Black Bear Chasing Kid Style
Black Bear ChasePeddling as fast as my aching legs could move, I came to an abrupt stop. My shocked eyes followed the big black bear as it veered off the old brush road into the dark forest, just a few feet in front of me.Camping With My FriendsIt was early summer. A couple of friends of mine and myself had just finished a week end camping and fishing trip at one of our favorite lakes in the area, where we lived.As I can remember it was a very long bike ride, even for three 14 year old boys.Bear CountryThe road we took to get there and back hadn’t seen any traffic for a few years. It was a good bet we would run into something back there.Sure enough I did, my buddies missed out on all the excitement, they had trailed behind and missed out.Spring Bear HuntSince that time I’ve seen many a black bear in the Ontario Northland of Canada.With the cancellation of the annual spring black bear hunt, I expect to see many more of these magnificent animals.Black Bear PopulationFor the tourists, this is good and bad news, for the Northern Ontario resident, just bad. Ontario has a growing black bear population that is one of the largest in the world.Bears In PoliticsThe spring black bear hunt was cancelled in 1999 in a pre-election move. The thought was that the government’s decision would reduce the number of orphaned cubs.The number of orphaned cubs in shelters rose.Happy TouristsResidents now have to put up with nuisance bears. Too many for their liking. The tourists have good news because they will get a better chance at seeing one.Bad, because campers will need to keep a keen eye for nuisance bears. Now nuisance bear complaints are the norm.Bear ControlSome municipalities have now hired bear-control officers, but many municipalities cannot afford this.Without trained staff, municipalities must rely on law enforcement officers, with no background in bear management, to respond to nuisance bear complaints.One day the Ontario government will come to their senses and bring back the spring Black Bear hunt again.The Bear FactsThe black bear is also seen in other colour phases, chocolate and cinnamon brown are also common.Black bears can reach weights of up to 700 lbs.Black bears roam a very large area even as much as 500 square miles.Black bears have been know to run as fast as a horse.A bear can bite through a tree as big around as a person’s arm.Litter size may range from one to five cubs, but two is average.Male black bears regularly kill and eat bear cubs in the spring; biologists say as many as 50% of bear cubs lose their lives this way each year.Life span in the wild is 20 to 25 years. Mother black bears have not been known to attack in defence of its cubs.A large number of fatal bear attacks in Ontario have occurred in areas not open to hunting.As a tourist, I enjoy the site of seeing one of nature’s rare sights. As a resident, black bears are seen, heard and feared all too often.The black bears future depends on how well Ontario Northland residents understand manage and tolerate them.