Ontario Newsroom

Hunters: Be Safe and Follow the Rules During the Bear Management Pilot Program

Archived Backgrounder

Hunters: Be Safe and Follow the Rules During the Bear Management Pilot Program

The bear management pilot program will run from May 1 to June 15, 2014 and 2015 in eight wildlife management units. Hunters must know and follow the rules, and take necessary safety precautions. Conservation officers will be actively patrolling to check for compliance during the pilot season.

Hunting Rules and Hunting Safety:

  • All bear hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (a minimum of 400 square inches or 2,580 square centimetres above the waist) and a hunter orange head cover during the hunting season unless they are hunting from a tree stand.
  • Handle firearms with care and attention at all times.  
  • Keep guns and ammunition separate and locked in a secure location when not in use.
  • Hunters must never shoot unless they are sure of their target and what lies beyond it. 
  • It is illegal to shoot from a vehicle or carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle.
  • A hunter cannot transfer their game seal or possess a game seal issued to another person.
  • After a bear is killed, the game seal holder must immediately attach it to the bear in the manner prescribed on the seal, and it must remain attached during transportation.
  • All hunters are reminded that they should check with the municipality where they are hunting about any applicable no discharge of firearms bylaws.

Regulations and Seasons:

  • The limited early black bear hunting open season is May 1 to June 15 in WMUs 13, 14, 29, 30, 36, 39, 41 and 42 only.
  • Only resident bear hunters may hunt.
  • Cubs and female bears with cubs may not be harvested.
  • 2014 bear licences and second seals are valid during both the limited early bear season and the fall bear season.
  • No more than one bear may be killed under a licence, unless the holder of the licence has a second bear seal.
  • All bear hunters who purchase a bear licence prior to June 16 must complete a limited early bear season questionnaire by August 1, whether they hunted or not during the early bear pilot hunting season.
  • Black bears may not be hunted within 400 metres of a waste disposal site.

For more information about regulations and seasons, please see the 2014-2015 Hunting Regulations Summary available at ontario.ca/hunting.   

General Safety:


  • Tell someone where you will be hunting and when you will be returning.
  • Know the weather conditions in your hunting area and dress accordingly.                       
  • In an emergency, stay calm and stay put.
  • Avoid hypothermia. Know how to treat it if it strikes.
  • Keep hydrated and well nourished.
  • Carry a survival kit and a small first aid kit with you at all times.
  • Know how to build a fire in all weather conditions and carry the supplies to start one.
  • Carry a map and compass or GPS unit and know how to use them.
  • Never drink alcohol and hunt.


Anyone starting a fire outdoors during the fire season must tend the fire and make sure that it is completely out before leaving the site.  

Media Contacts

  • Media calls only: David Critchlow

    provincial enforcement specialist