State officials say the bear population, which stands at 38,000, would remain healthy with increased hunt limits. Wayne Pacelle (HSUS) immediately announced that if the California Fish and Game Commission widens the hunt, HSUS will put a measure on the California ballot by 2012 to ban hound hunting of bears. Pacelle continued by bragging they have won 5 ballot initiatives in a row and could win a hound hunting ban by a large margin.
California considers dramatically expanding the number of black bears hunters can kill
By Paul Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch out, Smokey. Keep your head down, Yogi.
Saying that California's black bear population has quadrupled in the past 25 years, state Fish and Game Department officials are drafting new rules that could increase the number of black bears killed by hunters each year in the state by 50 percent or more.
The proposal also would allow hunters for the first time to use global positioning system devices on the collars of hounds that they use to track bears, along with automatic triggers that alert hunters when their dogs have treed a bear.
State hunting managers say the rules — which would increase the current limit of 1,700 killed annually — would offer more people the opportunity to hunt and wouldn't significantly affect the health or size of the overall black bear population in California, now at 38,000. The growing bear population also is increasingly causing problems, they note.
"There are more reported incidents of bears causing private property damage," said Doug Updike, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game. "People are moving into bear habitat, and we have more bears that are more widely distributed. We are having more interactions between bears and people."
But animal rights groups promise to fight the proposed new rules, starting Thursday when the state Fish and Game Commission holds a hearing in Sacramento. A final vote is expected April 21.
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