More Companies Getting Into Black Bear Hunts


Published: September - 1998

Black bear hunting in North Carolina is today quite robust and popular among locals and non-resident hunters, thanks to a successful program that began in 1986. In the years immediately preceding 1986, North Carolina had shut down its bear program in the eastern part of the state due to overhunting and loss of habitat. But as the bear populations slowly began to respond to the protection, bear sightings were being reported with increasing frequency, and the time seemed ripe to again open up the state to bear hunting. To that end, an experimental, three-day season was authorized for Hyde County in the swampy coastal region of extreme eastern North Carolina. The season was an enormous success, with a total harvest of 35 bears, including at least one that weighed 605 pounds. Since then, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has dramatically increased the allowable harvest of bears in the region.

Although the average size of harvested bears has dropped since 1986, there are still plenty of trophy animals roaming this land of swamps, extended forestlands and farms. "The population is still growing, and there are some big bears out there," said a spokesman for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Another indication of the bear program's success is that the season now lasts a total of nine days. Six of these hunting days occur in mid-November (November 9 to 14 in 1998), and three days occur in mid-December (December 14 to 16 in 1998). Moreover, the Commission has extended the hunt area to all of the state's coastal counties - from Camden on the Virginia border to Brunswick on the South Carolina line.

Much of this bear hunting territory is on private land, and visiting hunters may find it hard to get landowner permission to hunt. Fortunately, several guide services have been developing recommendable hunting programs for bears by leasing hunting rights from private landowners. Hunting methods include elevated tree stands and hunting with trail hounds. The houndsmen seem to enjoy the most success, but the stand hunters have also taken a good number of bears. To ensure........(continued)

 
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