Study Shows Rise In NE Bear Numbers

Vermont FWD, Bear Hunting Magazine
09/02/2011

The opening day of many states black bear season began on September 1st, but studies show that even with the hunting seasons, bear numbers across the upper northeast part of the United States continue to climb at a higher rate than the rest of the country.

A 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Sustainable Wildlife Use Committee released the numbers that included that the northeast’s black bear population was growing at an annual rate of 31%, compared to a national growth rate of about 12%.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department stated that their management initiatives helped bring their state’s black bear population back up. Vermont’s Big Game Management Plan aimed for a black bear population of between 4,500 and 6,000 animals by 2020; experts say the high end of this range has already been exceeded.

Statewide, Vermont hunters took 537 bears during the 2010 season. The study mentioned above concluded that if black bear hunting and trapping were forbidden, the northeastern population could increase by upward of 160%. Because of this and the number of bears currently located in Vermont, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is looking at recommending regulation changes in the future that will result in slightly more bears being taken in future bear seasons.



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