March 13, 2014
RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has approved hunting regulations for 2014-15 that include establishment of a bear hunting season in the Piedmont and allowing the aid or use of unprocessed foods for bear hunting on private lands as long as the bear is not actually consuming the unprocessed foods.
The action came during the regularly scheduled Wildlife Commissioners’ meeting to consider wildlife management, game lands and fishing regulations for the 2014-15 seasons. The adopted fishing and hunting regulations will take effect Aug. 1.
The adopted bear hunting proposals will help maintain a healthy bear population in North Carolina, according to Dr. David Cobb, the Commission’s chief wildlife biologist. The recommendations were the direct result of the state’s 10-year Black Bear Management Plan, which utilizes science-based decision making, biologically sound management principles and public input to guide the decision process.
The Wildlife Commission held district public hearings in January and an open comment period that ended Feb. 14 on all conservation proposals. The Commission also held a series of regional public meetings in October 2013 to discuss the Black Bear Management Plan specifically, which included the possibility of creating a Piedmont bear hunting season.
The decision on the use or aid of unprocessed foods corrects a previous inequity between hunters with hounds and still hunters. In past seasons, bear hunters could release hounds at or near sites containing unprocessed food products, but still hunters were prohibited from taking a bear in an area containing bait.
For more information on North Carolina’s black bears and hunting regulations, as well as bear research and management, go to www.ncwildlife.org/bear.