The Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted a black bear management plan that would open up bear hunting in the area of St. Lawrence County that is north of U.S. Rt. 11.
The new 10-year plan for bear hunting goals proposes several proposed hunting rule changes to begin this fall.
“After careful consideration of thousands of public comments, the strategies outlined in the Black Bear Management Plan seek to achieve and maintain bear population levels that are acceptable to the public while providing sustainable opportunity for New York’s big game hunters,” Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The plan also addresses public partnerships to reduce human-bear conflicts.”
The final Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Key elements of the final plan include the scientific monitoring of bear populations; continued use of stakeholders to assess bear impacts and identify population trend objectives; recommendations to expand areas open to bear hunting throughout upstate New York and to increase hunting opportunities in portions of southeastern New York. The plan emphasizes DEC’s integrated approach to reduce negative black bear impacts by increasing public awareness of its role in preventing human-bear conflicts, by addressing individual incidents of bear damage, and by reducing bear populations where necessary.
Among the changes for the North Country are a uniform start for bowhunting and early bear seasons in the Northern Zone. The Northern Zone bowhunting season for bears is to begin on the same day as the early bear season, the first Saturday after the second Monday in September, or the second Saturday after Labor Day.
The new rules would allow bear hunting in Wildlife Management Unit 6A, during the Northern Zone early bowhunting season, early muzzleloader season, and regular firearms season, in addition to hunting in the rest of the county. WMU 6A roughly coincides with the area of St. Lawrence County that is north of U.S. Rt. 11. No bear hunting has been allowed there for some time.
DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed hunting rule changes through July 7. The rulemaking documents can be seen on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html.