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Shotgun Man
04-19-2010, 8:29 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0420-bear-hunting-20100420,0,1356627.story

I tried commenting, but I guess I don't have the right account.

If man is going to live among the bears their population must be checked through hunting or other means. Hunting is probably the best means because it offers an economic stimulus to the state.

These bears are in places like Monrovia, a heavily populated area. They need to culled. There's plenty to go around it seems. This isn't trophy hunting per se as it seems most people eat bear meat. I've never hunted bear, but I would harvest the meat based on what I've heard.


latimes.com

California considers easing rules on black bear hunting

The population has roughly quadrupled over the last two decades, and some Fish and Game officials say it would remain robust with expanded hunting regions and caps.

By Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times
6:17 PM PDT, April 19, 2010

As outdoor activities in California go, bear hunting is not particularly popular. Officials estimate that, at most, 1% of the state's population hunts black bears. Many of the other 99% are appalled that anyone does.

"I think most people think of it as an anachronism," said state Fish and Game Commissioner Michael Sutton, who speculates that the state's voters may soon ban the practice.

Bear hunting has come a long way since the 1920s, when ranchers and farmers wiped out the grizzly, leaving its sole California presence on the state flag. Gone are the days when you could kill a bear anytime, anywhere, any way.

So Sutton and his fellow commissioners — hunters all — weren't surprised when proposals to expand black bear hunting drew protest.

Nearly 70 environmental, community and animal welfare organizations have lined up against the proposals, most notably the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and various chapters of the Sierra Club. In San Luis Obispo County, the board of supervisors passed a resolution last month opposing expansion of hunting into their area.

"We find the totality of the proposal to be unsporting, unfair, inhumane and reckless," said Jennifer Fearing, the Humane Society's Sacramento lobbyist.

But officials at the state Department of Fish and Game say they proposed the changes because California's black bear population is flourishing and spreading.

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.

Over the last half-century, California has regulated bear hunting. Trapping has been outlawed and a hunting season set — roughly October to the last Sunday in December, depending on the region. Cubs under 50 pounds and mother bears with their cubs may not be killed. Hunters must obtain identification tags and are allowed one bear per season.

Successful or not, hunters must return their tags to Fish and Game, stating whether or not they bagged a bear. In addition, successful hunters are expected to present their bear skulls to department officials, who extract a tooth from each skull for age monitoring. (Hunters then get the skulls back.) It also is illegal to sell bear parts in California. The state considers possession of as few as two bear gall bladders — lucrative products in Asian markets — evidence of illegal activity.

Still, those who object to the proposed hunting changes say the killing remains too easy.

One proposal they find particularly egregious would allow hunters to equip their dogs with GPS tracking collars that have so-called tip switches, which go off when a dog cocks its head, presumably to look up a tree where it has hounded a bear.

"Given that we are not anti-hunting as much as we are anti-trophy-hunting practices, we zeroed in on these changes," said Fearing of the Humane Society. "Hound hunting is totally unfair and often inhumane — for the bears and the dogs," she said.

Opponents portray hunters as unsportsmanlike folks, watching their GPS devices to see when dogs have treed a bear so they can easily amble over and shoot it. Proponents of the sport, on the other hand, portray hunters with hounds as athletic and focused, sprinting after their dogs, enjoying the chase as much as their canines do. They say that the GPS devices are mostly for tracking lost and injured dogs and that hunters already use radio telemetry to track their dogs.

You don't need a GPS device to tell you when your hounds have found a bear, said Updike, a hunter whose wife has killed a bear. "They can tell by the baying of the hounds how the hounds are doing." He also objected to the idea that California hunters are after trophies, saying that most eat the meat of the bears they kill.

The state relies on a variety of methods to track the bear population. In addition to anecdotal evidence and field work by biologists, hunters' tags tell officials when and where bears were killed.

Critics of changing the hunting rules say monitoring killed bears is not enough to get a sense of their real population. They say the state's methods also don't take into account regional pressures on bear habitats.

The state also monitors the median age of bears killed and the percentage that are female, Updike said, to alert them of when to pull back on hunting. Hunters prefer larger bears, which are usually male. So if a season's total kill is more than 40% female, for instance, "that's a red flag because it means the number of males is getting scarce, which means the hunting pressure is starting to affect the population."

Because of such tracking, he said, state officials are confident that the population is robust enough to withstand well over the 1,700-bear kill figure that now prompts the state to send out an alert closing down the season.

"We looked at a mathematical model for the hunting season which would take 3,100 bears — which we've never ever done," said Updike. "That still is an insignificant number relative to the population. The population would still be robust."

And not having to send out an alert would save thousands of dollars, he said. Some commissioners said they are still not sure how they will vote Wednesday. Commissioner Daniel Richards, who hunts mammals, said he is inclined to widen the hunt. Commissioner Richard Rogers — a duck hunter — said he has no problems with bear hunting but was leaning against the changes.

Sutton, who hunts birds but not mammals, said he too is leaning toward voting no. He's not against bear hunting. But his experience as a former federal game warden has made him sensitive to the dangers of hunting, such as "the potential for increased poaching and illegal commercialization."

"Our wardens are already strapped," he said. "All these things tend to argue against expansion of bear hunting."

carla.hall@latimes.com (carla.hall@latimes.com)

Copyright 2010, The Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/)
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center_x
04-19-2010, 8:42 PM
Unfortunatley Im not suprised. I buy a bear tag every year but have not seen one yet. Im almost to the point Ill pay someone to get a shot off at one.

Shotgun Man
04-19-2010, 8:59 PM
Unfortunatley Im not suprised. I buy a bear tag every year but have not seen one yet. Im almost to the point Ill pay someone to get a shot off at one.

HaHa. They're all living down in the suburbs in SoCal where they know they're safe.:)

bigboarstopper
04-19-2010, 10:33 PM
I hunt bears every year. I hunt them with dogs and every year we tree more and more bears. GPS tracking wont make the hunt easyer like the humane society claims. Its about reliable dog recoverey. We spend a huge ammount of money and time into our hounds. Getting them home at the end of the day is priority one. GPS gives one great thing. Pinpoint accuracy. We can tell if the dog is moving or stationary. That information can tell us if the dog is potentially injured or worse. Telemetry tracking only gives a general direction. Many times the signal will bounce off mountains and give a false reading. This time trying to triangilate a dogs position takes away valuable time that a hurt dog may need to get to a vet.

There is a myth that houndsman use GPS or telemetry to find our dogs just when we need to when the bear has been treed. Most of the time this is false. We can hear the dogs usually for miles. The tracking systems are usually used when there are missing dogs after the bear has been treed. Or for when the dogs unusually get out of hearing range and the direction of them is completely unknown.

I know some people dont support the use of hounds for hunting. Usually its because they have never been on a hunt with hounds. The time and effort it takes to train and keep hounds is never ending and requires a commitment to a hobby or passion unlike any other.

Last point is that most houndsman, especially bear hunters are tree and release hunters. The limit for bear is one per person per year. Houndsman want to hunt. Killing a bear ends their season until the next year. I personally dont know any houndsman who hunts for bear that kill bears every year. Mabye at the end of the season. Most that I know kill a bear every few years. While they tree more bears in a season than most anybody will ever see they simply dont kill many.

This kind of hunting is the only "catch and release" kind of hunting available. To be succesful nothing needs to die.

ScottB
04-19-2010, 11:08 PM
Lots of bears around, but they are wary in hunting season.

The bigger question is why is Mike Sutton a F&G Commissioner? He claims to be a hunter yet opposes us at every turn. He should be the HSUS lobbyist - he sounds just like her in the article and they both are full of ####

Deluhathol
04-20-2010, 7:02 AM
Unfortunatley Im not suprised. I buy a bear tag every year but have not seen one yet. Im almost to the point Ill pay someone to get a shot off at one.

I went up to Cache Creek WA over the weekend and saw a nice big black bear running up the side of a hill. It was only about 200 yards away.

spectr17
04-20-2010, 11:11 AM
And not having to send out an alert would save thousands of dollars, he said. Some commissioners said they are still not sure how they will vote Wednesday. Commissioner Daniel Richards, who hunts mammals, said he is inclined to widen the hunt. Commissioner Richard Rogers a duck hunter said he has no problems with bear hunting but was leaning against the changes.

Sutton, who hunts birds but not mammals, said he too is leaning toward voting no. He's not against bear hunting. But his experience as a former federal game warden has made him sensitive to the dangers of hunting, such as "the potential for increased poaching and illegal commercialization."

"Our wardens are already strapped," he said. "All these things tend to argue against expansion of bear hunting."

I wonder how the commissioners would vote if the issue concerned bird hunting? I guess their ox isn't being gored so they'll cut the hound hunters loose.

center_x
04-20-2010, 4:26 PM
HaHa. They're all living down in the suburbs in SoCal where they know they're safe.:)

So typical! :mad: Ill tag one eventually.

Deluhathol: chase him my way next time :)

pieeater
04-20-2010, 4:57 PM
So typical! :mad: Ill tag one eventually.

Deluhathol: chase him my way next time :)

What area are you hunting them ???

pieeater
04-20-2010, 5:00 PM
I went up to Cache Creek WA over the weekend and saw a nice big black bear running up the side of a hill. It was only about 200 yards away.

Nice!!! There are bears in there but its not infested like some of the areas north. You got lucky to see one.

center_x
04-20-2010, 6:19 PM
What area are you hunting them ???

B zone near covelo. Ive been to the Sierra's but have not seen any yet. I plan to get one this year. No matter what :-)

pieeater
04-20-2010, 6:50 PM
B zone near covelo. Ive been to the Sierra's but have not seen any yet. I plan to get one this year. No matter what :-)

No kidding!! I hunt a large ranch near covelo myself. When the acorns fall up there is the time to hit them they are everywhere. The most we counted was 37 in a single day, just driving around looking for deer.That was early october right before they hibernate.During November up there I rarely see a bear.I'll let you know if im up there and start seeing them really moving. We'll see them in the middle of the day out in the open under oaks eating acorns.

pieeater
04-20-2010, 7:03 PM
Center X these pics were all taken near Covelo. Hard to get good pics though they usualy dont hang around long or are too far out. The place I hunt they are pretty thick but ive hunted another ranch up there that ive never seen a bear on.



http://www.fototime.com/3F870CD35D91302/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/36740915F139CE9/standard.jpg

http://www.fototime.com/F2AE2CA1DEF758C/standard.jpg

center_x
04-20-2010, 9:24 PM
Pieeater......thanks for adding to my disappointment on my lack of killing bears :) great pics. Is it a private ranch?? There are alot of Golden Ram properties up there. Let me know when you start seeing them roam around. If possible, Id even pay to shoot one when the time comes.

bigboarstopper
04-20-2010, 10:24 PM
I hunted for bear in covelo this last fall. The dogs struck in the first 10 minutes and we had 3 treed by noon. I took careful aim and shot 3 nice pictures. Didnt kill anything. Was my single best day bear hunting that I could remember.

Hrod8715
04-21-2010, 9:44 AM
B zone near covelo. Ive been to the Sierra's but have not seen any yet. I plan to get one this year. No matter what :-)

I hunt B Zone near Covelo every year and I always see a bear or two.

center_x
04-21-2010, 9:50 AM
LAME. Maybe I should quit hunting. Everybody see's bears but me. Even the same ranch that I hunt on. HA!

taperxz
04-21-2010, 9:57 AM
Lots of bear in Covello!! In the Cache Creek area i see about 5-6 a year.

center_x
05-02-2010, 8:59 PM
My life is half complete.....I saw not one, but two bears over the weekend while camping with another calgun'er. Saw the first one while we were driving into camp and saw the second bear while hiking. It was very cool. The second bear looked huge. He was dark blonde and was eating grass in a meadow minding his own business about 300 yards away.

Now I just have to shoot one this coming season :)