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Fish and Game agency reverses recommendations on bear hunting

April 20, 2010 |  5:26 pm

Bears After receiving a lot of feedback from the public, the California Department of Fish and Game decided Tuesday afternoon to reverse its call for expanding state bear hunting and recommend that no changes be made.

The department had previously recommended that the Fish and Game Commission expand bear hunting in Lassen and Modoc counties and allow bear hunting for the first time in San Luis Obispo County.

Department officials also had suggested eliminating the cap on bear kills – currently set at 1,700 per season – and allowing hunters to put collars with GPS tracking devices on their hounds. They reversed their stance after both the department and the commission were deluged with public comments, to which they are in the process of responding. State law requires that those written responses be made before any final action is taken – and a vote is scheduled for tomorrow.

The bear hunting proposals are one part of a package of proposed mammal-hunting changes. Postponing that vote "would put the rest of the big-game season in jeopardy," said Adrianna Shea, the commission's deputy executive director.

Shea would not predict whether the commission would follow the department's revised recommendation of maintaining the status quo on bear hunting. "There have been cases where the commission has not followed the recommendation of the department. I would hate to call it on this one," she said.

-- Carla Hall

Photo: A black bear in the foothills above Monrovia. Credit: Rudy Libra