The Louisiana Division of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is proposing the primary bear hunt within the Bayou State for the reason that Louisiana black bear was faraway from the Endangered Species Listing in 2016. Based on the Shreveport Instances, the Louisiana Wildlife Fee may vote as quickly as subsequent month for a hunt that may open in 2024.
Whereas black bears have been almost extirpated from Louisiana by the Fifties and 60s, the inhabitants has since rebounded. At this time, biologists with the LDWF say there are roughly 1,200 black bears within the Mississippi Delta and the Atchafalaya Bison alone. “We will definitely have a conservative harvest in restricted areas,” LDWF Giant Carnivore Program Supervisor John Hanks advised the fee throughout its common assembly on Thursday, October 5.
Black bears are discovered all through Louisiana, with a majority of them within the Tensas Nationwide Wildlife Refuge—a 64,000-acre tract of hardwood bottomland within the Mississippi Delta. Further refuges within the state have helped with inhabitants restoration efforts whereas the Louisiana black bear subspecies was listed as threatened below the Endangered Species Act from 1992 via 2015. Recognized for its longer, flatter, cranium and enormous molars, the Louisiana subspecies is genetically distinct from different black bear populations in North America
Whereas state wildlife officers level to the Louisiana black bear’s resurgence as a real conservation success story, the proposed hunt shouldn’t be with out controversy. In 2018, Public Workers for Environmental Accountability (PEER) filed a lawsuit alleging that native black bear populations haven’t linked via restoration corridors but. PEER additionally claims that the state’s inhabitants estimates are inflated.
LDWF Administrator Scott Durham tells Discipline & Stream that the division’s inhabitants information is strong. “We’ve among the greatest bear inhabitants estimates within the South,” Durham says. “It’s all primarily based on scientific information, inhabitants fashions, telemetry information, very important charges—and our ideas are that we might solely suggest a hunt to the Fee in an space that might maintain it.”
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President Theodore Roosevelt hunted black bears in Louisiana within the early 1900s. On one event, he refused to shoot a black bear tied to a tree by his searching occasion. His refusal impressed the invention of the teddy bear. That was in 1902. Now the area has a nationwide wildlife refuge named after Roosevelt, however a bear searching season hasn’t occurred there for many years, regardless of recovering numbers.
“Clearly we now have a robust bear inhabitants,” Richard Kennedy, Safari Membership Worldwide spokesperson testified in the course of the early October fee assembly. “We’re in assist of something that strikes ahead a season.” Based on Durham, any proposed hunt shall be “very small and restricted”, and it’ll should be permitted by the Fee earlier than it goes to a 90-day public remark interval. The Fee’s subsequent assembly is scheduled for Thursday, November 2.