Hungry No. Carolina Bears Attacking Dogs

Asheville Citizen-Times, Bear Hunting Magazine
Great Canadian Sportsman magazine

ASHEVILLE - Bears in mountain communities have killed two family dogs in recent days, the result of cold weather depleting food supplies and development encroaching on wildlife, officials said.
The killing or injuring of dogs happens each year when hungry bears head into developed areas looking for food then are provoked when dogs start barking at them, said Mike Carraway, a state Wildlife Resources Commission officer.

In Asheville on Sunday night, a mother black bear killed a dog that had been let out in the back yard. The bear, which had cubs nearby, was trying to get to a birdfeeder.

In another incident Sunday night, a black bear killed a dog in a Madison County backyard.

"The dog is being aggressive, barking at the bear and the bear is basically just defending itself and its cubs," Carraway said. "It's common for this to happen in the spring when bears have small cubs."

Bear attacks are also becoming more common as development increases in bear habitats in mountainous areas, forcing bears to other areas. The population of bears is also increasing, Carraway said.

"There are large places like the city limits of Asheville where there is no hunting, no way to control the bear population and they just keep reproducing," he said. "The city of Asheville is like a bear sanctuary."

Wildlife officials also believe the Easter freeze depleted some of the animals' natural food sources.

In North Carolina, it's legal to shoot a bear outside city limits if the bear is attacking you, he said.

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