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Black Bear Hunting Examined by Various States
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Black bears are becoming more and more of a nuisance across the country as national parks are not the only places where people have run-ins with these bears. In the past couple of decades, the number of incidents has increased from the East coast to California.

Back in the 1970s, there were only a couple hundred black bears in Tennessee, which now boasts anywhere from 4,000-5,000 in the state. The bears, which usually are very shy, have begun visiting highly populated areas of the state.

  
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“We are receiving complaints from the public that say they don’t want the bears there, that we need to do something to get rid of them,” says Daryl Ratajczak. Ratajczak works for the state agency overseeing hunting as the chief of wildlife. “And we understand their feelings.”

If bears are not checked, they will spread because they are very adaptable to nature and their surroundings.

“Given enough time, bears will soon be found all throughout the state of Tennessee,” he says. “And we need to determine whether or not the general public wants that.”

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The black bear has also been causing problems in West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. These states have issued telephone surveys of their residents in order to gauge the public’s dislike of the black bear. The phone survey company the states use is Responsive Management. Mark Damian Duda, the founder of the company, claims that there is plenty of nature left for black bears to survive.

“There’s really biological carrying capacity — the number of bears that the land can support — versus how many bears are acceptable to people,” Duda says. “And sometimes those are different.”



Black bears are smaller than some other animals but many still think of them as very dangerous animals. Even though there have been fatal black bear attacks in the past, the public still protects them as much as possible.

“While the public supports hunting in general,” he says, “hunting black bears is still supported but not as strong as maybe hunting for deer or other species.”

States are now trying to expand black bear hunting and animal rights activists in New Jersey attempted to block a hunt in New Jersey by using the court system. Instead, they protested and confronted hunters as they logged their black bear kills with the government.

In Tennessee, Ron Castle has been seeing more black bears than he us used to lately.

“Hunting would be more humane than allowing the bears to destroy their habitat and have their population collapse,” he says.



 

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