Controversial Decision to Allow More Opportunity for Bear Hunters in North Carolina

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MAR 4, 2022

Shed Antler - The Inside Spread

Category: Big Game

On February 24th, 2022, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission has voted to open more than 92,000 acres across that state, allowing hunting in these former sanctuaries. The commission also decided to reclassify these areas as Designated Bear Management Areas.

Black Bear hunting has not been allowed on these sanctuaries for more than 50 years. The bear sanctuary system was put in place in 1971 to protect bears’ core habitat in over 800,000 acres statewide. After reviewing the scientific data on the growing population of bears, the commission has unanimously believed that bear management through hunting is necessary.

Opponents of the plan will appeal the decision because they believe it was rushed. However, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission believes that if they had not intervened in the first place, there would be no Black Bears. The commission plans to still manage bears very closely during the coming years and has no plans to have the Black Bear population be reduced to where they were in the 1970s.

Black Bear Hunting is a Part of the State Management Plan

We continue to find anti-hunting groups are not interested in anybody hunting Black Bears at all. Consider this group on Facebook; one person suggests that hunters are poachers and deserve to be hunted. Another believes that all Black Bear hunting is evil and barbaric. People are certainly allowed to have their own opinions on this, but their stance that hunters and wildlife commissions are corrupt killers is a little telling of their real agenda. These words are no different from anti-hunting groups trying to ban Gray Wolf hunting.

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission data suggests that the populations of Black Bears in these mountain areas are between 7,000 and 8,000. The state’s goal for population growth is now at 0% to maintain healthy populations. This data is another instance of a remarkable recovery, and now it is time to maintain versus continued growth that could lead to further issues.

The State Black Bear and Furbearer Biologist Colleen Olfenbuttel was quoted in a January 20th meeting by the Citizen-Times, “Roadkill is becoming a significant source of bear mortality, and I would prefer that more bears be taken by licensed hunters rather than vehicle collisions.” Conservationists around the country would agree with this sediment as it is a waste of resources as no one would be able to use the animal if hit by a vehicle.

The state management plan includes limited hunting in these new bear management areas, but details on the number of permits issued to bear hunters will not be known for some time. All-new rules for bear hunting in North Carolina will go into effect on August 1st, 2022.

Bear Hunting North Carolina

Black Bears in North Carolina have several seasons throughout the fall and early winter months. The hunts are split into three areas the Mountain Bear Management Unit, Piedmont Bear Management Unit, and the Coastal Bear Management Unit. The state boasts over 2 million acres of game lands for you to enjoy North Carolina Black Bear hunting.

If you are interested in hunting Black Bear, go to North Carolina Resources Commission website to learn more about hunting opportunities.

Hunting Black Bear in the New Management Areas

Three areas stand to open to bear hunters across the state, including Panthertown-Bonas Retreat, Standing Indian, and Pisgah bear sanctuaries. Pathertown-Bonas Retreat sits near the Nantahala National Forest Game Land to the east and north of the Jackson County and Transylvania County lines near the edge of South Carolina and Georgia. Standing Indian is located right in the middle of Nantahala National Forest Game Land; it is between Dillard, GA, and Franklin, NC. Finally, the Pisgah is near Ashville and located on the north side of the Pisgah National Forest Game Land.

As this is exciting news for the bear hunter, this vote by the game commission will be appealed, so stay up to date by Getting the Latest Right to Your Inbox by sharing your email below.

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