DEC’s latest plan would expand hunting opportunities to manage black bear population
Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 5:11 pm

A draft black bear management plan would expand hunting opportunities in an effort to control the population, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The proposal was released recently by the DEC and public comments will be accepted until Jan. 31. "Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities and environmental impacts," Commissioner Martens said. "These plans will guide the management of these species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans."

The draft Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Black bears are a very popular wildlife species among the general public, but can pose significant challenges when the bears become too abundant or are acting boldly in populated areas.

The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting opportunities in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a serious threat to human safety and property.

DEC's draft plan describes five primary goals that reflect the current priorities of bear managers and desires expressed by the public:

· maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public;

· promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool;

· minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts;

· foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management, and conflict avoidance; and

· ensure the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York.

The plan also describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various geographic regions of New York.

Many of the strategies identified in the plan are already occurring; others reflect new work to be more fully developed during the next 10 years.

Comments on the draft bear plan may be submitted in writing through Jan. 31, 2014 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (please type "Bear Plan" in the subject line).