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Bear hunting may be expanded in California

April 20, 2010 | 12:35 pm
Bear The Department of Fish and Game says the black-bear population is flourishing in California and has proposed expanding bear hunting. Although that's good news to the perhaps 1% of the population that hunts bear, a good portion of the other 99% are upset with the proposal. California managed to eradicate the grizzly bear, they remind. Carla Hall reports:

On Wednesday the commissioners will vote on whether to allow bear hunting in San Luis Obispo County and to increase the hunting area in Lassen and Modoc counties. They'll also decide whether to eliminate a cap on bear kills per season and allow bear hunters to put collars with GPS tracking devices on their hounds.

Black bears long have thrived from Northern California down to Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, according to Doug Updike, the department's game program manager and a wildlife ecologist. In the last few decades, he said, Fish and Game biologists have seen more bears in San Luis Obispo, Modoc and Lassen counties. The number of bears statewide, meanwhile, has "increased from under 10,000 in the early '80s to nearly 40,000 now," he said.

"They get hit by cars, we get reports by property owners that they broke into their houses, we get pictures, we know what bear prints look like," he said.

About 70 environmental, animal welfare and community groups are opposing the measure.

-- Geoff Mohan