Update on NOTO’s Progress with MNRF re: Bear Hunt
First, I want to thank all of the Bear Outfitters that have been calling with details about their situations on the ground with regard to the bear hunt. I would also like to thank our Bear Task Force for their guidance on these issues. This input has been critical for us in our efforts to represent the outfitting community with the MNRF.
Yesterday, NOTO met with MNRF to discuss the two main issues surrounding this year’s bear hunts. The two issues that we presented to MNRF were as follows:
The new 200m restriction on bait placement from a right of way for public vehicular traffic or a recreational trail that is established and maintained by an organization for the use by the general public.
The manner in which MNRF has been suddenly restricting the number of Form 33s that are issued to bear outfitters for their non-resident guests.
You will find the two briefing notes that NOTO prepared to facilitate the discussions at the following links: http://noto.ca/fm/BearHuntAdvocacy/NOTOBriefingNote-200mRestriction.pdf http://noto.ca/fm/BearHuntAdvocacy/NOTOBriefingNote-Form33Issuance.pdf
We are guardedly optimistic that we have reached a strong level of commitment from MNRF to address both of these issues for this year.
MNRF has committed to developing protocols for their enforcement staff regarding the 200m that will direct the exclusion of commercial resource extraction roads from this restriction. We are very hopeful that we will see this in place in a short period of time. It may however not be in place for the spring hunt but should definitely be in place for the fall hunt.
MNRF has also committed to ensuring that they will make every effort to provide enough Form 33s this year for the hunters that have already been booked for both spring and fall. They have indicated that Form 33s will be distributed in two batches. One batch now and a second one in July. We have indicated to them that puts outfitters at a level of risk that is very concerning considering the fall hunts were booked long before the spring hunt was even opened to non-resident guests. They have indicated they will do everything to accommodate those hunts.
While we appreciate the level of commitment that MNRF has extended on these issues, we still need to keep up the pressure to ensure they follow through. We would therefore like to collect some information from ALL BEAR OUTFITTERS regardless of whether you are a NOTO member or not.
The information you provide will be of utmost importance in developing economic return information, potential harvest numbers and a better sense of the impact to the tourism industry MNRFs recent decisions have made on the outfitting community. It is absolutely critical that these responses are real numbers. Inflating numbers will do nothing to help show the wildlife management responsibility and credibility that our outfitting community has established over the years.
Please provide responses at your earliest convenience. These responses will be kept completely confidential and no individual operators’ information will be identified in our advocacy efforts. Only the aggregate information will be used. Please copy and paste the following questionnaire with your answers into an email response email@example.com BEAR OUTFITTER QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Are you offering either or both of the following hunts for 2016? (indicate yes or no for each)
2016 Spring hunt
2016 Fall hunt
2. Will you be operating a spring hunt next year? If not, please tell us why?
3. How many non-resident hunters have you booked for the following?
2016 Spring hunt
2016 fall hunt
4. How many Form 33s have you been issued from MNRF for 2016 hunts to date, if any?
5. What MNRF District are you dealing with for your bear hunt(s)?
Thank you in advance for your participation in this information gathering exercise. We will keep you posted as we move forward with MNRF. We encourage all of you to keep us informed as things roll out at the District level.
We urge all bear outfitters to work with NOTO to see that proper resolution is brought to these issues. We of course also encourage you to join NOTO to help pay for the resources that it takes to advocate on issues of importance that benefit everyone when we are successful. You can find information about our membership levels at www.noto.ca/outfitter_membership We have a new membership rate for those who just wish to support our advocacy efforts and would like to receive up to date information on regulations and policies. I encourage every non-member to consider joining at this new Entry Level membership.
Yours in Tourism, Laurie Marcil NOTO Executive Director