from May 1 to June 15 in eight regions, including Thunder Bay.
Kaplanis said the hunt is a positive way to manage the black bear population and said the general public dropped the ball 15 years ago when the hunt was canceled by not speaking out enough on the issue.
And in 15 years, a lot has changed and the black bear population has risen.
Kaplanis said he believes it's a factor in the decline of moose in the province.
"Black bears are predators," he said. "They can be a nuisance and dangerous impact on humans."