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Changes to Bear Hunting in Utah Expected to Reduce Conflicts

Flickr/Yellowstone National Park

New hunting opportunities for bear hunters are expected to reduce the number of black bear conflicts between humans and livestock.

The Utah Division of Wildlife has passed new bear regulations in an effort to reduce the number of conflicts between humans and livestock, according to reports.

New opportunities have been approved by the Utah Wildlife Board providing bear hunters with more hunting rights throughout the year. On average, around 50 bears are euthanized each year after they come into conflict with humans and livestock. 91 bears had to be euthanized in 2014 after they threatened people, targeted livestock or destroyed crops.

In the 1990s, the black bear population in Utah was around 2,000, but today that number is well over 4,100. With the black bear population steadily increasing over the past 15 years, new measures were deemed necessary to prevent conflicts with humans and livestock.

The approved hunting regulations will permit hunters to target bears in areas that are prone to human and bear conflicts. The board also approved limited-entry bear hunting in the late spring season in an effort to boost success rates across the state for existing bear permits.

According to Leslie McFarlane, Mammals Coordinator for DWR, over the years there are around 230 to 270 bears killed by hunters, but with the new measures that number should increase.

We want to see an increase in that harvest from 270 to 320. So part of that effort is to see if we can help improve hunter success rates during the seasons we have offered by adding an additional season.

More information about bears and how to avoid conflicts is available at Wild Aware Utah.

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Changes to Bear Hunting in Utah Expected to Reduce Conflicts