North Carolina hunters, you might be able to add black bears to your list next year.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources commission is currently examining the possibility of allowing bear hunting in 30 Piedmont counties as a result of the black bear population expanding into these areas. A commission will hold a public information meeting on October 10 to discuss ways of managing the black bear population.
While North Carolina state law currently doesn’t allow bear hunting in Forsyth, Davie, Davidson and 27 other central counties, bear hunting is allowed at various times in certain western and eastern North Carolina counties.
“Human populations keep growing into bear habitats. We are discussing a lot of different ways to deal with the black bear population,” said Geoff Cantrell, a commission spokesman.
There are currently 17,000 to 18,000 black bears throughout North Carolina. While black bears generally avoid people, several young cubs were reported to be seen in the Forsyth and Guilford counties. Black bears are the biggest mammal in the state, with females weighing 100 to 300 pounds and males weighing 200 to 500 pounds.
As a result of the increasing population, it’s possible that black bears could begin infiltrating urban areas in search of food.
“One of the ways to manage their population is through hunting,” said Ann May, a biologist with the commission.
The commission is also considering the types of weapons hunters could be able to use to kill bears, specifically bows, arrows and muzzleloader guns.
If approved in the 30 Piedmount counties, the new bear hunting season would mostly likely overlap with the region’s deer hunting season.