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Black Bear Population On The Rise, Many States Expand Hunting Season

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November 21, 2011

Black Bear Population On The Rise, Many States Expand Hunting Season

By Chad Love

Are the bears coming for you? Black bear populations are on the rise pretty much everywhere, and it's causing a big spike in human/bear conflict, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal:

Forty years after being hunted to near-extinction in many parts of the U.S., black bears have become so plentiful that they are causing trouble for their human neighbors˜ripping open camping tents in Colorado, attacking dogs in New Jersey, even breaking into a home in Florida to nab a birthday cake from the kitchen counter.

Bear populations have surged so much that several states, including Nevada, Oklahoma and New Jersey, have started or expanded bear hunting seasons. Texas is circulating a brochure that tells hunters what to do if a bear wanders into camp. ("Talk in a calm manner...Do not run!...Do not play dead!")

Black bears, which can top 350 pounds, were hunted with vigor for centuries. But with their populations near collapse, states began imposing hunting limits or bans in the 1970s. Recovery has been slow˜bears reproduce just every two to three years˜but pronounced. Today there are an estimated 3,000 black bears roaming Florida, up from just 300 in the mid-1970s, said David Telesco, who manages bear conservation in the state. Between 300 and 400 black bears live in Nevada, and biologists say the population is growing 16% a year.

Considering the inexorable rise in black bear populations, do you think (if you currently live in a bear-free area) you'll eventually get the chance to hunt black bears where you live?

Comments (5)

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from olinger302 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I can only hope that I will be able to bowhunt a black bear someday!

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from Steward wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Personally, I enjoy living in Missouri, where the population is limited on mostly in the South or South-east of the state. I like going into the woods without considering running across a bear. Of course, I'm sure they are moving north and it probably is just a matter of time.

Yeah...once Missouri offers a bear season, I will hunt it!

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from GERG wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Saw a huge Boar Bear dead on the road just north of Ruston LA last week. We have two ares in AR where there are good populations and hunting seasons.

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from jakenbake wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Maryland has (what seems to me to be) a well-managed hunt. The season is only in the two western-most counties, but the population is definitely increasing in the next few counties over as well. I'd like to hunt the season one day but that'll take a bit of luck in the tag lottery.

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from tom warner wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I live in New York and until recently there were few bears outside the Adirondack mountains and the Catskills. However, now they are everywhere in NY. I live in semi-countryside and have had bears raiding my bird feeder for the past 3 years. I took photo's of 2 different bears in my yard this Summer. Having been a bear hunter most of my life, I can tell you that there are always more bears around than you think! They are extremely elusive and wary animals.

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from olinger302 wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I can only hope that I will be able to bowhunt a black bear someday!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Personally, I enjoy living in Missouri, where the population is limited on mostly in the South or South-east of the state. I like going into the woods without considering running across a bear. Of course, I'm sure they are moving north and it probably is just a matter of time.

Yeah...once Missouri offers a bear season, I will hunt it!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GERG wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Saw a huge Boar Bear dead on the road just north of Ruston LA last week. We have two ares in AR where there are good populations and hunting seasons.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jakenbake wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

Maryland has (what seems to me to be) a well-managed hunt. The season is only in the two western-most counties, but the population is definitely increasing in the next few counties over as well. I'd like to hunt the season one day but that'll take a bit of luck in the tag lottery.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 21 weeks ago

I live in New York and until recently there were few bears outside the Adirondack mountains and the Catskills. However, now they are everywhere in NY. I live in semi-countryside and have had bears raiding my bird feeder for the past 3 years. I took photo's of 2 different bears in my yard this Summer. Having been a bear hunter most of my life, I can tell you that there are always more bears around than you think! They are extremely elusive and wary animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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